Think Tank proliferation: stratification of knowledge organizations and policy related expertise


A significant rise of not for profit think tanks in and similar civil society based organizations in number and level of activity has been observed over the last decades many of which are closely linked to academic, media, business, advocacy and other groups as well as public sector institutions. Uncertainty, complexity, and rising multi-stakeholder participation in political debate and policy making all have contributed to the growing demand for policy related expertise, which has long become an important tool to achieve policy objectives. Civil society in turn has become a source and resource in conflict constellations and a terrain in which important conflicts play out in close relation to arenas of the relevant political system(s). The project pursues a number of different venues to examine what is considered a novel competition and stratification of policy relevant think tank knowledge both complementing and challenging traditionally privileged knowledge institutions such as academic research institutes and universities, interest group and political party related expertise. The project examines a) the making and the impact of the Global Go To Think Tank Index, which provides global, regional, country and subject rankings since 2006. The project examines b) novel think tanks and think tank capacities with a focus on legal expertise and the interface of European and national policy making. The project examines c) the ways in which expertise from different think tank sources intersects in policy making. Last but not least the project examines the global Atlas think tank network and climate policy together with international partners in the framework of the Global Survey Group of the Climate Social Science Network.