Think Tank Policy Engagement and Communications Program

The Challenge

Think tanks in the developing world produce critical research used to effect change in their societies, strengthen public policy debates and promote more objective, evidence-based decision-making. However their research can fail to have an impact if they do not communicate their findings in ways that are accessible, understandable and suitable for policymakers and civil society actors.

The Opportunity

To further support think tanks in heightening their policy voice and impact, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)’s Think Tank Initiative (TTI) has launched the Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) Program.

The program aims to strengthen think tanks’ policy engagement and communications capacity by providing think tanks with customized capacity development through ongoing mentorship support and opportunities for peer learning.  The four key objectives of the program involve supporting think tanks to:
  • Develop a better understanding of policy processes in specific contexts
  • Engage in knowledge brokering to ensure their work is both credible and useful to the intended audiences, and to help build coalitions and relationships with key networks
  • Contribute to the public debate to improve how they connect with and influence policy actors
  • Synthesize and package knowledge and evidence by translating research results into relevant and digestible content for varying audiences.

Our Work

R4D will coordinate and lead the PEC Program in Anglophone Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda) in collaboration with R4D Senior Fellow Raymond Struyk, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe-based firm CommsConsult, and consultant David Olson. The teams’ role is to provide the think tanks with customized support through ongoing peer learning, training and mentorship. The institutions will assess their needs and develop a work plan with mentors who have been chosen based on complimentary levels of experience and knowledge. The think tanks will also exchange ideas, practices and experiences with their peers to further adjust and improve their PEC strategies against their specific contexts.


Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda


International Development Research Centre



Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.