But where exactly are they all?
I’ve compiled their address data and mapped them below. (You might find it easier to view the full screen version.) Click on any of the pins to see each think tank’s name, date of founding, address, website and Twitter profile.
What do we notice from seeing them mapped?
For a start, 80% of all the office addresses are in London. This is unsurprising given the UK’s centre of political gravity, but some may find it concerning that the vast majority of those seeking to influence policy are based in the capital.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) should be commended for having a physical presence in Manchester and Newcastle (as IPPR North) and Scotland (as IPPR Scotland), as well as online profiles dedicated to those regions. More think tanks should be encouraged to do the same.
One note: trying to compile a definitive list of UK think tanks is not entirely straightforward. Many organisations covered in other lists I’ve seen I’d regard as being pressure groups, campaigning organisations, or academic departments. Broadly, I have included those organisations who describe themselves as think tanks. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. They range from the RSA, founded in 1754, to DotEveryone, founded following Martha Lane Fox’s Dimbleby Lecture in 2015.
If you feel there some organisations that really should be added, or notice any mistakes in the data, do please let me know on Twitter.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more information about working for a think tank, my book contains the following content:
Chapter 1 explores the current landscape of UK think tanks, defining what they do and how they differ from one another. Discover the many functions that think tanks perform and how they distinguish themselves from the world of academia.
Chapter 2 provides an insight into day-to-day think tank life, including a deep dive into the activities that policy professionals perform as part of their roles, from fundraising to designing policy events, and from blogging to networking.
Chapter 3 investigates the core challenge for policy wonks: how to come up with ideas and insights that haven’t occurred to people who work at the coalface of a particular policy area. Discover the tools and techniques think tankers use to think about old problems in news ways.
In Chapter 4, I share my observations about what makes the best in the business so effective at shaping the policy agenda, detailing the methods and behaviours they use to have impact.
Chapter 5 outlines the steps you can take to secure your own job working for a UK think tank. Learn about the different job roles, understand where to find the latest job adverts, and read about how to best prepare for an interview.
In the Appendix, you’ll find details of more than 120 UK think tanks, including their descriptions, Twitter handles, and links to where they advertise their latest job vacancies.