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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Think Tank Researcher

Think tanks are public policy research institutions. The research fields are varied, encompassing areas such as social policy, political strategy, the economy, the environment, science and technology and defence. 

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Think tanks

Role:

Think tank researchers influence public opinion and public policy. Think tanks are usually aligned with a particular positions on the political spectrum, including left, right, green, and liberal. Researchers are usually subject matter experts who write reports, briefs, and publications, organise events such as lectures, seminars and conferences, engage with the media, serve on task forces and submit to government committees.

Skills Required:

Things to Consider:

The possible range of areas of focus for a job in a think tank is very diverse since think tanks carry out research that concerns a variety of issues, social groups, industries and political parties.

There may be times when significant independent work is required, which may have to be very detailed and be required in a short space of time. In most cases political impartiality when working for a think tank is required. It is also worth considering that some think tanks may not be totally politically impartial. 

Some examples of think tanks and their issue areas are listed below:

Global Affairs, Security and Defence
-The International Institute for Strategic Studies
-Royal United Services Institute
-Chatham House: Royal Institute for International Affairs

The Economy
-The Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation
-Centre for Economic Policy and Research

Conservative think tanks
-Bow Group
-Centre for Policy Studies
-Adam Smith Institute

Left-wing think tanks
-Fabian Society
-Institute for Public Policy Research
-Twentieth Century Fund

Independent think tanks
-Demos
-The Social Market Foundation
-New Policy Institute

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Think tanks

Useful Links

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Indeed.co.uk- Jobs in think tanks

Photo of Jon Sopel
The best part of the job is being in places where you think a little bit of history is unfolding and you’re there watching it.

My course (and Southampton's careers service) has helped me enter the 'real world' with my head held high!

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