European Studies: Think Tanks

Research guide dedicated to European studies and KU courses dedicated to the study of Europe

What is a Think Tank?

"Think tanks are public-policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policy makers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.  Think tanks may be affiliated or independent institutions that are structured as permanent bodies, not ad hoc commissions. These institutions often act as a bridge between the academic and policymaking communities and between states and civil society, serving in the public interest as an independent voice that translates applied and basic research into a language that is understandable, reliable, and accessible for policy makers and the public." (Sources: Think Tanks and Policy Advice in the US, Routledge 2007 and in The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance, Brookings Institution Press 2016)

Categories of Think Tank Affiliations

Category Definition
AUTONOMOUS AND INDEPENDENT Significant independence from any one
interest group or donor and autonomous in
its operation and funding from government.
QUASI INDEPENDENT Autonomous from government but
controlled by an interest group, donor, or
contracting agency that provides a majority
of the funding and has significant influence
over operations of the think tank.
GOVERNMENT AFFILIATED A part of the formal structure of government.
QUASI GOVERNMENTAL Funded exclusively by government grants
and contracts but not a part of the formal
structure of government.
UNIVERSITY AFFILIATED A policy research center at a university.
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATED Formally affiliated with a political party.
CORPORATE (FOR PROFIT) A for-profit public policy research
organization, affiliated with a corporation or
merely operating on a for-profit basis.


Think Tank Search and Discovery

CGS Policy Archive. Comprehensive digital library of public policy research containing over 30,000

Think Tank Search Engine. From Harvard Kennedy School Library

Think Tanks and NGOs. List of non-profit research institutes and NGOs around the world

Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources. Directory of sources on international affairs, international relations international studies, global studies, and global education

Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports. Comprehensive think tank overview publication from the University of Pennsylvania, updated annually

Open Think Tank Directory. A global collection of think tanks and related organizations

Think Tank Directory Europe. Contains information about the most important think tanks in the European Union

On Think Tanks Blog

Global Distribution of Think Tanks

ASIA 1829
TOTAL 8,248