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The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) was dedicated to strengthening the capacity of independent policy research institutions in the developing world. Launched in 2008 and managed by IDRC, TTI was a partnership between five donors. The program ended in 2019.

During its second phase, from 2014 to 2019, TTI provided 43 think tanks in 20 countries with core, non-earmarked funding. This support allowed the institutions to attract, retain, and build local talent; develop an independent research program; and invest in public outreach to ensure that research results informed and influenced national and regional policy debates.

TTI sought to nurture the long-term sustainability of the think tanks it funded. The initiative combined core funding with capacity-development support by program officers and external experts in three broad areas:

  • research methods and skills;
  • policy engagement and communication; and
  • general organizational effectiveness.

TTI also supported peer-to-peer review, learning, and exchange among the think tanks.

Throughout the program, TTI documented the contributions that think tank research has made to many national policies. The initiative also evaluated and reflected on which methods and approaches are effective for strengthening think tanks — and those that are not. We intend to make sure that the learnings emerging from this decade-long journey can inform donors, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners who seek to promote evidence-based policymaking.

Learn more about the program and its lasting legacy by visiting the links on this page or the TTI website.

Explore research projects that we support.

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What tangible lessons can funders learn from the Think Tank Initiative? View all videos

Remote video URL

The Think Tank Initiative Exchange 2018: Conference Video


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