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So, you want to work with a think tank

Think tanks have interns and employees whose research, and sometimes campaigning too, may have a direct impact on political issues of the day. However, finding an internship or work with them is not an easy process. The purpose of this information is to give you some ideas and starting points.

Think tanks are ‘public-policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policy makers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.’


Things to consider

  1. Think tanks may function entirely independently, others have links to governments, private organisations, pressure groups, political parties or universities. Some think tanks are not politically neutral. This will affect the work they undertake. Consider what your thoughts are about working in this way and be clear about the political standpoint of any organisation.
  2. The publications, biographies of key people involved, political party links, and any information you can gather about sources of funding, will all provide additional information about the organisation.
  3. Most think tanks are small organisations and will only consider academically able people, preferably with a good research track record. Only a handful advertise placements, since speculative approaches are sufficient to fill any vacancies that they have; some do not offer internships at all.
  4. There are other organisations which may have roles requiring a similar set of interests and skills. These include campaigning organisations, charities, political parties, trade unions and government at local, regional, national and international levels.

An Alphabetical List of UK Think Tanks

(Comprehensive but not exhaustive)

C (no definitions) D (no definitions) E (no definitions) F (no definitions) G (no definitions) H (no definitions) I (no definitions) J (no definitions) K (no definitions) L (no definitions) M (no definitions)
N (no definitions) O (no definitions) P (no definitions) Q (no definitions) R (no definitions) S (no definitions) T (no definitions) U (no definitions) V (no definitions) W (no definitions) X (no definitions) Y (no definitions) Z (no definitions)


Adam Smith Institute

Describes itself as
‘works to promote libertarian and free market ideas through research, publishing, media commentary, and educational programmes.’

Areas of Interest
Tax, public sector. Free market, classical liberal, Thatcherite




Bow Group

Describes itself as
‘Exists to publish the research of its members, stimulate policy debate through an events programme and to provide an intellectual home to conservatives in the United Kingdom. Although firmly housed in the Conservative family, the Bow Group does not take a corporate view and it represents all strands of conservative opinion.’

Areas of Interest
Culture, media and sport; democracy; economic; energy and transport; foreign affairs and security; health; home affairs; social

Culture, Democracy, Economy/Business, Health, Military/Security, Social Issues

Bruges Group

Describes itself as
‘Set up in February 1989, its aim was to promote the idea of a less centralised European structure than that emerging in Brussels.’

Areas of Interest
Alternatives to the EU. All aspects of EU policy and their impact.