Monday, April 23, 2012

Explosion of Think Tank Partnerships

Collaboration among think tanks and with outside entities is nothing new, but a recent spate of partnership and collaboration announcements suggests that the pace is only quickening.  Following are a few examples:
  • The Heritage Foundation has teamed up with Breitbart News Network to bring the think tank's weekly Blogger's Briefing live on Brietbart TV.
  • Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy has announced that it will team up with Brazil's premier think tank Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) to "enhance research and academic relationships and to lay the foundation for long-term cooperation."
  • London-based Legatum Institute and Foreign Policy Magazine have teamed up to launch Democracy Lab, a website dedicated to covering political and economic transitions around the world.
  • American Enterprise Institute (AEI), New American Foundaiton (NAF), and Center for a New American Security (CNAS) have teamed up to hold the "Election 2012: The National Security Agenda" event series.  The first event was held March 15, 2012.
  • Defending Defense is a joint effort by the Heritage Foundation, AEI, and the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) "to promote a sound understanding of the US defense budget..."
  • The Center for Social Cohesion is a joint project of the New American Foundation (NAF), Arizona State University, and Zócalo Public Square dedicated to "studying the forces that shape our sense of social unity."
  • The Hudson Institute has teamed up with the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) for a series of strategic dialogues, the first one taking place in May 2012.
  • The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Louisiana State University (LSU) have partnered to host an international speakers series, The CSIS-LSU Series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
  • CSIS has a partnership with Texas Christian University's (TCU) Schieffer School of Journalism.
  • CSIS has a partnership with Chevron Corporation to promote US leadership in international and economic community development.
  • New America Foundation (NAF) teamed up with Google, Skype and others to produce Measurement Lab, an open platform for researchers to collect and analyze data related to broadband performance.

But not all recent partnerships have been successful.  Several weeks ago, York University in Toronto, Canada decided not to accept tens of millions of dollars from Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research in Motion.  Balsillie's offer was linked to the school's close participation with his private think tank in Waterloo, Ontario, the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

UPI reports:
Hundreds of York professors and faculty rallied against the proposal, saying it would have eroded academic freedom by allowing the CIGI think tank to influence curriculum and the hiring of faculty...Last year, CIGI made a similar offer to the University of Ottawa, which also rejected it.
The AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, established in 1998, no longer exists.  Neither does the joint AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project.  The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center, however, still appears to be going strong.  So does the Carter Center, which still has its longstanding relationship with Emory University.