As TTIX approaches, we reflect on the value of think tanks and the effectiveness of core support
The final Think Tank Initiative Exchange is fast approaching and to mark the occasion, TTI joined up with the co-host of the Exchange, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) to develop a perspective piece on how think tanks have contributed to their societies, and how they can continue to do so.
One of the main messages of this article, posted in the Bangkok Post and on the TDRI website, is that the original premise of TTI is still valid, namely, that public policies work best when they are designed and implemented by actors on the ground. Without context-specific data and analysis, well intentioned programs and policies often do not respond to the lived realities of people in developing countries. Grant-makers around the world have long recognised that beneficiaries need to feel ownership if development cooperation is to be successful. Strengthening national policy research organizations or think tanks can lead to better local capacity for evidence-informed policymaking and ultimately, better policy outcomes.
Both TTI and TDRI have demonstrated how investment in policy research can yield long term gains. TDRI, was established in 1984 with the support of a grant by the former Canadian International Development Agency and they’ve grown into one of the most well-respected policy research organisations in the region. Through the provision of core, non-earmarked funding to 43 organizations in 20 countries, TTI has enabled think tanks to attract, retain and build local talent, develop an independent research program, and invest in public outreach to ensure that research results inform and influence national and regional policy debates.
Photo Source: Asian Development Bank