The TTCSP was established at the
Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1989. It began with its focus on
think tanks in the US. In the 1990s, the program became increasingly global as a result of the political and economic transformation that took place in Central and Eastern Europe.R. Kent Weaver of the
Brookings Institution and James McGann of the Foreign Policy Research Institute were asked to help conceptualize what became the
Global Development Network, a
World Bank sponsored conference in
Barcelona, Spain. This resulted in the publication Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalysts for Ideas and Action in 2000. In 2008, the TTCSP moved to the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Global Go To Think Tank Index
McGann and the Program published the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index. As of 2010, the Index is based on a three-phase survey whose participants include politicians, scientists, think tank donors, and think tanks. However, this method of the study and assessment of policy institutes has been criticized by researchers such as Enrique Mendizabal and Goran Buldioski, Director of the Think Tank Fund, assisted by the
Open Society Institute.
In 2018, this Index listed US the country with the largest number of Think Tanks (1871), followed by India (509), China (507), UK (321), Argentina (227), Germany (218), Russia (215), France (203), Japan (128), Italy (114), Brazil (103), Canada (100), South Africa (93).