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Think tanks in Berlin

Among the countries with the highest number of think tanks, Germany ranks sixth with 218 policy institutes. These are the ones you should know.

Nicholas Czichi-Welzer, 29.03.2019
Think tanks deliver expertise for policymakers
Think tanks deliver expertise for policymakers © dpa

Think tanks play an important role in everyday political life. They conduct research on selected policy issues and advise politicians. As a result, they form an interface between research and policy. It is only logical therefore that a large number of these institutes that also enjoy outstanding international reputations have primarily located in the capital city Berlin.

German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) advises political decision-makers on foreign and security policy. In 2015/16, the director of the foundation, Professor Volker Perthes, was Assistant Secretary General and Senior Advisor to the then UN Special Envoy on Syria. In 2013, in cooperation with the German Marshall Fund, the SWP published a strategy paper with recommendations on Germany’s foreign and security policy.

  • Year of foundation: 1962
  • Main focus: foreign and security policy
  • Think Tank Index ranking*: 21st place (worldwide)


Transparency International Deutschland (TI)

Transparency International is committed to the fight against corruption and publishes the annual global Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The Chairwoman of Transparency International Deutschland is the political scientist Edda Müller, who has held various public offices and campaigned for consumer rights. A central element of TI’s work involves voluntary working groups where ideas are exchanged and positions developed.

  • Year of foundation: 1993
  • Main focus: corruption
  • Think Tank Index ranking*: 53rd place (worldwide)


German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

The research institute of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) produces studies on foreign-policy subjects and sees itself as a consultant and developer of ideas. Its main emphases are security policy, the world economy, energy policy and migration. It employs over 30 foreign-policy experts in ten research programmes. DGAP publishes the journal IP – Internationale Politik.

  • Year of foundation: 1955
  • Main focus: foreign policy
  • Think Tank Index ranking*: 50th place (worldwide)


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin focuses on economic and social scientific relationships and is one of the leading economic research institutes in Germany. The monthly DIW Economic Barometer provides an important index on the development of the German economy. DIW President Marcel Fratzscher is one of Germany’s most influential economists

  • Year of foundation: 1925
  • Main focus: economics
  • Think Tank Index ranking*: 59th place (Western Europe)


* 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report by the University of Pennsylvania


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