Think Tank Awards: Results 2018

Press quote (Prospect)
02 September 2018

And the winner this year stood out as uniquely timely in this hour for its determination to keep the Brexit debate grounded in analysis and fact rather than emotion and bluster. That think tank was the Centre for European Reform.

The global landscape is riven by fracturing alliances and waning friendships. The post-war international architecture is under threat, and the spirit of multilateralism is in decline. We have the White House picking trade wars with a rising, insular China, as an enfeebled EU looks on. Brexit is a particularly poignant example of the old order unravelling.

In such mercurial, and sometimes frightening times, fraught international relations can soon descend from the high politics of diplomacy, which a few think tanks specialise in, to the day-to-day grind and graft of domestic public policy, which occupies the great bulk of them. From the geopolitical drama of Brexit one day, to worrying about new technologies that might speed up customs checks on dairy products at the Irish border, the next.

All of this ensures that think tanks everywhere have much work to do. And this year, for the first time, in appraising their work, Prospect took entries from right around the world. This made for the largest ever awards ceremony, with the results adjudicated by a stellar panel of judges including diplomats, journalists and scholars. In recognition of what the best think tanks do for the public realm, we’ve also introduced new tie-break criteria—so that, in the case of two tanks being closely matched on points, a strong record on transparency in funding or in training the next generation of researchers can be taken into account.