Sunday, 15 February 2015

Aditi Bulletin Issue 1


Dr. Jai Asundi
Principal Research Scientist, CSTEP

It is hard to believe that Aditi is almost one year old! It is a proud moment indeed for us to see that Aditi has been well received by the community, and is coming into its stride as it enters its second year (baby steps notwithstanding). As the proud “parents” we would like to believe that Aditi has a bright future as it continues to engage its audience and stay relevant in the years to come.

Aditi was conceived with the idea of creating a platform where matters concerning the viability, success and sustenance of Think Tanks could be discussed in an open and collegial manner. To highlight the importance of policy research and strengthen its practice as we improve the perception of Think Tanks among various stakeholders. While the heads of various institutions get a chance to discuss these issues at various local, regional and international meetings, we believed that opening up this discussion to a broader set of participants was much needed. It was hoped that this platform would allow for  free flow of ideas and let all researchers become aware of the issues associated with running a Think Tank. Wouldn't it be wonderful to discover that a Think Tank in India learned from a particular initiative at a Think Tank in South America or Africa and vice-versa? And that this learning came from a researcher within the organisation looking globally for best or innovative practices?

Think Tanks in the developing world face a number of challenges - be it, primary research quality or the day-to-day operational issues associated with running a fund-constrained institution or even being able to engage with and create policy impact in their respective environments. Highlighting the importance of policy research and strengthening it as a discipline is a collective responsibility that we all must bear. 

Through Aditi, we explored a range of subjects and were happy to get contributions from all corners of the world. The manner in which the larger community came together and participated in the dialogue was heartening. It impressed on us that there is a need for a platform of this type where knowledge on matters not usually discussed can be shared. 

A grant from IDRC’s Think Tank Initiative program was instrumental in conceiving and giving birth to Aditi and we are grateful for their support. In the next phase, Aditi will undergo a number of changes that will (hopefully) make it more interactive and reader-friendly. For one Aditi will become a purely web-based publication which will allow individual articles to be shared and cross-referenced. It will also include multi-media content such as interviews in audio/video form. A moderated area for discussions will also be enabled. 

From the perspective of content, we start with the issue of fund-raising and philanthropy. We will also explore more operational issues with respect to Think Tanks and a discussion of the challenges faced by them. In coming issues we will take up matters related to operations as well as communications and policy engagement. I look forward to contributions from you – not just written articles but also audio/video presentations. 

Aditi is growing up and transforming. This is “our” platform and I hope you will join us in shaping it to become the go-to place for Think Tank related discussions. I look forward to your continued support.


Random Personal Musings of a Senior Program Officer, TTI
Dr. Samar Verma, Senior Program Officer, IDRC

Domestic Think Tank Funding: what can foreign donors do?
Enrique Mendizabal, Founder, Director, On Think Tanks

Community Speak: Funding Concerns
Arushi Sen, Media Coordinator, CSTEP

Recipe for Writing a Winning Funding Proposal
Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head, CPE, CSTEP and Bhawna Welturkar, Graphic Designer, CSTEP

Sketch by Bhawna Welturkar, Graphic Designer, CSTEP

Interview with Ruth Levine

Interview with Dr. Khalida Ghaus

Interview with Rohini Nilekani

Book Review

Revealing Indian Philanthropy
Reviewed by Dr. Sujatha Byravan, Advisor, CSTEP

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