HKS research centers featured prominently in top think tank honors

Four Harvard Kennedy School research centers have been ranked among the best university-affiliated think tanks in the world, with the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs earning a special award for sustained excellence.

The recognition comes from the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute, which has ranked think tanks globally for more than a decade.

Along with the Belfer Center, the annual “Global Go To Think Tank Report” for 2019 cites the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Center for International Development, and the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government.

The Ash Center was ranked 10th in the category of transparency and good governance think tanks, and 29th among the best university think tanks in the world.

The Center for International Development was ranked 11th among top international development think tanks and 15th among university think tanks globally as well as in the top 100 among all think tanks in the United States.

And the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government was ranked in the top 50 university-affiliated think tanks in the world.

James G. McGann, director of the think tanks program, said the annual report introduced a new category this year to recognize any research center that has been No. 1 in its category for three consecutive years as a “center of excellence.” That center will be excluded from the rankings for the next three years, enabling more competition for the top slot.

The Belfer Center, repeatedly recognized in recent years as the best university-affiliated think tank in the world, was designated a “center of excellence” in that category. The Belfer Center joins other prestigious think tanks with sustained No. 1 ratings in their category, including the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Belfer Center also earned ratings in several other categories, including all think tanks in the United States, all think tanks worldwide, and in a new category for artificial intelligence research.

McGann said the 2019 rankings were derived from input from nearly 4,000 policymakers, regional and functional specialists, and journalists as well as representatives of the more than 8,000 think tanks around the world that are catalogued in the program’s database.

Media Contact
James F. Smith