Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Final report of the external evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative

Research reports

Written by John Young, David Walker, Fletcher Tembo, Maren Duvendack

Research reports

​​The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and ODI’s Research and Policy in Development Programme (RAPID) have completed an evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) - a multi-donor programme dedicated to strengthening the capacity of independent policy research organisations in the developing world. The initiative provides core funding and capacity building to enable think tanks to better effect positive change in their societies. This external evaluation of the TTI looked at Phase 1 of the initiative to:
  • Evaluate the programme concept and design
  • Assess the implementation of the programme
  • Determine the intermediate outcomes and impact
  • Provide suggestions for improving the design of Phase 2 of the initiative

The evaluation drew on project documentation, stories of change, the TTI monitoring and evaluation database, and interviews and workshops with grantees and other stakeholders in eight countries in Latin America, East and West Africa and South Asia.

The findings showed the TTI theory of change to be robust and well-rooted in scientific and practical knowledge about the role of think tanks, and found substantial evidence of impact at the level of individual think tanks and some evidence of impact at country level. The evaluators recommend greater emphasis on the TTI itself operating like a think tank, by making proactive use of its emerging learning and developing a proactive engagement strategy to develop links with other supporters of international policy research. Many of the recommendations have already been embedded within Phase 2 of the Programme.

ECDPM assists with the implementation of international cooperation policies, organises policy dialogues, provides tailor-made analysis and advice and has a strong track record in evaluating policy impact. 

John Young, Volker Hauke, Paul Engel