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Careers Service

THINK TANKS IN THE UK


Compiled by Frances Meegan, Careers Adviser

PUBLIC POLICY THINK TANKS

What are they?


Think tanks are public policy research, analysis and engagement institutions that generate policy-
oriented research, analysis and advice on domestic and international issues that aims to enable
policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy issues. Think tanks may be
affiliated or independent institutions. They often act as a bridge between the academic and policymaking
communities, serving in the public interest as an independent voice that translates applied and basic
research into a language and form that is understandable, reliable, and accessible for policymakers and
the public (Think Tanks and Policy Advice in the US: Academics, Advisors and Advocates,
Routledge 2007).

What is a Think Tank? is an interesting article written by John Goodman from the National Centre for
Policy Analysis (a US think tank) and a self-declared ―classic liberal‖. Also worth a look is The Think
Tank Index published by James McGann (from the US think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute) in
Foreign Policy (Jan/Feb 2009), as is the research paper it is based on, The Global "Go-To Think Tanks”:
The Leading Public Policy Research Organizations in the World

There are an estimated, 5000-plus think tanks globally, with over one third of these in North America and
almost a quarter in Western Europe. Washington DC, London and, to a lesser extent, Brussels have a
concentration of think tanks (The Global “Go-to Think Tanks” McGann, J.D., Foreign Policy Research
Institute).

Various political perspectives


The political complexion of think tanks is varied, e.g. conservative, liberal or left of centre, green or with a
particular religious perspective, free trade or protectionist, but each can usually be identified with
particular positions on the political spectrum. The range of issues with which think tanks are aligned is
also varied, e.g. political strategy, social policy, technology, development, security, international
relations, environment and business issues, and while some have a narrow focus others address a wide
range of issues. Furthermore, their scope can be national, regional and/or international. However, they
are ultimately policy and politics orientated and are not usually overtly ‗campaigning‘ organisations. Their
purpose is to influence public debate and policy rather than to campaign directly for policy changes.
They use contact with the media, politicians, civil servants and others in the ‗policy community‘ to
disseminate their work and to attempt to influence government and the wider public debate (Special
Characteristics of Think Tanks, NCVO).

Funding
Think tanks obtain their funding from a variety of sources, e.g. grants from charitable foundations and
trusts, subscriptions from members, donations from interest groups and other bodies and individuals and
they may also derive income from their publications and events they organise. They may also conduct
research in partnership with other organisations that share their interest or concern about a particular
issue. However, many think tanks in the UK are not only ‗not for profit‘ organisations but also registered
charities, and in this context the work they undertake and publish must be seen as being for the public
benefit, independent of party politics, and not improperly influenced by funders. Although most think
tanks claim to be independent, their critics suggest that bias can exist in what they choose to research
and the recommendations that they make to policy influencers and makers.
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Think tanks usually have a relatively small core staff involved in strategic management, research, events
and communications but they may well also work with a network of experts, e.g. academics, ex-
politicians and social researchers. These relationships can be more (Associates) or less formal and can
add significantly to the expertise and intellectual power of a think tank.

Internships, work experience and jobs


Whilst it can be possible to get an entry level position in a think tank without relevant work experience,
this is rare. Even an applicant with a relevant PhD may well be required to show evidence of being able
to work, and to conduct and communicate research, outside of academia. This evidence does not have
to come from paid work, the required experience can be provided from activities undertaken as part of
extra-curricular involvements, or through volunteering or internships. This experience can be gained
while completing a degree and/or after it. Owing to the lack of entry level positions for those with no
directly relevant prior experience it has become quite common for those interested in working in a think
tank to put together a portfolio of relevant experience, to make them competitive in landing their first paid
job. This experience may come from a range of activities, including: researching and writing (published)
articles for Varsity, TCS or other publications with a readership broader than the purely academic;
volunteering or working in the office of an MP or MEP; doing research for a political party, other interest
group or a charity; hands-on involvement in organising events for a politically or social policy orientated
student society (ideally persuading experts and public figures to attend or speak); completing an
internship in central or local government which provides exposure to policy work; and of course
internships in think tanks or research institutions.

Most of the organisations listed below (especially those in the UK and North America) advertise jobs on
their websites, and you can use the links provided to explore these further. Although not all offer
internships, where there is evidence that they do, this has been specifically noted below. However, do be
aware that within the think tank arena internship programmes and opportunities vary hugely in terms of
such issues as: application deadlines; degree discipline and level; start times and duration of internship;
frequency of availability of opportunities, e.g. only in the summer, or several times during the year, or
only when extra help needed for a specific activity; whether speculative applications are encouraged or
discouraged; and whether opportunities are full-time or part-time or flexible. So a good strategy can be to
identify the think tanks you are interested in and then clarify through their websites the specifics of any
internship opportunities they offer, so that you can take timely action. It is also important to be aware
that, with very few exceptions, most internships in think tanks are unpaid, although some do assist with
expenses.

The importance of doing your own research


Competition for internships and jobs in think tanks is fierce. It is essential that through all parts of the
selection process, e.g. application and interviews, you show (provide evidence) that: you understand
what think tanks do; you have an awareness of the work and objectives of the particular think tank you
are applying to and how it fits within the public policy arena; you genuinely want to work for them; you
have the competencies that the role requires.

In addition to looking at information on their website about the research work a think tank does and to
whom and how it disseminates this you may also find it useful to read the profiles of staff and associates
which you will often also find there. This will help you get a better idea of career paths in political and
social research and consequently help you clarify your career objectives.

In doing your research you may find it useful to access Gradlink (the Careers Service database of
alumni willing to assist Cambridge students and graduates with career related issues) to see if there is
anyone working in (or who has worked in) the organisation/s you are interested in. Likewise you might
find useful information in the vacation/internship and interview feedback files at the Careers Service.
Listed below, to help you further, are some of the core competencies that think tanks look for, but do also
always refer to what each organisation says in its vacancy material.

The competencies that think tanks look for?


Whilst a degree in a relevant discipline, e.g. economics, politics, international relations, development,
law, criminology, social science, sociology, public policy, is often preferred it may not be essential so
long as you have evidence of: your interest and involvement in relevant issues; and having research and
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analysis skills. Although many people working in think tanks have a postgraduate degree, not all had
them at the start of their careers. Many decide to wait to do postgraduate study until they know the area
they want to specialise in or the skill set they want to further develop.

Core competencies:
 The ability to conduct and analyse research, and write it up for a range of audiences, is crucial.
Sometimes experience of specific research methodologies may be desirable or even essential.
 Writing and editing experience outside of academic study and research is also likely to be of
value.
 Although the research undertaken can be similar to academic research, the context in which it is
undertaken can be very different, e.g. more than one research project at a time, which may or
may not be undertaken with partners, working to tight deadlines, and for non-academic
audiences. Consequently, organising, project management and time management skills are
very important too. There is also likely to be more need (and scope) for team work than in some
academic disciplines.
 Experience of successful networking and other face-to-face communication, whether within
academia or outside of it, will also be appreciated, as developing contacts and influencing people
are a core part of working in a think tank.
 Administrative experience in any capacity will also be a valued addition to a CV as interns and
new recruits into small organisations, like think tanks, may be expected to help out with day to
day admin. Experience can show that not only have you done this, but you are willing to do it too.
 In some instances specific knowledge of an issue or an area of the world may be desirable or
required, as may fluency in a language other than English. But note that language skills alone are
unlikely to be sufficient.
 Although think tanks are usually non-profit organisations commercial awareness and an
entrepreneurial approach are also useful, as they often have to seek and raise their own funds.
 Evidence of interest in political, social and/or economic policy issues, beyond the mere fact
that you have studied these at university, e.g. student societies you have been active in, interest
groups you have being involved with, articles you have written, volunteering you have done,
student membership of one or more relevant organisations (e.g. some think tanks offer student
subscription rates) and the ability to talk about relevant issues at an interview and during an
internship, will also be looked for. As already mentioned above it will also be necessary to show
at application, selection and internship stages that you have some knowledge of what the specific
think tank you are targeting does and why.
 Last but not least be clear about your IT and related skills and the level of these, e.g. word
processing, Excel, PowerPoint, databases, internet use, and if you have it, experience of using
quantitative and qualitative research analysis programmes.

What type of work do interns do?


This will vary but – to generalise – it is likely to include: support for day to day administration; assistance
with organising events (aimed at promoting debate or disseminating research); simple research projects
or assistance with longer term or more complex ones; writing short reports or fact sheets or web content.
There may also be the opportunity to attend parliamentary discussions or media briefings. Being inside a
think tank and meeting the types of people they interact with will also give you the opportunity to ask
about what you can do to make your CV as strong as possible, e.g. any experience gaps you should
work on, or if/when you should think about postgraduate study. An internship experience should help
you to get a deeper appreciation of the type of work think tanks do and whether or not this is something
you would like to build a career around. Ideally one or two internships will also increase your chances of
getting paid work in a think tank or related area, e.g. in the office of an MP or MEP, researcher for a
political party, other interest group or charity, the Civil Service or other public sector organisation or a
public affairs consultancy. Likewise experience in one or more of these may help you get a job in a think
tank.

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LIST OF THINK TANKS

UK (A-Z)

In selecting the organisations to include below, for the sake of more rather than less, some may arguably
be better defined as social research organisations with a lobbying focus while others are social research
institutes within an academic environment, rather than fitting solely within the category of think tank as
defined above. Unless otherwise stated all are based in London.

A
Adam Smith Institute: www.adamsmith.org
The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) is a politically independent and non-profit free-market economic and
social policies think tank. It seeks to pioneer practical initiatives to inject choice and competition into
public services, extend personal freedom, reduce taxes, prune back regulation, and cut government
waste. The ASI promotes its ideas through reports, briefings, events, media appearances, and its
website and blog. The ASI advertises internships on its website.

Article 19: www.article19.org


Article 19 is a human rights organisation with a specific mandate and focus on the defence and
promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide. It works worldwide – in
partnership with fifty-two national organisations in more than thirty countries across Europe, Africa, Asia,
Latin America and the Middle East – to lead institutional, cultural and legal change. Article 19 accepts
applications for internships throughout the year.

B
BASIC (British American Security Information Council): www.basicint.org
BASIC, with offices in London and Washington, works as an independent research and advocacy
organization, focused on transatlantic security and arms control issues as a means of creating a
more stable and secure world. It utilizes expert briefings, speaking tours, press conferences, and
publications to bring its message to legislators, experts, media and the general public. The BASIC
London office offers up to two internships at any time and applications are accepted throughout the year
from those with a relevant Masters degree.

Bow Group: www.bowgroup.org


The Bow Group is a centre-right think tank and exists to develop policy, publish research and stimulate
debate within the Conservative Party. It represents all strands of Conservative opinion.

C
CARE (Christian Action Research and Education): www.care.org.uk
Care is a Christian NGO that provides resources and help to bring Christian insight and experience
to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. It is represented in the UK Parliaments
and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels and the UN in Geneva and New York. Graduates interested in
politics and the media can participate in the Intern (Stagiaire) Programme run through CARE's London
office. This consists of MEP placements, and training in office skills and the practical workings of the
European institutions. Interns have been able to use language skills, develop thinking on socio-political
issues and have in a number of cases gone on directly to work in related fields. Care also advertises
volunteering and job opportunities, e.g. in Public Affairs and Publications on its website.

Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI): www.cesi.org.uk


CESI is an NGO focused on tackling disadvantage and promoting social justice. They conduct
research and deliver policy solutions, organise and manage events including conferences and training,
and produce publications. They recruit interns as an when they have opportunities

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Centre for European Reform (CER): www.cer.org.uk
CER is a think-tank devoted to improving the quality of the debate on the European Union. It is pro-
European but not uncritical and aims to promote new ideas for reforming the European Union.

Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES): www.cles.org.uk


CLES calls itself a think-doing NGO and is involved in regeneration, local economic development and
local governance. It brings together a network of subscribing organisations, which includes
regeneration partnerships, local authorities, regional bodies, community groups and voluntary
organisations. It undertakes a range of activities including policy research, production of publications,
training, an information and briefing service, events and a consultancy trading arm, CLES Consulting.

CentreForum: www.centreforum.org
CentreForum is an independent, liberal think-tank seeking to develop evidence-based, long-term policy
solutions to the problems facing Britain. It runs an internship programme with placements lasting
approximately ten to twelve weeks.

Centre for Policy Studies: www.cps.org.uk


The Centre for Policy Studies develops and promotes policies to limit the role of the state, to
encourage enterprise and to enable the institutions of society to flourish. It is a politically independent not
for profit organisation.

Centre for Research into Elections & Social Trends (CREST): www.crest.ox.ac.uk
CREST is a Research Centre based jointly at the National Centre for Social Research in London –
Britain‘s largest independent social research institute – and the Department of Sociology, University of
Oxford

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ): www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk


The CSJ is an independent think tank established, by Iain Duncan Smith in 2004, to seek effective
solutions to the poverty that blights parts of Britain. The CSJ offers an 11 month internship. Interns are
involved in a number of projects, events and publicity and provide support to the research team. The
roles are varied and provide exposure to the inner workings of a think tank developing a ground-breaking
policy agenda with national profile.

Centre for Study of Financial Innovation: www.csfi.org.uk


The Centre is an independent think tank and conducts research, publishes reports and holds round table
meetings, centred on the latest developments in financial markets. The Centre maintains an active
intern programme, which enables students from many countries to gain first-hand experience of the
finance sector. They are interested in hearing from high-quality graduate (and sometimes
undergraduate) students in economics, finance or related fields.

Chatham House (also known as Royal Institute for International Affairs): www.chathamhouse.org.uk
Chatham House seeks to be a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and
influential ideas on how to build a prosperous and secure world for all. They undertake independent
research and rigorous analysis with the aim of setting the agenda and shaping policy by encouraging
new ideas and forward thinking in international affairs. They regularly recruit interns and also post jobs
on their website.

CIVITAS (Institute for the Study of Civil Society): www.civitas.org.uk


Their work falls into two main groups: the services provided for the public (focused on education), and
their research and educational programmes which are designed to facilitate informed public debate on
important issues of the day by producing objective publications and arranging seminars and conferences
to stimulate mutual learning through open discussion. Internships are available throughout the year and
interns are allocated to a specific area of research, and given a project with measurable goals.

Constitution Unit: www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit


The Unit is part of the UCL School of Public Policy and is an independent research body focused on
constitutional change. It has done work on every aspect of the UK‘s constitutional reform programme:
devolution; reform of the House of Lords; electoral reform; parliamentary reform; the new Supreme
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Court; the conduct of referendums; freedom of information; and the Human Rights Act. The Unit
conducts academic research on current or future policy issues, often in collaboration with other
universities and partners from overseas, and organises programmes of seminars and conferences. They
also do consultancy work for government and other public bodies and act as advisers to government
departments and parliamentary committees. They regularly advertise for interns. Interns include vacation
students and postgraduates thinking about doing a PhD. Applicants will normally have a degree or
equivalent in Social Studies or Political Science, in Law or in some related subject and should be able to
demonstrate that they have the research and office skills needed for work in a research environment.
The Constitution Unit also welcomes enquiries from potential PhDs.

D
David Hume Institute: www.davidhumeinstitute.com
The Institute is an independent think tank promoting research, analysis and debate on public policy
issues. It is based in Edinburgh.

Demos: www.demos.co.uk
Demos is a think tank focused on power and politics with a vision of a democracy of free citizens, with
an equal stake in society. They cover a very broad agenda and regularly add to their research
programmes. They work in both the UK and with similar organisations around the world. They recruit
interns into their Research (most of the opportunities), Media/Communications and Audio/Visual projects
and consider students and graduates from all degree levels.

E
Economic & Social Research Council: www.esrc.ac.uk
The ESRC is the UK's leading agency for research funding and training in economic and social sciences.
It is not a think tank but job vacancies are advertised centrally for all the UK Research Councils and can
offer the opportunity to work in a research focused environment outside of (but connected with)
academia.

Electoral Reform Society: www.electoral-reform.org.uk


The Electoral Reform Society campaigns to change the way we choose our politicians. They
occasionally advertise internships.

European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA): www.publicaffairs.ac


The ECPA seeks to record, analyse and improve the conduct of public affairs. It has expertise in public
affairs practice in the European Union. It works closely with the European Commission, the European
Parliament and the Presidency and national governments of the Union to develop understanding of the
evolving process of governing Europe.

European Council on Foreign Relations: www.ecfr.eu


The ECFR Is a pan-European think tank with the objective of conducting and promoting informed debate
across Europe on the development of coherent and effective European values based foreign policy.
They have offices in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris and Sofia and plans to open additional offices in
Rome, Warsaw and Brussels. They advertise jobs and internships (the latter in London, Paris or Berlin,
when available) on their website.

European Economics & Financial Centre (EEFC): www.eefclondon.org


The EEFC is engaged in research and advisory work in the areas of economics and finance. It works
closely with the financial community at large including many European central banks, Ministries of
Finance/Economy, as well as the European Commission and other international organizations. Among
its aims and capabilities are the establishment of closer links between the practitioner (both in the public
and private sectors) and the theorist in the areas of economics and finance. The EEFC conducts
research on a cross-section of topics ranging from issues related to European integration, the single
currency and behaviour of exchange rates to different aspects of financial markets, including the
derivatives market, as well as dealing practices and regulatory environments of the global financial
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industry. It also produces macroeconomic studies of different economies. In addition, it runs a number of
symposia, workshops, and short courses and has many publications.

F
Fabian Society: www.fabian-society.org.uk
The Fabian Society has been an active left-of-centre think tank concerned with the development of
political ideas and public policy for more than a century. Analysing the key challenges facing the UK and
the rest of the industrialised world in a changing society and global economy, the society's programme
aims to explore the political ideas and the policy reforms which will define progressive politics in the new
century. It is affiliated to the Labour Party but is editorially and organisationally independent. Through its
publications, seminars and conferences, the society provides an arena for open-minded public debate.
At any one time, the Fabian Society has four or five interns, who are given a wide variety of tasks and
responsibilities to undertake. Many find it a useful first step into the political world and an opportunity to
find out more about how Westminster operates.

Federal Trust: www.fedtrust.co.uk


The Federal Trust is a think tank that studies the interactions between regional, national, European and
global levels of government. Founded in 1945, it has long made a powerful contribution to the study of
federalism and federal systems. It has always had a particular interest in the European Union and
Britain's place in it. It is a not for profit organisation with no allegiance to any political party.

Foreign Policy Centre (FPC): www.fpc.org.uk


The FPC is a foreign affairs think tank that was launched in 1998 under the patronage of the then
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to develop a vision of a fair and rule-based world order. Through its
research, publications and events, the Centre aims to develop innovative policy ideas. The Centre runs
an internship programme for recent graduates and postgraduates interested in working in the foreign
policy community. Interns typically undertake research, event organisation, fundraising, press and
marketing as well as publishing and administrative tasks. Internships are available on a full- or part-time
basis, with flexible hours of work, though you do need to commit for a minimum of 3 months.

G
Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies (GCSS): www.gcss-eg.org
The GCSS conducts research and analysis on issues concerning the Gulf region and at international
level. It runs conferences and seminars and training courses and provides consultancy services for
governmental and non-governmental organisations on political, military, security, social and economic
issues.

H
Hansard Society: www.hansard-society.org.uk
The Hansard Society is an independent, non-partisan political research and education charity. They aim
to strengthen parliamentary democracy and encourage greater public involvement in politics. At the
heart of their work is the principle that civic society is most effective when its citizens are connected with
the institutions and individuals who represent them in the democratic process. They inform decision
makers and the public through debate and discussion, training, research, providing accessible resources
and analysing the scope of new technology in engaging the public. They regularly recruit interns. Also
from time to time the Society has an opening for a postdoctoral Visiting Fellow offering (non-financial)
support to academics working in the field of British politics, looking for a place to base themselves in
central London.

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I
Institute for Employment Studies (IES) : www.employment-studies.co.uk
IES is a centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in employment, labour market and
human resource policy and practice. It is not-for-profit, its activities being funded through research
and consultancy commissions, and from its corporate membership programme. IES has around 70
multidisciplinary staff and international associates, and its expertise is available to all organisations
through research, consultancy, publications and its website. Advertises jobs on its website.

Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP): www.ieep.eu/


IEEP is an independent not for profit institute dedicated to advancing an environmentally sustainable
Europe through policy analysis, development and dissemination. They have an active internship
scheme, and post vacancies for this on their website as they arise.

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS): www.ifs.org.uk


The IFS seeks to promote effective economic and social policies by understanding better their impact on
individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances. They specialise in the economic
analysis of public policy, bridging the gap between purely academic research and issues of practical
policy design or evaluation. IFS offers several placements each summer to economics students who are
interested in how microeconomics can be applied to public policy issues and are considering a career in
economic research. The Institute also recruits annually for: Research Economists (will have gained or be
expected to gain at least a very good 2.1 on an economics-related undergraduate degree course, or
have or expect to have a relevant master's degree); and a graduate scholarship programme which
finances one or more students for three years to undertake research leading to a degree of PhD.
Applications for both open in October; the deadline is around the end of January, for a following October
start.

Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr): www.ippr.org.uk


The ippr is a progressive think tank, producing cutting edge research and innovative policy ideas for a
just, democratic and sustainable world. It looks at issues as diverse as security, climate change,
migration and citizenship. They regularly recruit interns both in their London and Newcastle offices and
post jobs from time to time.

Institute of Development Studies (IDS): www.ids.ac.uk


IDS is a global organisation for research, teaching and communications on international development.
Not strictly a think tank, IDS hosts five research teams (Globalisation, Governance, Knowledge,
Technology & Society, Participation Power and Social Change and Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction),
eight postgraduate courses, and a family of knowledge services. It is connected into and is a convener
of networks throughout the world. Through the Eldis website they seek to share development policy,
practice and research. They regularly post jobs on their website. It is based in Brighton at the University
of Sussex .

Institute of Economic Affairs: www.iea.org.uk


The Institute of Economic Affairs is a free-market think tank, founded in 1955. The IEA's goal is to
explain free-market ideas to the public, including politicians, students, journalists, businessmen,
academics and anyone interested in public policy.

International Institute for Environment and Development (iied): www.iied.org/


IIED is an independent international research organisation, specialising in linking local to global. In
Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Middle East and the Pacific, they work with
some of the world's most vulnerable people to ensure they have a say in the policy arenas that most
closely affect them — from village councils to international conventions. Through close collaboration with
partners at the grassroots, they seek to make their research and advocacy relevant to their needs and
alive to their realities. They advertise internship opportunities on their website when these arise, they
also advertise jobs from time to time. IEED has offices in London and Edinburgh.

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International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS): www.iiss.org
IISS is a centre for research, information, and debate on the subjects of military strategy, arms
control, regional security, and conflict resolution. The objective of the institute is to promote, on a
nonpartisan basis, the study, discussion, and exchange of information on the influence of modern and
nuclear weapons and warfare upon the problems of strategy, defence, disarmament, and international
relations. IISS is a source of information on international strategic issues for politicians and diplomats,
foreign affairs analysts, international business, economists, the military, defence commentators,
journalists, academics, and the informed public. They recruit interns from time to time and also post jobs
on their website. Headquartered in the UK and with offices in Washington DC and Singapore.

International Policy Network (IPN): www.policynetwork.net


IPN is a think tank that seeks to encourage better public understanding of the role of the institutions of
the free society in social and economic development. IPN achieves this goal by interacting with
thinkers and commentators in many countries and across many disciplines. It conducts, commissions
and disseminates research, directly and indirectly with partner organizations, in the realms of health,
environment, trade and development. Their website indicates that they are willing to receive speculative
applications for internships.

J
Joseph Rowntree Foundation: www.jrf.org.uk
The Foundation seeks to understand the root causes of social problems, to identify ways of
overcoming them, and to show how social needs can be met in practice. It funds significant amounts of
social research each year. Advertise jobs from time to time on their website.

K
King’s Fund: www.kingsfund.org.uk
The King‘s Fund seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved and to help
shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Their work includes research,
analysis, leadership development and service improvement. They also offer a wide range of resources to
help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas. From time to time advertise
jobs on their website.

L
M
Migration Watch UK: www.migrationwatchuk.org
An independent, voluntary, non political body which is concerned about the present scale of immigration
into the UK.

N
National Centre for Social Research: www.natcen.ac.uk
NatCen is the largest independent social research institute in Britain. They design, carry out and
analyse research studies in the fields of social and public policy – including extensive research among
members of the public. They regularly have opportunities for face-to-face and telephone interviewers and
other roles.

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR): www.niesr.ac.uk/


NIESR is an economic research institute, with over 60 years of experience in applying academic
excellence to the needs of business and policymakers. NIESR's objective is to promote, through
quantitative research, a deeper understanding of the interaction of economic and social forces that affect
people's lives so that they may be improved. It is independent of all political interests, it receives no core
funding from the government, and it is not affiliated with any single university, although its staff regularly
undertake projects in collaboration with leading academic institutions. Its research interests are
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constantly changing in response to new needs but embrace most of the issues that shape economic
performance. Current programmes include work on productivity, pensions and the ageing population,
trade and investment, European financial integration, labour markets and economic statistics. All are
underpinned by the institute's long-standing strength in macroeconomic modelling and forecasting.
Advertise jobs from time to time on their website.

New Economics Foundation (nef): www.neweconomics.org


Nef positions itself as a think and do tank aiming to improve quality of life by promoting innovative
solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. It works
with all sections of society in the UK and internationally – civil society, government, individuals,
businesses and academia – to create more understanding and strategies for change. Advertise jobs on
their website.

New Health Network: www.newhealthnetwork.co.uk


The New Health Network brings together the worlds of medicine, management, politics and business to
inspire debate, influence policy and improve health and healthcare. The New Health Network is an
independent multi-professional network that focuses exclusively on patient interests. It is a not-for-profit
organisation committed to a safe, successful, efficient, caring health service funded through general
taxation, available to all according to need not ability to pay. The organisation and its programme of work
are funded through corporate and NHS subscriptions, donations, conference and publication sales and
other sponsorship activities.

New Local Government Network (NLGN): www.nlgn.org.uk


A not-for-profit, independent think tank, NLGN seeks to transform public services, revitalise local political
leadership and empower local communities. NLGN is also the primary advocate of New Localism.
NLGN works closely with individual local authorities, national agencies, central government and the
private sector to promote ideas about how our objectives can be achieved in practice. It runs an active
internship programme, specifically designed to allow candidates to gain experience of local government
and policy whilst working in a fast-paced think tank environment. From time to time advertise jobs on
their website.

New Policy Institute (NPI): www.npi.org.uk


NPI is a progressive think tank. Wholly independent, it has neither financial backers nor political
patrons. Almost all its funding is project-based and comes principally from charitable foundations, trade
unions, voluntary sector organisations and public sector bodies. Most projects lead directly to public-
domain reports, of which there are now over 100. The exceptions to this are those projects carried out on
a consultancy basis. Some reports – and most submissions to inquiries – are unfunded. Their internship
programme runs all year round and they also advertise jobs from time to time on their website.

nfpSynergy: www.nfpSynergy.net
nfpSynergy is a specialist research consultancy for not-for-profit organisations. It carries out both
bespoke research projects and syndicated tracking research and also publishes free reports on topics of
interest to the entire non-profit sector. It runs and internship programme and advertises jobs from time to
time on its website.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics: www.nuffieldbioethics.org


The Nuffield Council on Bioethics examines ethical issues raised by new developments in biology
and medicine. The Council is an independent body, funded jointly by the Foundation, the Medical
Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. It has achieved an international reputation for addressing
public concerns, and providing independent advice to assist policy makers and stimulate debate in
bioethics. It advertises jobs from time to time on its website.

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Odysseus Trust: www.odysseustrust.org
The Trust seeks to promote good governance in the interests of the governed, based upon plural
democratic values, public accountability and the effective protection of human rights and fundamental

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freedoms. It seeks legislative, political and social reforms to achieve these objectives. It advertises jobs
from time to time on its website.

Open Europe: www.openeurope.org.uk


Open Europe is an independent think tank set up by some of the UK‘s leading business people to
contribute bold new thinking to the debate about the direction of the EU. They are open to hearing from
undergraduates and graduates interested in internships.

Overseas Development Institute (ODI): www.odi.org.uk


The ODI is Britain's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian
issues. They seek to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the
alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. They
provide applied research, practical policy advice, and policy-focused dissemination and debate and work
with partners in the public and private sectors, in both developing and developed countries. They run a
Fellowship scheme for postgraduate economists and advertise jobs from time to time on their website.

Oxford Analytica: www.oxan.com


An independent, privately held company founded in 1975 to bring timely and authoritative analysis of
world developments to business and government leaders from the best available scholar experts.

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Policy Exchange: www.policyexchange.org.uk
Policy Exchange is an independent free market think tank whose mission is to develop and promote
new policy ideas which will foster a free society based on strong communities, personal freedom, limited
government, national self-confidence and an enterprise culture. They work in partnership with academics
and other experts and commission major studies involving thorough empirical research of alternative
policy outcomes.

Policy Network: www.policy-network.net


Policy Network is an international think tank dedicated to promoting progressive policies and the renewal
of social democracy. Launched in 2000 to facilitate the sharing of ideas and experiences among
politicians, policymakers and experts on the centre-left, it seeks to inject new ideas into progressive
politics that address the common challenges and opportunities of the global age.

Policy Studies Institute (PSI): www.psi.org.uk


The PSI is an independent research institute, conducting research to promote economic well-being and
improve quality of life. It evaluates public policy in the UK and Europe, and publishes and disseminates
research findings. It is based in the University of Westminster.

Politeia: www.politeia.co.uk
Politeia is a forum for social and economic thinking. Its aim is to encourage reflection, discussion and
debate about the place of the state in the daily lives of men and women across the range of issues which
affect them, from employment and tax to education, health and pensions.

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Race on the Agenda (ROTA): www.rota.org.uk
ROTA is a social policy think tank focusing on issues that affect Black, Asian and minority ethnic
(BAME) communities. ROTA aims to increase the capacity of BAME organisations and strengthen the
voice of BAME communities through increased civic engagement and participation in society. From time
to time they recruit research volunteers.

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Rand Europe: www.rand.org/randeurope (also has offices around the world)
RAND Europe is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to help improve policy
and decision-making through research and analysis. They undertake research and analysis;
communicate findings to a wide audience, often through publications, many of which are available on
their web site; work in partnership with clients; and work collaboratively with others. Rand‘s research is
very broad in Europe it includes: Crime & Justice; Health; Education, Arts & Culture; Defence & Security,
Long Term Policy Analysis; Population and Migration and Economics. It advertises jobs based in
Cambridge, UK on its website and also jobs in other office locations.

Reform: www.reform.co.uk/
Reform is an independent, charitable, non-party think tank whose mission is to set out a better way to
deliver public services and economic prosperity. They seek to produce research on the core issues
of the economy, health, education and law and order on the right balance between government and
individual; and to communicate it to politicians and opinion formers in all parties and none in order to
create a consensus for reform. They advertise internship opportunities on their website.

Relationships Foundation: www.relationshipsfoundation.org


The Relationships Foundation is the think tank for a better connected society. They believe that a
good society is built on good relationships, from family and community to public service and business,
and so study the effect that culture, business and government have on relationships. They create new
ideas for strengthening social connections and campaign on issues where relationships are being
undermined. And they train and equip people to think relationally for themselves. They work with a wide
range of leaders in business, academia, public services and politics to implement relational ideas.

Royal Society of Edinburgh: www.ma.hw.ac.uk/RSE


The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is an educational charity, registered in Scotland. Independent and
non-party-political, they are working to provide public benefit throughout Scotland and by means of a
growing international programme. The RSE has a peer-elected, multidisciplinary Fellowship of 1500 men
and women who are experts within their fields.

Runnymede Trust: www.runnymedetrust.org


The Trust‘s mandate is to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain – a Britain where citizens and
communities feel valued, enjoy equal opportunities to develop their talents, lead fulfilling lives and accept
collective responsibility, all in the spirit of civic friendship, shared identity and a common sense of
belonging. It acts as a bridge-builder between minority ethnic communities and policy-makers and
believes that the way ahead lies in building effective partnerships; it is continually developing these with
the voluntary sector, the government, local authorities and companies in the UK and Europe. The Trust
stimulates debate and suggests forward-looking strategies in areas of public policy such as education,
the criminal justice system, employment and citizenship. They advertise internship opportunities from
time to time.

RUSI (Royal United Services Institute): www.rusi.org (also has offices in US and rest of the world)
RUSI is a think tank focused on the study and discussion of security and defence issues across the
globe. They do this through research, publications and the organisation of events. They advertise
internships from time to time.

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Saferworld: www.saferworld.org.uk (also has offices around the world)
Saferworld works to create safer communities in places affected by violent crime, conflict and the
impact of small arms and light weapons. They do this by: policy research; technical support to
governments and civil society; and advocacy. Advertise jobs on their website.

Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI): www.scdi.org.uk


SCDI is Scotland's leading economic development organisation. SCDI's aim is to influence and inspire
government and key stakeholders to create sustainable economic prosperity for Scotland, an ambition
as relevant today as it was when SCDI was established in 1931.

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Scottish Poverty Information Unit (SPIU): www.povertyinformation.org
The Scottish Poverty Information Unit believes that poverty is caused by the unequal distribution of
opportunities and resources rather than the lack of resources in society. SPIU aims to assist those
committed to eradicating poverty in Scotland through robust policy analysis, quality research and
widespread dissemination of poverty information. SPIU seeks to work in partnership with others towards
the goal of reducing poverty and extending social justice in 21st Century Scotland.

Social Affairs Unit: www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk


The Social Affairs Unit addresses social, economic and cultural issues with an emphasis on the
value of personal responsibility. They research, challenge and debate issues from welfare to
warfare, seeking to draw out the role of the individual's obligations. They identify research with a
potential to inform public policy and translate it from academic discourse into public debate. The
ideas they promote come largely from historians, sociologists and philosophers but also medical
doctors and hard scientists.

Social Market Foundation: www.smf.co.uk


The Social Market Foundation is a think tank, developing innovative ideas across a broad range of
economic and social policy. It champions policy ideas which marry markets with social justice and
takes a pro-market rather than free-market approach. Their work is characterised by the belief that
governments have an important role to play in correcting market failures and setting the framework
within which markets can operate in a way that benefits individuals and society as a whole. They
regularly offer internships.

Smith Institute: www.smith-institute.org.uk


The Smith Institute is an independent think tank, which has been set up to undertake research and
education in issues that flow from the changing relationship between social values and economic
imperatives. In recent years the Institute has centred its work on the policy implications arising from the
interactions of equality, enterprise and equity.

Stockholm Network: www.stockholm-network.org


The Stockholm Network is the leading pan-European think tank and market oriented network. It is a
one-stop shop for organisations seeking to work with Europe's brightest policymakers and thinkers. The
Network brings together more than 130 market-oriented think tanks from across Europe, giving the
capacity to deliver local messages and locally-tailored global messages across the EU and beyond.

Sustainable Development Commission: www.sd-commission.org.uk


The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government's independent adviser on sustainable
development, reporting to the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and the First
Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. Through advocacy, advice and appraisal, they
help put sustainable development at the heart of Government policy. On 1 February 2009, the
Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) became an executive non-departmental body (Executive
NDPB). Advertise jobs from time to time on their website.

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The Work Foundation: www.theworkfoundation.com
The Work Foundation is an independent research consultancy advising organisations and policymakers
about the changing world of work and corporate performance. They aim to improve the quality of
working life and increase the effectiveness of organisations. They do this through ideas and evidence,
through advice, and through advocacy and events.

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Unlock Democracy: www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk
Unlock Democracy (incorporating Charter 88) is a campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. A
grassroots movement, owned and run by its members. They run an internship programme.
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VERTIC – The Verification Research, Training and Information Centre: www.vertic.org
VERTIC promotes effective and efficient verification as a means of ensuring confidence in the
implementation of international agreements and intra-national agreements with international
involvement. It aims to achieve its mission through research, training, dissemination of information, and
interaction with the relevant political, diplomatic, technical, scientific, academic and non-governmental
communities. It is an independent, non-profit-making, non-governmental organisation. Vertic runs an
internship programme and posts jobs on their website from time to time.

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Westminster Foundation for Democracy: www.wfd.org
WFD is an independent public body (and not strictly a think tank) sponsored by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, from which it receives annual funding. Working with and through partner
organisations, they seek to strengthen the institutions of democracy, principally political parties
(through the work of the UK political parties), parliaments and the range of institutions that make up civil
society, e.g. non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions and free media, among others. Their
website has information on how to apply speculatively and they also advertise jobs across the globe on
their website.

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Young Foundation: www.youngfoundation.org.uk (website not working when checked on 3 June 2009)
They undertake research to identify and understand unmet social needs and then develop practical
initiatives and institutions to address them - in fields as diverse as health and education, housing and
cities. They run an internship programme.

July 2010

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