The North-South Institute ranked world’s best small think tank

The North-South Institute (NSI, one of the three national focal points of Social Watch in Canada) has been ranked the world’s top small think tank, according to the 2011 Global Go-To Think Tanks Index – in the under $5 million annual budget category.

The index was released last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Later in the day, in New York, the United Nations University held an in-depth session on the index and its rankings.

“I’m delighted,” said NSI President Joseph Ingram about the high ranking. “NSI is Canada’s oldest independent policy research institution specializing in international development and this recognition is important. I heartily congratulate the NSI staff for their efforts that made it possible.”

Ingram believes NSI earned its ranking because it engages with both domestic and foreign policy-makers and is scaling-up its research programs through strategic partnerships with think tanks in Canada, the emerging economies, the U.S. and Europe.

In Ottawa, NSI collaborates with its two main funders, the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre, as well as with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Aga Khan Foundation, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

It also runs an active internship program and visiting scholar program to bring in different perspectives on economic and social issues and provide opportunities to young Canadians.

“It is also about impact,” said Ingram, “from our leading-edge work on a financial transactions tax, our expertise on the governance of natural resources, testimony before the Canadian Senate committee on Latin American relations, to our work on the role of women in the development process and a recent address to the United Nations Human Rights Council, our research is making a positive difference.”

The index results are encouraging as the organization continues to build on its achievements by tightening its research focus to concentrate on the world’s low-income countries, working with government to provide Canadians with more accessible data on development, while maintaining a lean management structure meant to enhance and quicken the flow of research.

“In the future,” Ingram added, “given the global complexity of the challenges we face, we will focus even more on ensuring an interdisciplinary approach in our research.”

The Global Go-To Think Tanks Index has been produced annually since 2006. It is led by Dr. James McGann of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. The category of Best Think Tanks with Annual Operating Budgets of Less than $5 million USD was newly introduced this year to recognize the successes of smaller organizations that are often overshadowed by those many times their size.

Amongst over 6,000 participating think tanks, NSI was also ranked 6th in the regional category of think tanks in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, 18th in the world’s top thirty development think tanks, and 37th in the category of think tanks with the greatest impact on public policy.

More information
Global Go-To Think Tanks Index:
Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (University of Pennsylvania):
The North-South Institute:
The Globe and Mail: