Regional Think Tanks in the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index

8 m.   |  2020-02-14

O n January 27, 2020, the University of Pennsylvania published the regular 14th report on “2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index” within the framework of think tanks and civil societies programs. Before launching the nomination and selection process of the 2019 global report, the team conducted new extensive research by updating their own database of Think Tanks worldwide. There were also recommendations by experts and research institutions from different countries, which were taken into consideration when preparing the report. 

Based on the study, there are 8248 Think Tanks in the world, operating in European (2219), North American (2058), Asian (1829), South and Central American (1023), Sub-Saharan African (612), Middle Eastern and North African (507) countries. The U.S. (1871) occupies top of the list when it comes to the most numerous think tanks, followed by India (509), China (507), Great Britain (321), Argentina (227), Germany (218), Russia (215), France (203), Japan (128) and Italy (114). 

Iran (64) is leading in the number of think tanks in the Caucasus’s immediate region and then followed Turkey (48), Georgia (35) and Azerbaijan (16).

A ccording to the report, there are 30 think tanks operating in Armenia. Due to the report not providing a list of the centers, it’s impossible to find out which of the institutions were specifically considered as “think tanks” in Armenia and the region per se. Many think tanks have had only formal or short periods of intense activity in their domain, after which they became passive or ceased and possibly shut down [1].

Armenia is represented by 10 institutions within the category of best think tanks in Central Asia: 

  1. Armenian Center for National and International Studies, (ACNIS) in the 8th place
  2. Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC) in the 11th place,
  3. Advanced Social Technologies (AST) in the 12th place,
  4. Civil Society Institute (CSI) in the 24th place,
  5. Institute of Public Policy in the 27th place,
  6. Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis (TCPA) in the 29th place,
  7. Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) in the 32nd place,
  8. Armenian State University of Economics “Amberd” Research Center in the 59th place,
  9. Economic Development and Research Center (EDRC) in the 61st place,
  10. Noravank Foundation in the 63rd place.

Furthermore, the Armenian Analytical Institutions were included in other categories as well. Armenian Center for National and International Studies has been included in the category of the Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks, occupying the 106th place. 

Economic Development and Research Center is among the Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks (144the place).

International Center for Human Development (ICHD) was nominated for the Top Transparency and Good Governance Think Tank at (27th place), Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation was among the Best Advocacy Campaigns which got (60th place) and Armenian International Policy Research Group was among the Best Independent Think Tanks which received (28th place).

ASUE Amberd Research Center has been nominated for the Best University Affiliated Think Tank occupying 94th place. In the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index the researchers have presented the best research published by Think Tanks in different countries as an innovation. Studies published by Armenian Analytical Centers include articles by Amberd Research Center titled “On Armenian Track Ⅱ Diplomacy issues” and “How to Improve the RA Universities’ Positions in Ranking Reports”.

Researchers included Compass research, training and consultancy center NGO (99th place) among the Think Tanks worth keeping an eye on. Orbeli Analytical-Research Center was also included in the list of about 50 Best New Think Tanks, without ranking (p. 187).

Along with Armenia, think tanks in Georgia and Azerbaijan are also included in the Central Asian zone, though with some exceptions. For instance, several Georgian think tanks occupied various positions on the list of leading Central and Easter European Think Tanks.


  1. Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD)
  2. Institute for Policy Studies (IPS),
  3. New Economic School (NESG),
  4. Strategic Research Center (SRC),
  5. Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC),
  6. South-Caucasus Institute of Regional Security (SCIRS),
  7. Georgian Research and Educational Networking Association (GRENA),
  8. Liberty Institute,
  9. Partnership for Social Initiatives (PSI),
  10. Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS),
  11. ISET Policy Institute,
  12. PMC Research Center.


  1. Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD),
  2. Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC),
  3. Free Minds Association (FMA),
  4. Economic Research Center (ERC),
  5. Entrepreneurship Development Foundation (EDF),
  6. Center for Strategic Studies (SAM),
  7. Institute for Scientific Research on Economic Reforms,
  8. Center for Analyses of Economic Reforms and Communication,
  9. Public Finance Monitoring Center (PMFMC),
  10. National Budget Group (NBG),
  11. Azerbaijan Think Tank Alliance (ATTA):

T he best Think Tanks in Turkey as well as in Iran are included mainly in the category of Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa. A number of institutions have been ranked in different categories according to the direction they take as a think tank have undertaken. The same centers are included in a number of different categories. For instance, Turkish quasi-governmental Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) received Top Defense and National Security Think Tank, Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tank, Top International Economics Policy Think Tank, Best Managed Think Tank as well as Top Think Tank with Annual Operating Budgets of Less Than $5 Million USD.

Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) ranked 78th and Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) ranked 89th among the Top Think Tanks Worldwide.

In other categories, Turkey is represented with the following institutions: Center for Economic, Political and Strategic Research (TESAM) and International Strategic Analysis and Research Center (USTAD) in the field of Defense and National Security, Istanbul Policy Center and non-for-profit Education Reform Initiative (ERI) in the field of Education, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV)Global Relations Forum and International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) in the field of Foreign Policy and International Affairs.

Trakya Agricultural Research Institute Directorate has its place in the field of Food Security, Center for Strategic Research (SAM) of Turkish MFA was awarded the best State Research Center, Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) as best political party and Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) office in Turkey was recognized among the Best Think Tank Conference.

Bahcesehir University Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM) took (61st place) and Istanbul Kültür University for Global Political Trends Center at (70th place) and are included in the category of Best University Affiliated Think Tanks. Another two Turkish institutions, European Stability Initiative (ESI) and Al Sharq Forum included in the list of Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa weren’t found in other categories.

S even Think Tanks in Iran representing the country in similar research categories, only Ravand Institute for Economic and International Studies appeared in the list of Top Think Tanks Worldwide, occupying 147th place. Three research centers, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran and National Nutrition & Food Technology Research Institute were ranked in the list of Top Food Security Think Tanks. Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA) was ranked in Top Environment Policy Think Tanks. Referring to Institute Francais de Recherche en Iran (IFRI) and Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), they are ranked in the list of Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa.

The research is not free from shortcomings. For instance, the Center for Strategic Research (SAM) under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which was included among the Top Think Tanks Worldwide, was liquidated in January 2019, by Aliyev’s decree.

The same can be said for one of the leading Think Tanks in Turkey at a time, a liberal-minded International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), which was closed within the framework of the Turkish authorities' fight against Gülenists.  

 [1] Atoyan, V., (2019), Think Tanks. The Smithies of Strategic Ideas // “Zangak” Publishing House, p. 175