Think Tank Peer Exchanges

The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) and Open Society Think Tank Fund (TTF) are partnering to support peer exchanges between think tanks in regions where TTI and TTF are active (Africa, Latin America and South Asia; and Central and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union, respectively)

The purpose of this support is to reduce the barriers to cooperation amongst researchers and other think tank staff members in order to stimulate collaboration and learning.

Exchanges will take place between August 2013 and June 2014.

Eligibility Criteria

Bilateral cooperation should be focused in either comparative policy research, organizational development, or a combination of the two:

1. Comparative Policy Research

The proposed collaborative research needs to be relevant to the social and economic policy issues in the countries of the bilateral exchange. Proposals must also demonstrate the value behind comparing their specific countries, as well as the contribution to new knowledge in that policy domain.

2. Organizational Development

Bilateral exchanges designed to examine specific operational dimensions around core think tank processes, e.g. research quality, communication, financial management, public engagement, advocacy, with the goal of learning about good practice and innovative operational models.

Identifying appropriate and fruitful matches between participating think tanks will be of the utmost importance for this initiative. Think tanks must be clear about their intentions and interests for engaging in the partnership, and have common expectations for what results they wish to see emerge. There are two main options available to ensure productive matches:

1. Participating think tanks self-select into partnerships for peer exchanges

Think tanks in Africa/Latin America/South Asia and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union would work together to submit a joint proposal for peer exchange. TTI/TTF and the intermediary may wish to set up an online platform that would allow eligible think tanks to connect and discover common interests/activities before submitting a proposal.

2. Participating think tanks submit individual proposals and are matched by the intermediary depending on the needs/activities to be undertaken

TTI, TTF, and the intermediary organization or hub may assist think tanks in the identification of appropriate partners where those matches are not easily detectable by the participating think tanks. In this instance, it would be permissible for think tanks to submit individual proposals outlining their interest in engaging in a peer exchange, and the specific issue that they wish to address. Individual proposals may then also be circulated to other think tanks by the hub, or posted on in an online forum that would allow for additional exposure and the identification of appropriate matches.

Alternatively, a mix of these two options may be envisioned.

In all cases, successful applicants will clearly identify the validity and impact of cooperation in addressing a particular issue through the peer exchange mechanism.


Hub Requirements

The bidders will be requested to submit proposals and accompanying budget. Each proposal should contain the following elements:

  • Design of the future hub (online and/or offline)
  • Strategy for communication, including announcement and promotion of the peer exchanges to think tanks in eligible countries
  • Range of exchange methods that the hub will encourage / promote for participating think tanks •
  • Elaborated criteria for selection of the exchanges
  • Plan for managing, monitoring and reporting the exchanges
  • Any other elements suggested by the bidder
  • A proposed budget, not exceeding USD 300,000 for the pilot period of 10 months

Criteria for selection of the hub

  • Quality of the design and strategy for communication (40 percent of total grade)
  • Innovation and appropriateness of the exchange methods, overall innovation (30 percent)
  • Suggested criteria for selection (10 percent)
  • Price (20 percent)

TTI and TTF are contacting six potential bidders. We expect all bids to be submitted by August 2. Inquiries are allowed until July 26. The successful bidder will be selected by August 16. All bidders will be duly notified by August 21. Download and review the complete details at left.