31 January 2018

Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2017

Think tanks are public policy research, analysis, and engagement organizations. They are organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues that enable policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy issues. Think tanks may be affiliated with political parties, governments, interest groups, or private corporations or constituted as independent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These institutions often act as a bridge between the academic and policymaking communities, serving the public interest as an independent voice that translates applied and basic research into a language and form that is understandable, reliable, and accessible for policymakers and the public.

Think tanks devote a substantial portion of their financial and human resources to commissioning and publishing research and policy analysis in the social sciences: political science, economics, public administration, and international affairs. The major outputs of these organizations are books, monographs, reports, policy briefs, blogs, conferences, seminars, web-based reports and commentary, formal briefings and informal discussions with policymakers, government officials, and key stakeholders.

University of Pennsylvania under its Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) every year publishes Global Go To Think Tank Index Report in the month of January.
The Global Go To Think Tank Index is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the TTCSP.

While think tanks may perform many roles in their host societies, not all think tanks do the same things to the same extent. Over the last 85 years, several distinctive organizational forms of think tanks have come into being that differ substantially in terms of their operating styles, their patterns of recruitment, their aspirations to academic standards of objectivity and completeness in research and their engagement of policy makers, the press and the public. Despite these differences, most think tanks tend to fall into SOME broad categories as per TTCSP.

Today on January 30th, 2018, 160 organizations worldwide in over 100 cities hosted and Why Think Tanks Matter Events for release of the report.

In Delhi the event was held at ORF. There was a panel discussion on “Managing a World in Flux: Policy, Politics and Think Tanks” with the following panelists: 
   Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Chairman, Observer Research Foundation (Chair)
   Dr. Shamika Ravi, Director of Research, Brookings India
   Mr. Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation

The session was designed to explore the relevance of think tanks in managing disruptions in today`s world order. There was a lively discussion.

The organisers do give their criterion of nominations and assessment tools, there is lot of scope of subjectivity while giving rankingto the Think Tanks globally.People talk of lobbying, Think Tanks figuring in the list having hardly anything to show off etc. Be that what may, it does give a fair indication of state of affairs of the Think Tanks.

The results were announced in various categories. However, they are still not available in the net. What I could make out eas that in India ranking in one of the first categories listed are : IDSA(39), Centre of Civil Society, ICRIA(76), TERI(107), ORF(114), DPG(139), CLAWS(166). Rankings vary in different categories.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that CLAWS figures in almost every list concerning Indian Think Thanks. My heartiest congratulations to Lt Gen Balraj Nagal and his team at CLAWS for this achievement. With a tongue in check may I suggest the NMF, CAPS. CENJOWS to pull up their socks!

I have very strong views on Think Tanks which I have stated off and on in my e mails while in service. May be I shall share one of those. Nothing much has changed in Indian scenario.

Watch this space for that.

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