Think Tanks in Europe and the US: Converging or Diverging?
The publication in October 2004 of two studies of the US and EU think tank sectors, the former by Professor James McGann for FPRI and the latter by Stephen Boucher for Notre Europe , highlighted converging trends on both sides of the Atlantic. As stressed by the Chairman of Notre Europe, Pascal Lamy, and its General Secretary, Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul, the conference held by Notre Europe on December 13, 2004 was intended to expand on these recent studies by discussing the specificities of European vs. American think tanks.
In his introduction, Stephen Boucher mentioned that the European think tank sector is characterized by a large number of organizations and researchers, scattered across Member States. He also emphasized the strong constraints that the sector is facing, in particular the tension between academic credibility and funding, as well as the challenge to be heard by the media and decision-makers. He argued that the potential of European think tanks will not be fulfilled unless they successfully manage the tension between academic credibility on the one hand, and the need to communicate effectively and to gain access to decision-makers on the other hand, in a context of increased competition between think tanks.