Brief dossier on project 2015

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ABOUT THE PROJECT The research project was implemented by a consortium formed by Grupo FARO, ecuadorian think-and-do tank, and the Centro de Pol铆ticas Comparadas de Educaci贸n, research center of the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile with financial support from the International Development Research Center - IDRC, through its initiative the Think Tank Initiative

STUDY OBJECTIVES Improve understanding of the relationship between think tanks and universities in Latin America, produce evidence for the capacity building of public policy research, and provide lessons for effective collaboration between think tanks and universities in the region.

METHODOLOGY The project included nine qualitative studies in different countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, each addressing at least three case studies on the relationship between think tanks and universities; a regional qualitative and quantitative study (including webometric and bibliometric analyses to quantify links between both entities) on the production of knowledge in the region and the links between think tanks and universities.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The project is based on a systemic approach in which the "knowledge generation sector" is analyzed as an ecosystem in which different actors interact and coexist. It also considers the concept of "knowledge regimes" (Campbell and Pedersen) which is useful for understanding the supply side of social research and the main factors that determine the type of research units existing in each country.

COUNTRY STUDIES Argentina – Researcher: José Francisco Puello Socarrás Studied the Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC), Grupo Plan FÉNIX (GPF) and the Fundación de Investigaciones Sociales y Política Bolivia – Research Team: Werner L. Hernani-Limano, Katerine Saravia, Miguel Vera, with Natalia Peres (Fundación ARU) Studies Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-económicas (IISEC), Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas (IIE), Instituto de Estudios Avanzados en Desarrollo (INESAD), Fundación ARU, Fundación Milenio, Fundación Jubileo, and Instituto PRISMA. Brazil – Researcher: Leonardo Secchi and Letícia Elena Ito Studies Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (CEBRI), Instituto Fernando Henrique Carodoso, and Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA). Colombia – Researcher: Andrés Felipe Gómez Studies Fedesarrollo, CINEP, DeJusticia, and CorpoVisionarios. Chile – Research Team: Ángel Flisfisch, Maximiliano Prieto, Alejandro Siebert (FLACSO Chile) Studies Centro de Estudios Públicos, (CEP Chile), Libertad y Desarrollo, (LyD), Fundación Chile 21 (CH21) and Corporación de Estudios Para Latinoamerica (CIEPLAN). Guatemala - Researchers: Violeta Hernández and Ana Lucía Blas Studies Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales (ASIES), Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales (CIEN), and Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI). Paraguay – Research Team: Luis A. Galeano, Diana García, Ignacio González, Marcelo Mancuello (CADEP) Studies Centro para el Desarrollo de la Investigación Científica (CEDIC), Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Sociológicos (CPES), Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales y Sociales de Paraguay (INECIP), and Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP). Perú – Researcher: Raúl Hernández Asensio Studies Seminario Permanente de Investigación Agraria (SEPIA), Centro Bartolomé de las Casas (CBC), and Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP). Uruguay – Researcher: Pablo Landoni Studies CERES (Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Económica y Social), El Abrojo (Instituto de Educación Popular), Centro de Investigaciones Económicas (CINDE), and Centro Latinoamericano de Economía Humana (CLAEH).

Regional – Team: Adolfo GarcÊ and Camilo López Analyses the links between universities and think tanks from a regional perspective taking into consideration the results of country studies and webometric and bibiometric analyses. It also presents a context of knowledge generation and related indicators for the region.

CONSIDERATIONS Latin America has the enormous challenge of increasing its capacity to produce knowledge. Despite constituting 10% of the world population, the region produces only 2.3% of scientific knowledge that is globally generated. Raising the levels of knowledge production in all areas, not only has benefits for strengthening regional academic communities and technological innovation processes, but also contributes to the development of better public policies for the benefit of citizens. Nowadays, research is not only evaluated in terms of academic excellence and disciplinary consensus, but also in terms of practical application, effectiveness, and public relevance. Think tanks and universities are distinguished from other actors who also seek to influence public affairs (such as unions, lobbyists, activist networks, etc..) in that they think tanks and universities advocate policy change based on evidence from academic research. In the Latin America and the Caribbean there are 11,120 tertiary education providers, of which 3,518 are recognized as universities or equivalent institutions and there are also a total of 638 think tanks. Partnerships between these actors will enhance their ability to connect with international networks of knowledge generation and dissemination.

FINDINGS The link between think tanks and universities is weak. Relationships between these actors are de-institutionalized, informal, disjointed and based on the people. There is a conflict between different approaches: universities focus on the publication of theoretical research papers in indexed journals, think tanks want to generate applied research which is then published in short papers (policy briefs). Factors that promote collaboration: People in common Communication of research outputs and information Networks

Complementary capabilities Spaces and events for dialogue between both actors Lack of collaboration is due to: Scarce economic and human resources and competition for these Different focus: universities think themselves as educational entities and do not seek collaboration with think tanks Bureaucratic systems Scarce demand of research from policy makers, citizens and society Different markers for success: papers published in indexed journals, vs. public policy influence

RECOMMENDATIONS Establish maps of the field of knowledge production and data bases with a dense description of contents, links and relationships between topics, networks, circuits of knowledge production and trajectory of knowledge use and circulation. Develop public policy networks made up of all kinds of public, private, and voluntary organizations. Make the work of think tanks visible; in Latin America these institutions are still invisible, under estimated actors. Support initiatives oriented towards joint research efforts focused on the field of public policy applied research, a topic that is not perceived as relevant by many donors. Promote fiscal reform that generates incentives for donations from the private sector towards projects focused on public policy research. Generating somewhat institutionalized spaces that promote periodical meetings between think tanks and universities, as Public Integrated Forums which would gather think tanks, universities, media, policy makers and civil society. Create regional journals focused on public policy applied research. Create and strengthen training programs for public policy specialists in public and reflect on strategies to recapture the brain drain in the region. Continue demand stimulation and persevere in the construction of mechanisms that facilitate a link between researchers and policy makers. Promote meetings, organize seminars to discuss knowledge produced by both institutions, and promote “mixed” publications. Promote regional exchange of researchers in the public policy field. Create a regional Exchange program similar to the European ‘Erasmus”. For more information on the project and studies visit The digital book in Spanish is available for download at

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