The Future for Think Tanks

Increasing the contribution of our think tanks

Why think tanks more important than ever before

Think tanks and the policy environment is a highly competitive and contentious marketplace of ideas. The good, bad, and ugly elements of globalization have a direct impact on think tanks. Disruptive technologies which have created and support disruptive politics. The acceleration of technology and globalization in a highly competitive environment are accelerating both information and policy flows. Think tanks need to meet the increased velocity of information and policy flows.

The current political economy requires that all think tanks, and those who support them and those who use them, think critically about the challenges that think tanks face and the opportunities for think tanks to contribute in this new operating environment.

For those who trade in ideas and influence, it is a fundamental force that will shape and continue to shape think tanks.

Dr. James G. McGann
Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program

Why think tanks are more important than ever before
2016 Global Go To Launch – PDF

Think tanks and civil societies

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program is a grassroots effort to create a global community of think tanks that is by design transnational, transpoliticial and transdisciplinary. That is what distinguishes it from regional, philosophical, discipline-driven or donor-driven networks. We conduct research on think tanks and the civil societies and countries in which they operate. We produce the annual Go To Report. We organize national, regional and global summits of think tanks to focus on both the policy challenges and the organizational challenges that face think tanks around the world.

Center for Strategic and International Studies
Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania

Helping to bridge the gap between knowledge and policy

Researching the trends and challenges facing think tanks, policy makers, and policy-oriented civil society groups. Sustaining, strengthening, and building capacity for think tanks around the world. Maintaining the largest, most comprehensive database of over 8,100 think tanks.

2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report
Published January 2019 – PDF

There are 6,826 think tanks around the world completing exceptional work to help bridge the gap between knowledge and policy. There are 96 think tanks in Canada. 2013

Bridging the Gap between Knowledge and Policy


What do we want our think tanks to think about?