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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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Supporting think tanks: evidence from around the world

Back in 2013, On Think Tanks developed a series of think pieces on supporting think tanks drawing from experiences from around the world. These post were meant to inform the Australian Government's Knowledge Sector Initiative through a contribution to the evaluation of a series of pilots it had run in preparation. The posts here offer views from Britain, Africa, Vietnam and Eastern Europe.
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    Supporting think tanks series: think pieces by practitioners

    A few months ago I asked several researchers and practitioners to put together a series of think pieces relating to their own experience in working with and supporting think tanks. The motivation for this request was the opportunity to inform the evaluation of a couple of pilots that AusAid had... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: From core and institutional support to organizational development grants

    For a long time, core and institutional support has been considered as the holy grail of grant making by grantees and donors alike. These days, donors that provide this type of support to think tanks are far and apart. In this think piece I present, briefly, the main components of core and... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: “Fact before Think” – The Case for Data-Focused Think Tanks

    Think tanks can seize a great opportunity by focusing on data, in addition to their role of arguing for improved policies. Practical examples, from the US and beyond, illustrate the advantages of this “fact tank” approach, which has not always received sufficient attention in the... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: Developing capacities in complex environments -experiences from Vietnam

    Background This think piece focuses on lessons from the implementation of a relatively large (USD500,000) project funded by an international development organisation between 2009 and 2011, to provide capacity development services to the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science (VASS). VASS is a... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: Economic Policy Research Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Background The macroeconomic impact of the oil shocks of the late 1970, combined with slow macroeconomic adjustment and large imbalances, gave rise to a massive recycling of surpluses from the OPEC countries to Latin America and Africa via the US and European banking systems. The resulting... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: Independent research within government

    The art of being and not being political -at the same time Select Committees work in a political context but stake their reputation on offering non-partisan recommendations to Government. This post considers the implications of that requirement for the way that Committees of the UK... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: Lessons from TTI’s Policy Engagement and Communications program in Francophone West Africa

    Background In December 2012, the Think Tank Initiative launched a Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) capacity building program for partner institutions in francophone West Africa. The PEC Program is based on a 1-year mentorship model that allows for highly engaged support, as well... Read full article
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    Supporting think tanks series: synthesis of the think pieces and (possible) recommendations

    This second post based on a series of think pieces written on supporting think tanks focuses on practical advice for the Knowledge Sector Initiative and similar efforts. It suggests that greater attention must be place on the environment of think tanks and other policy research actors. Of particular importance is to understand the real relationship between donors, grantees, and any contractors charged with delivering the initiatives' missions. Read full article