Colin Talbot & Carole Talbot

Why do Think Tanks matter?

What are generally known as “Think Tanks” have been around for over a century – the oldest listed by Diane Stone, in her book on Think Tanks, is the Fabian Society, founded in 1884.

It is generally accepted that Think Tanks have grown massively in more recent decades in numbers, size and – many argue – influence. Many reasons have been given for this explosion, which we’ll discuss in a future note.

One online global register currently has 2,700 Think Tanks, or similar organizations, in their database. There appear to be about 100 across Africa, 400 each in Asia and north America, 600 in Latin America and more than a thousand across Europe (as far as central Asia). Continue reading →

Policy Tools: Analysis, Choice and Action

 [This paper was originally written in 2005 but the arguments it makes are still relevant to today’s debates about policymaking?]


This paper seeks to lay out some of the issues surrounding policy formulation and implementation from a ‘tools of policy’ perspective. This is a relatively underdeveloped approach in public policy but one which offers some tangible benefits in expanding the scope of policy choices and developing more realistic analytical, diagnostic and evaluative tools. Continue reading →

An interesting experiment: the Guardian science-blog – academia meets the press?

As a further contribution to discussions about academic public policy blogging, here is a brief account of the experiment with The Guardian and science policy.

[See important update below – these sites have now closed.]

By James Wilsdon

In 2012, the Guardian’s science section embarked on an editorial experiment with a group of around 15 academic bloggers – inviting them to edit and write regularly for a family of science blogs on the Guardian website [NB Now closed] Continue reading →


University-based public policy blog sites are growing in number in the UK. Why?

Partly, this is obviously driven by the so-called “impact” agenda – Universities proving the worth of their research to funding agencies, Government, the media and the public. Impact on public policy is an important part of “impact”.

So why blog sites? A University public policy blogsite offers two huge advantages. Continue reading →