The United Nations University (UNU) currently ranks 6th among the world’s “Best Government-Affiliated Think Tanks”, and its World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) ranks 6th among the global “Top-Thirty International Development Think Tanks”.
These rankings are from the 2011 Global Go-To Think Tanks Report (an annual report produced by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania). The 2011 report, launched on 18 January 2012 in events at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, comprises of the results of the 2011 rankings as well as a summary of the major trends and issues with respect to think tanks worldwide.
The 2011 rankings are based on a survey of 6,545 think tanks from 182 countries as well as some 1,500 policy makers, journalists, and regional and subject-area experts from 120 countries. Expert panels of almost 800 members from around the world — spanning the political spectrum and drawing from a wide variety of disciplines and sectors — subsequently worked to refine and validate the ranking lists.
Given the rigour and scope of the process, the Global Go-To Think Tanks Report has been described as “the insider’s guide to the global marketplace of ideas”.
The 2011 rankings are distilled from a universe of 5,329 nominated think tanks from around the world.
The United Nations University was ranked as number 6 in the “Best Government-Affiliated Think Tanks” category and, through its institute UNU-WIDER in Finland, as number 6 in the “Top-Thirty International Development Think Tanks” category — two of 31 functional and regional categories covered by the 2011 report.
UNU’s number 6 rankings are one-slot advances from the rankings of the 2010 Global Go-To Think Tanks Report, when UNU and UNU-WIDER were both ranked 7th in their respective categories.
“We are very pleased that the work of the United Nations University has again been evaluated so positively”, commented Prof. Dr. Konrad Osterwalder, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Rector of UNU. “Although such listings must be taken with a grain of salt, I believe our sixth-place rank confirms the success of UNU’s continuing efforts as an academic and research organization within the United Nations, and our role as a bridge between the United Nations system and the international academic and policy-making communities.”
Prof. Finn Tarp, Director of the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (one of the global UNU system of 15 institutes and programmes in 13 countries) also welcomed the new ranking: “We highly appreciate the continued recognition of our work. UNU-WIDER strives to be a high-quality, policy-oriented research and capacity building institution, dedicated to achieving the central goals of the United Nations system, including poverty reduction and sustainable and equitable development.”