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Bert Fraussen wins the Harold D. Lasswell Prize

With the publication "Think tanks and strategic policy-making: the contribution of think tanks to policy advisory systems", Bert Fraussen, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Administration, has won the Harold D. Lasswell Prize.

This prize is awarded annually by the international journal Policy Sciences to a publication that makes an important contribution to the theory and practice of policy sciences. He wrote this article together with Darren Halpin, Professor at the Australian National University.

The article focuses on the potential of think tanks to contribute to strategic policy making. The authors argue that three things are crucial in this regard: sufficient research capacity, a high degree of autonomy, and a long-term horizon. An analysis of the strategic policy capacity of prominent think tanks in Australia shows that they enjoy considerable flexibility in determining their policy agenda, especially compared to other political organizations such as interest groups and political parties. This enables them to act in a proactive fashion  and to focus more strongly on future policy challenges. At the same time there are major differences in research capacity. Therefore, not all think tanks can fulfill their potential as  strategic partner in policy making.

Think thanks
"Darren and I noticed that more and more think tanks are appearing on the political scene in various countries, which raises the question what makes these organizations so valuable. In the article we connect this question with the need of policy makers to collaborate with (external) partners who can think strategically about future policy challenges , such as think tanks but also interest groups and individual experts. We are very pleased with this recognition, especially because this article links scientific research on think tanks with important themes in public governance. Consider, for example, the increasing extent to which policymakers depend on external expertise, and the importance of a long-term vision to systematically address  major societal challenges such as population ageing and climate change."

Harold D. Laswell
The prize is a tribute to Harold D. Laswell (1902-1978), who is regarded as one of the most influential and ground-breaking  political scientists. He was one of the founders of the policy sciences and co-founder of the journal Policy Sciences.

Read the article “Think tanks and strategic policy-making: the contribution of think tanks to policy advisory systems” here.


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