this agenda

Think Tanks, Public Policy and Governance:
Ideas, Analysis, Innovation and Impact
US-India Think Tank Summit*
New Delhi, April 27-29, 2015
BBI Quote
ORF Ouote
The potential of think tanks to support and sustain democratic governments and civil society is far
from exhausted. Today policymakers and civil society throughout the developed and the developing
world face the common problem of bringing expert knowledge to bear on government decisionmaking. The challenge is to harness the vast reservoir of knowledge, information and associational
energy that exist in public policy research organizations in every region of the world for public good.
James G. McGann, Ph.D. Think Tanks and Civil Society Program, University of Pennsylvania
Monday, April 27, 2015
5:00-6:30 Opening Panel The Future of Think Tanks and Policy Advice in India
A panel comprised of think tanks, policymakers, journalists and donors will explore how think
tanks can help India meet the challenges and opportunities it faces.
7.00 pm onwards – Welcome Dinner
Venue TBC
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
10.00 am – 10.20 am – Welcome Address
10.20 am – 11.00 am – Keynote address
*The Summit will be conducted in a Roundtable format and according to the Chatham House Rule.
There will be no panels and each session will begin with 2-3 individuals who will make brief (5-7
minute) remarks that should be constructively provocative and will serve to frame and stimulate
the Roundtable discussion that will follow.
11.15 am – 12.45 pm – Session I: Mobilizing Human and Financial Resources For India’s
Think Tanks need adequate human and financial resources to cultivate and retain a pool of
researchers and generate a body of empirical evidence that fosters and supports evidence-based
policymaking—Best practices. What can the government and the private sector do to build
the capacity of knowledge based policy research institutions? Should think tanks be more
proactive, what can they do to mobilize the public and private sector to support them?
What are the funding models used by think tanks around the world and in India? What can
think tanks do to mobilize funding? To what extent should the government and private
sector be involved?
Key discussion point: How can India’s Think Tank successfully mobilize human and financial
resources to accomplish their mandate?
Session Chair:
Framing the Issue by: 2 think tank executives are asked to frame the topic with key points in 5-7
Open Floor Discussion:
12.45 pm – 2.00 pm – LUNCH
A group of young scholars and future think tank executives from the think tanks in India will be
assigned to all the tables at lunch where they will frame and lead discussion around the following
exercise. Each group (table) has been asked to create a new, cutting edge think tank for India that
will help it meet the challenges and opportunities it faces now and in the future-- what does it look
2.00 pm – 3.30 pm – Session II: Engaging Policymakers, Journalists, and the Public
To be effective in their work, think tanks need to engage policymakers, journalists and the public on
global and national policy issues. What strategies do think tanks employ to reach these key
audiences—Best practices How do can think tanks harness new technologies and networks to
communicate ideas and extend reach and impact. How do think tanks communicate their
ideas in the digital age? Are books and Journals a thing of the past? How are think tanks in
India and around the world assessing their performance and the impact of their work?
Key discussion point: What are the key mechanisms do think tanks use to effectively engage with
policymakers, civil society and media?
Session Chair:
Framing the Issue by:
2 think tank executives are asked to frame the topic with key points in 5-7 minutes
Open Floor Discussion
3.45 pm – 5.15 pm – Session III: – Session IV: Meeting the Policy Challenge
What are the major policy challenges facing India both foreign and domestic? How are
regional and global trends impacting India and the region as a whole? How well equipped
are think tanks that are organized around academic disciplines to meet the complex
challenges faced by policymakers. In a world of driven by the “tyranny of academic
disciplines” is it possible to create Metrix Think Tanks with Inter-disciplinary research teams
or cross institutional collaboration to understand and help solve multidimensional policy
problems? What policy issues are not being properly addressed by policymakers and think
tanks in India?
Key discussion point: What must think tanks do help policymakers and the public make informed
decisions about key domestic and foreign policy issues.
Framing the Issue by:
2 think tank executives are asked to frame the topic with key points in 5-7 minutes
Open Floor Discussion
7.30 pm – 9.30 pm – DINNER
Venue TBC
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
10.00 am – 11.15 am -- Session V: Bridging the Gap Between Academics/Think Tanks and
Policy Makers
Inclusion of think tanks in the policy making process – how do think tanks contribute to
policy in other countries? How do they work with government and agencies for this? What
should the Indian government do to take advantage of the intellectual resources of think
11:30am--12:45pm -- Recommendations and Next Steps
The objective of this segment of the Program is to develop a concrete set of recommendations and a
plan of action flowing from the Summit. Specifically, each table will be asked to develop a set of
recommendations that will strengthen the capacity of think tanks to provide actionable, knowledgebased research which has a clear impact on policymaking. These recommendations might come in
the form of public and private funding initiatives to support innovative, evidence-based, policy
research, joint ventures between think tanks that would focus on the difficult policy choices that
India will face in the next decade, ways to effectively utilize the internet and social media, and
strategies to more deeply affect policy formation. The recommendations would be for 3 target
audiences’ public and private donors, policymakers and the think tank community in India.
12.45 – 2.00 pm – LUNCH
Closing Keynote Address
Closing Remarks
James McGann, Director, Think Tanks & Civil Societies Program,
University of Pennsylvania