Two Pakistani think-tanks ranked in global top 20

Among 211 South Asian think-tanks included in the ‘2014 Global Go-to Think-Tank Index’, only two — the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, have made it to the top 20.
The index was released at the University of Pennsylvania under The Think-Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) on Thursday and included 6681 think-tanks from around the world.
192 think-tanks from India and 19 from Pakistan were included in the index however, among these 211 only two Pakistani think-tanks had the distinction of being in the top 20. Pakistan Institute of International Affairs was at 16 while SDPI was at number 19.
SDPI was ranked at 38 for being trans-disciplinary and 55 in the list of think-tanks to be watched in the future for policy reviews.
The index was launched globally and SDPI was part of the launch along with over 60 other think-tanks, inter-governmental organizations and media outlets in more than 55 cities around the world.
SDPI organised a roundtable conference to mark the occasion, attended by academicians from public and private universities, development practitioners and senior executives from the corporate sector.
Speaking at the roundtable conference, former ambassador and SDPI Board of Governors Chairman Shafqat Kakakhel attributed the SDPI’s high ranking to its independent and credible research.
He said that think-tanks play a primary role in the socio-economic development of a country by producing knowledge for decision-makers.
Mr Kakakhel said that in terms of quality of publication and policy influence among all the South Asian think-tanks only SDPIs study “Food Security in Pakistan: Policy Options” authored by Shakeel Ramay was ranked high at 30 globally.
Mr Ramay, also speaking at the roundtable, highlighted the importance of the methodology adopted in his study which made it a piece of quality research.
Participants at the roundtable were also informed that SDPI was the only think-tank among the 19 considered from Pakistan which was judged to be contributing towards developing the skills of young researchers.
It was highlighted that even universities in Pakistan are failing to realise the role of young researchers and there is need to improve linkages between think-tanks and universities for the larger interest of policy making.
Marvi Sirmed from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said greater collaboration between parliamentarians and academic institutes can contribute towards the development of a mechanism for policy research.
Those who participated in the discussion also included SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri, , Professor Dr Asad Zaman, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Vice Chancellor Dr Iftikhar N. Hassan, Professor, Z. A Qureshi, Seemi Kemal, Member National Assembly (MNA) Romina Khurshid Alam.
Source: DAWN
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