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2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report Launch 7 China’s Think Tanks listed among Top 100

Monday,Feb 26, 2018


Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (GGTTI) by the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania has released by more than 170 organizations around nearly 100 cities worldwide on January 30, 2018. Over 60 think tank presidents and senior vice presidents including the new presidents of the Brookings Institution, Center for New American Security and the Heritage Foundation also gathered in Washington, DC for the program. The synchronous activity was on stage in New York which Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attended.


The 2017 GGTTI marks the eleventh year of consistent efforts by the TTCSP at the University of Pennsylvania to acknowledge the important contribution and emerging global trends of think tanks globally.


The initial goal of the GGTTI report was a response to a series of requests to produce regional and international rankings of the world’s prominent think tanks. After steady development in over one decade, it has become the most influential ranking system of global think tanks. With an ongoing objectives for better understanding of the role think tanks play in governments and civil societies as well as the think tanks’ capacity improvement around the world, TTCSP has gained its world reputation among think tanks and been known as the hub of think tanks.


The launch activity in Beijing, held in Penn Wharton China Center (PWCC), co-hosted by Center for China and Globalization (CCG), is the first public release of the 2017 GGTTI report in China. Dr. James G. McGann, director of the TTCSP briefed the report of this year and sent his greeting to the audience through a video clip, and Dr. Gary Hua, Managing Director of PWCC delivered the opening remark. The report was introduced by Ms. Betty Yuping He, General Manager of PWCC.


There was also an eye-catching book launch by Dr. Wang Huiyao, President of CCG during the event. The book Global Think Tank, is the third book about global think tank research by Dr. Wang and Dr. Miao Lv, CCG Secretary General.


Dozens of prestigious representatives from China and Foreign think tanks participated the discussion session on the topic “why think tanks matter?” Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, director of the Asia Institute (ROK), Dr. Ding Yifan, senior fellow of the National Strategy Institute, Tsinghua University, Dr. Fang Jin, research fellow of Development Research Center of the State Council, Dr. Huang Jianhui, dean of the Research Institute of China Minsheng Bank, Dr. Huo Jianguo, former president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), Dr. Liu Qian, managing director of The Economist Group, Greater China and Dr. Zuo Chuanchang, the division chief in the Economic Research Institute of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission joined in the talk. CCG Secretary General Dr. Miao Lv hosted the discussion.


China Has the Second Largest Number of Think Tanks, With 7 of Them listed among World Top100


According to the 2017 GGTTI report, there are 7815 think tanks in today’s world, more than half of them are located in the North America and Europe. While during the recent decade, the growing trend of think tanks in western countries has stagnated, correspondingly, developing regions, especially Asia has witnessed a boom. Nowadays, the number of think tank in Asia is 1676, ranks after Europe with 2045 and the North America with 1972 think tanks.


The U.S. is still in dominant place with an out-of-reach number of 1872. Countries rank from 2nd to 10th are China (512), India (444), U.K. (311), Argentina (225), Germany (214), France (197), Japan (116), Russia (103) and Canada (100).


Ranking Country Number of Think Tanks
1 United States 1872
2 China 512
3 India 444
4 United Kingdom 311
5 Argentina 225
6 Germany 214
7 France 197
8 Japan 116
9  Russia 103
10 Canada 100


High-end think tanks according to the GGTTI see no big change on their rankings in 2017. Top10 think tanks in this planet are almost from the American and European countries. The first, third and fifth place are taken by US think tanks Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and CSIS respectively while French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and the Belgian Bruegel claim hold the second and fourth positions.


Think Tank Ranking
Brooking Institution(US) 1
French Institue of International Relations(France) 2
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace(US) 3
Bruegel(Belgium) 4
Center for Strategic and International Studies(US) 5
Chatham House(UK) 6
Fundacao Getulio Vargas(FGV)(Brazil) 7
Heritage Foundation(US) 8
RAND Corporation(US) 9
International Institute for Strategic Studies(UK) 10


It is worth mentioning that China, as a developing country, owns the second largest bloc of think tanks. What’s more, 7 Chinese leading think tanks are among the top 100 globally, which means that Chinese think tanks are catching up with their world-class counterparts. As the No.1 Chinese think tank of the year, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) ranks 29th worldwide. Meanwhile, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), the only Chinese independent think tank among top 100 has made a historic record and finished as the 91st among the top 100 worldwide.




Think Tank Ranking


1 China Institute of Contemporary International Relations(CICIR) 29
2 Chinese Academy of Soicial Science(CASS) 38
3 China Institute of Internatioanl Studies(CIIS) 49
4 Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC) 57
5 Institute of International and Strategy Studies (IISS) 78
6 Center for China and Globalization (CCG) 91
7 Shanghai Institute of Internaitonal Studies (SIIS) 93


Chinese Bloc Takes Up More Than 1/4 of the Top Think Tanks in Asian Major Powers including China, India, Japan and ROK


The 2017 GGTTI report also has a table of Top 90 Think Tanks from China, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea, of which 27 Chinese think tanks are on the list.


Think Tank(China, India, Japan and ROK) Ranking
Korea Development Institue (KDI)(ROK) 1
Japan Institute of Internatioanl Affairs(JIIA)(Japan) 2
Korea Institute for Internatioanl Economic Policy(KIEP)(ROK) 3
China Institute of Contemporary International Relations(CICIR)(China) 4
Observer Research Foundation(ORF)(India) 5
IDE-JETRO(Japan) 6
Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA)(India) 7
China Institute of International Studies(CIIS)(China) 8
National Institute for Defense Studeis(NIDS)(Japan) 9
Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)(China) 10


Chinese Think Tanks rank among the Best Think Tanks by Special Achievement

TTCSP also makes several ranking tables on a special achievement basis. As for the Best Think Tanks Affiliated to Government, 7 Chinese think tanks are included. China Institute of Contemporary International Relations(CICIR), the No.1 in China, ranks the 6th globally.



Think Tank Ranking(Global)
1 China Institute of Contemporary International Relations(CICIR) 6
2 China Institute of International Studies(CIIS) 9
3 Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC) 14
4 Chinese Academy of Soicial Science(CASS) 17
5 Shanghai Institute of International Studies(SIIS) 43
6 Industrial Technology Research Institute(ITRI)(Taiwan,China) 53
7 International Institute for Strategic Studies, Party School 67


The Best Think Tanks Affiliated to University rankings are in parallel with the rankings of the universities, as institutions from the U.S. and the U.K. hold an overwhelming lead. Nevertheless, 6 Chinese names are on the Top 90, with 5 of them are affiliated to the country’s best 2 universities, Tsinghua, and Peking.


Think Tank Ranking(Global)
1 Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS), Peking University


2 Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy 15
3 Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (BTC) 17
4 Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China 37
5 Center for China Studies, Tsinghua University 51
6 National School of Development, Peking University 83



The rapid developement of independent think tanks has shaped the landmark of global idea industry. In this respect, Chinese think tanks have a late-mover advantage to follow the good examples of its international peers. This year, 5 Chinese independent think tanks are regarded as the world-class think tanks. Particularly Center for China and Globalization (CCG), the best in China, ranks the 36th worldwide.


Think Tank Ranking(Global)
1 Center for China and Globalizaiton (CCG) 36
2 Unirule Institute of Economic 100
3 Civil Exchange (Hong Kong) 103
4 China Reform Foundation 110
5 Institute for Applied International Trade (IAIT) 115


As a special part, GGTTI report includes a Think Tank to Watch ranking to have a outlook of the new year. According to the report, the most promising think tank to watch in 2018 is Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) from Italy. On the China’s side, 5 think tanks has caught the international attention. Center for China and Globalization (CCG) got the highest ranking in Chinese bloc, and Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) is next to CCG.


Think Tank Ranking(Global)
1 Center for China and Globalizaiton (CCG) 20
2 Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) 38
3 Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies,

Renmin University of China

4 China Center for International Economic Exchange (CCIEE) 91
5 Our Hong Kong Foundation (Hong Kong) 104


Furthermore, there are a series of think tank rankings by research fields as well as operation and management. Chinese think tanks have good performances among the fields of foreign policy and international affairs, domestic economic policy, international economic, environment policy and so on. At the same time, the names of Chinese think tanks are on the tables such as Think Tanks with Outstanding Policy-Oriented Research Programs Table, Best Use of Media (Print or Electronic) Table as well as Think Tanks with the Best Use of the Internet Table.


TTCSP is committed to increasing the quality and representativeness of the Index every year, and Dr. James G. McGann in charge of this program, is calling for efforts to make for two imperative issues including the sustainability of think tanks in Africa and other regions and the looming food and water crisis.


Fortunately, think tank has becoming quick responders to the crises, while Chinese contributions could also be found in the report. Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science and Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning of CAAS are on the list of Food Security Think Tanks. Besides, Asian International Rivers Center of Yunnan University, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research as well as Research Institute for Water Security (RIWS) of Wuhan University are listed out among Water Security Think Tanks.

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