Global Think Tank Survey 2012 Released


SAIIA has for the fourth successive year been voted the leading think tank in sub Saharan Africa in the 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Survey.

In addition to this recognition, SAIIA has been rated by its international peers in the following global categories:

  • Top 100 Think Tanks – Worldwide excluding the USA: SAIIA at 45
  • Top 150 Think Tanks – Worldwide including the USA: SAIIA at 81
  • Top 70 Security and International Affairs Think Tanks: SAIIA at 43 (the top African think tank in this category)
  • Top 80 International Development Think Tanks: SAIIA at 26 (the top African think tank in this category)Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy: SAIIA at 58
  • Think Tanks with the Best Use of the Media to Communicate Programmes and Research – SAIIA at 32 (the top African think tank in this category)
  • Think Tanks for the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Programme: SAIIA at 43
  • Think Tanks for Outstanding Policy-orientated Research Programmes: SAIIA at 50

This year’s survey highlighted the substantive challenges that face think tanks globally, especially in relation to dramatic changes in funding patterns, increased competition, assessing output versus impact, the growing importance of the internet and social media, and a greater emphasis on marketing strategies to promote the work of think tanks.

This annual survey is conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and is the most comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks.  It covers 6603 think tanks across the world of which 554 are in sub Saharan Africa.  It is based on a global peer and expert survey of 1900 scholars, policy-makers, journalists, and regional and area experts from 120 countries.

Some of the key criteria for selection are: media profile and reputation, access to and reputation among policy makers, quality of research output, and success in generating innovative policy ideas and programme. The impact of the work of the think tank, as indicated by its recommendations having been considered or adopted by policy makers and civil society organisations, is rated of key importance.

SAIIA Chief Executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos paid tribute to her team for the quality, dedication and exceptional work ethic that has made this accolade possible, often under difficult external circumstances, as highlighted by the survey.

“At the interface between policy makers and academia, think tanks can fulfil a significant function of providing policy-grounded analysis and alternative perspectives to enrich the policy debate. The survey shows that the think tank community in South Africa is diverse and of a high quality. We are proud to be part of it and to see sister institutes from South Africa fare so well in the global rankings”, she says.

These and other key issues are being addressed by SAIIA management, and form part of the new SAIIA five-year strategy (2013 – 17), which will be released shortly.

Click here to access the full survey report online from the University of Pennsylvania.