The full results of Prospect's annual awardsby Prospect Team / June 30, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
Resolution Foundation being presented the UK Social Policy Award by Prospect’s Editor Bronwen Maddox The 15th annual Think Tank Awards were held at the Institute of Directors. It has been an exceptional 12 months for policy specialists everywhere and has been characterised by some of the most profound policy challenges of recent times, including the Greek debt crisis, the rise of Islamic State and the continued economic weakness that is the legacy of the financial crisis. These issues were among those confronted by think tanks over the last year, and the entries submitted to our judges showed an impressive range of innovative analysis and policy suggestions on these and many other issues. US think tanks US Economic and Financial Award Peterson Institute Bipartisan Policy Center Reason WINNER: Bipartisan Policy Center The Peterson Institute for International Economics is well known for its work on debt and fiscal management. More recently it has worked on trade, helping to shape the debate on Washington on this and other international issues, and one judge stressed the effectiveness of the Peterson in these areas. Another comment was that “its work on labour market slack has been influential inside the Fed and other economic bodies.” Its work over the last year was described as “fascinating”. The think tank Reason, which focuses on local, not federal government policy making, was complimented for its work on pensions which was dubbed “hard-headed,” by one judge. Another judge praised its work on infrastructure. Though its association with the left wing of US politics can restrict the breadth of its appeal, judges commented that its work deserved wider recognition. But this year’s winner was the Bipartisan Policy Center, a smaller think tank whose sharp focus on the question of financial regulation stood out for judges. The organisation “deserves huge credit for the way that it has defined its mission,” commented one judge, adding that “untangling the process of regulatory reform is a very difficult task since these processes are fiendishly complex.” The “veritable army” of well-funded industry lobbyists in Washington makes the Center’s work all the more important, said another, and the importance of its work, combined with the precision of its focus, judges agreed, made them worthy winners in this category. US Social Policy Award Brookings Institution RAND New America WINNER: New America The Brookings Institution, in the words of one judge, “takes on the world’s most stubborn problems: class inequality, gender and race prejudice,” and does so with a line-up of thinkers which is “unequalled in the world.” The RAND Corporation has done strong work this year on prisoner rehabilitation and the role of education for inmates. It is to be welcomed, commented one judge that RAND has moved on from its role of being “the scary incubator of Mutually Assured Destruction theory.” But the winner this year was New America, a think tank whose work was called “ambitious,” and “wide-reaching,” ranging from analysis of American families to higher education reform. It is “not afraid to challenge cherished American notions of class mobility,” a judge commented, “and has been becoming more and more visible on the international stage.” US Energy and the Environment Award RAND Corporation Brookings World Resources Institute WINNER: RAND Corporation The Brookings Institution was shortlisted this year for its work on energy, on which it continues to be at the heart of the Washington debate. The World Resources Institute was also shortlisted—its “Global Forest Watch” platform has proved so effective that it is now used by the Government of Indonesia to track illegal loggers. But the winner this year was the RAND Corporation, which was commended for its work on the immense problem of China’s chronic air pollution. “The economic scale of the challenge as set out is sobering,” commented one judge and for this reason the RAND was found to be a worthy winner. International Affairs Award Migration Policy Institute Brookings Carnegie Endowment for International Peace WINNER: Brookings The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace remains “one of the most respected of all U.S. think tanks” said one judge, adding that, “with former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns as its new leader, Carnegie promises to remain in the forefront of the discussion of US foreign policy.” The Migration Policy Institute “has become an important DC player,” according to one judge, who pointed to a combination of strong leadership and a well-realised range of subject-matter in its area of focus. But the winner this year was the Brookings Institution, a think tank whose work, and its breadth and depth, was called “continually impressive,” by one judge. It was also noted that: “The rigour of its research, the expertise of its many scholars and its role as a setting for keynote presentations by major policymakers put it in the top tier of think tanks around the world.” It is hardly unknown, but all the same has resisted the lack of focus or originality that can afflict the biggest think tanks.