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On Think Tanks was founded in mid 2010. It has evolved from a blog into a global platform dedicated to study and support policy research and policy research centres, or think tanks. The members of the On Think Tanks Team and its Advisory Board are spread out across 6 continents!

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Funding for think tanks part two: the private sector

The funding scenario is changing, and private funders (be them foundations, corporations, small companies, philanthropists or crowdfunding from the public) are becoming increasingly important for think tanks. But how do think tanks approach private funding? What institutional arrangements need to be made to work with private funders? How can you maintain your integrity and independence when working with private funders? This series explores this and more questions on accessing and managing private funding.
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    Funding, think tanks and the private sector series

    Sourcing and managing private funding is becoming more important for think tanks. Some have already developed healthy and long-standing relationships with the private sector, while others are just starting to think about if and how to approach private funders. For many, as traditional funding... Read full article
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    Rarely discussed yet critically foundational: Business Model among Indonesian Think Tanks

    The On Think Tanks Exchange supported a study of business models in Latin America and Indonesia. The researchers presented their findings at three meetings in Indonesia. Read full article
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    Whose money is it anyway? think tanks and the public: an Indian debate

    Gyaneshwar Singh commented in this blog’s Submit a Request page that during his research he found that: … there was always a question in mind that though public policy relates to the public, the public is not aware about the policy and policy process. How can public policy be brought to... Read full article
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    The woes of domestic philanthropy in developing countries

    The Idaho Stateman recently announced that retired U.S. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has founded a conservative think tank in South Carolina. DeMint spent 13 years in the US House of Representatives and the Senate; he is now investing $300,000 from his remaining campaign money to establish the... Read full article
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    Can think tanks ruled by the wealthy be really impartial?

    Philip Rojc and David Callahan ask this very important question in Inside Philanthropy; but don't quite get to answer it. Their article focused on David Rubenstein and the Brookings Institution. Rubenstein is co-chair of the Board of Brookings, a patron of the think tank and, in case you... Read full article
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    An alternative to funding domestic think tanks: bring out the big guns

    I often write that we have to stop funding foreign researchers to helicopter over developing countries to undertake what can only, at its best, be mediocre (and irrelevant to domestic dynamics) research. This approach does not contribute to the development of sustainable and robust domestic... Read full article
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    The New Philanthropists: Rohini Nilekani, Founder and Chairperson of Arghyam

    You only get what you measure. But what you may be able to measure is not what you treasure Rohini Nilejani is the founding chairperson of Arghyam, former journalist and philanthropist. She is an active supporter of think tanks in India. This interview is made up of two parts. The first is the... Read full article
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    Corporate interests and think tanks: an overview of current debates

    To be sustainable think tanks have to court the private sector (this is where the money is, after all), whether directly or indirectly by means of their foundations. But, as any half-baked economics think tanks would know: there is no such thing as a free lunch. So: how to get funded and remain independent (or at least intellectually autonomous)? Tranfarify offers some answers (and a lot more questions). Read full article
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    Creating an enabling environment for philanthropy through tax incentives

    For all the talk about how the context affects think tanks we know little about philanthropy in developing countries and its role in supporting think tanks. A recent study of tax incentives for philanthropists in Kenya offers an opportunity to reflect on the matter. Read full article