How to find a job in a think tanks in Europe ?

A think tank is firstly a research or policy institute that gathers scientists, former policy makers and academia to perform research or advocacy regarding most important issues that our societies are facing. Usually tackles in topics such as: policy, politics, sociology, economics, business, strategy, military, technology, IT, privacy or culture. Most think tanks are established as a non-profit organization, but in practice there might be a governmental policy institutes, or a think tanks formed by an international organization. In countries like Canada or the USA, the governments provide a tax exemption when a subject or a firm finances those kind of institutes. Some of the think tanks performs its work based on market principles, and therefore derive revenue from its advices or policy proposes, so they cannot be linked to the categories mentioned above.

Intern at a think tank

Being an intern at a think tank will enhance your career prospect if you are interested in working in the areas covered by the specific think tank where you are aiming to do your internship. Most of the think tanks offer internship thought the year, so you will not be dependent on UN rosters or EU internship scheme that usually takes months to be concluded in case you are interested in working in international organization. You will also have a starting salary that can cover your accommodation/living costs, which means a lot for a young student just finishing a degree. Among the advantages, the most prominent one is that internship at think tank guarantees you to establish contact with people of interests (politicians, academia, scientists and other important people) along with building a strong colleagues network, which will provide you with ideas and possibilities in your professional life.

Another gain from working at a think tank is the working hours. Namely, many think tanks offers flexible working hours and work from home, which allows you to save money and develop creativity. Also, it will give you a lot of time to apply and consider different options for your future career after you are done with your internship. But the best advantage when it comes to working for a think tank is the possibility to participate in something bigger than yourself and be a part of the society’s elite, in creation of original ideas, thoughts and articles not yet known to the general public.

The quality of your experience would depend by the quality of the think tank where you are intern. That is why it is important that you apply for the best think tanks existing. That is why we offer links to the most prominent think tanks and research institutes in the area of the EU external action and the EU role globally:

  • European Union Institute for Security Studies was created by the EU in 2002. Albeit intellectually it is independent body, it operates under the umbrella of the EU, under the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Main office is in Paris, but it has sub-office located in Brussels.
  • ARENA Centre for European Studies works under the umbrella of University in Oslo, focusing on governance in European politics.  
  • Bruegel is Brussels based think tank in the area of macroeconomics, international trade and trade integrations.
  • Carnegie Europe is a valuable research institute for European foreign policy analysis on topics ranging from Turkey to the Middle East and the Eastern neighborhood to security and defense. It has offices in Brussels, Moscow, New Delhi, Beirut and Beijing.
  • Centre for Applied Policy Research (CAP) operates under the University of Munich with a main interest in European integration.
  • University of Bonn has its own think tank – Center for European Integration Studies, which focus on the global role of the EU and further European integration.
  • Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) is leading research institution in Brssels focusing on wide range of EU policies.
  • CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research is an international think tank in the field of economics, based in Warsaw. It focusses on policy-making the economic welfare of societies.
  • Centre for European Reform (CER) is an independent think tank focusing on international affairs that might not be pro-EU. It is based in London.
  • Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER) tackles issues related to international law and EU legal matters, coherence and consistency of the EU external policy making process. It is based in The Hague.
  • The Cicero Foundation was founded in Maastricht in 1992. It hosts independent scientists around Europe. It operates as an independent Dutch nonprofit organisation and think tank whose aim it is to provide research to support EU integration and NATO.
  • The Hague based – Clingendael Institute focus is on issues like economic diplomacy, international security and conflict management from Dutch perspective. It offers interesting views and publications on European and global issues.
  • CONCORD is a Brussels based think tank founded for purpose of promoting development ideas and it is orientated towards supporting coherent and sustainable EU policies.
  • Council on Foreign Relations is Washington D.C. based organization with a main focus on the US foreign policy. Its consistent part is Europe section, where US-EU international relations are analyzed.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP) represents in fact the German Council on Foreign Relations, based in Berlin. It has a long tradition in research. Covers topics related, but not limited to: European integration, Atlantic relations and foreign policy.
  • Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels, the Egmont Institute provides independent and non-biased research on international relations, including policy implications.
  • European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) is Maastricht based research institute. ECDPM is a leading independent think tank that wants to make policies in Europe and Africa work for inclusive and sustainable development by producing analysis on political, economic and developmental issues in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries from one side and the EU from other side. Main focus is on Africa.
  • European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) represents a think tank that provides a scorecard of European Foreign Policy, which is a systematic annual assessment of the EU performance in relation to the rest of the world. It is based in London, with offices in Sofia, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin and Warsaw.
  • European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) is a Maastricht based institute, that provides a deep insides and knowledge on the current EU polices and public affairs aiming to improve the management of public policies in Europe. The EU member states and the European Commission support the EIPA.
  • The European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes (ENEPRI) acts as a network of research institutes connecting think tanks throughout Europe (leading 25 institutes in the area). It regularly produces policy papers, briefs and publications. The goal of the network is to foster the international diffusion of existing research, co-ordinate research plans, conduct joint research and increase public awareness of the European dimension of national economic policy issues.
  • The European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) is the independent civil society platform of European NGOs, networks of NGOs and research institutions which are fully committed to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict, based in Brussels. It publishes briefs and information related to the organizations that are members, including their job advertisements.
  • European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) is Glasgow based think tank focusing on EU regional issues, including use of the EU structural funds.
  • The European Policy Centre (EPC) is an independent think tank dedicated to fostering European integration through analysis and debate, supporting and challenging EU policy makers at all levels to make informed decisions based on sound evidence and analysis, and providing a platform for engaging partners, stakeholders and citizens in EU policymaking and in the debate about the future of Europe. It is based in Brussels and operates on not profit basis. It provides the users with regular newsletters, policy briefs and other publications.
  • European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN) is a network of 38 think tanks dealing with the EU policy. It is based in Brussels, connecting research institutes from the EU member states and associate countries. It organizes debates, events and produces publications on emerging EU issues in order to provide understanding regarding those issues to the European citizens.
  • European Stability Initiative (ESI) has offices in Brussels, Berlin and Vienna. ESI think tank focus on the EU enlargement, especially in the Western Balkans, and tackles issues in Central Europe and the Caucasus region.
  • Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) is Helsinki based. It is a think tank focusing on the EU role globally, EU relations with Russia and other neighborhood countries in the East. Global security issues rank high on the FIIA agenda also.
  • Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) operates in London on topics covering international affairs in general, not just EU focused.
  • The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a research institute with aim to increase transatlantic cooperation and keep the idea of the Marshall Plan globally. It publishes wide variety of publications, policy advices, briefs, books and other material. It has offices in Berlin, Ankara, Belgrade, Brussels, Washington D.C., Bucharest, Paris and Warsaw.
  • Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) is a consultancy research institute under the University of Birmingham. It provides services on governance, humanitarian response and conflict. The EU, DFID and the Australian Government support the think tank.
  • Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) is Brussels based think tank with focus on the EU environmental issues. Its emphasize it is on sustainability of the process.
  • Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) focus is on European integration. It is a German think tank based in Berlin. Logically, it focusses on the role of Germany in the EU, neighborhood policy of the EU, and topics such as energy and climate policy of the EU.
  • Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI) is the most recognizable French think tank in the area of international affairs. It covers subjects such as: security, international economy and international affairs. It is based in Paris.
  • The International Crisis Group is an independent organization (research institute) that is working towards prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. Produces reports on preventing wars and finding a peaceful solutions.
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is a prominent think tank with offices in London, Washington D.C., Bahrein and Singapore. The main focus is on security, nuclear deterrence, control of arms and arming and assessment of arm forces by country/region.
  • ISIS Europe is an independent think tank, with focus on security, defense and peace policies of the EU. It is based in Brussels and provides research and advisory.
  • Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) is the most famous Italian think tank in the area of international affairs. It is based in Rome, and its focus is on issues related to the EU foreign relation, but to the foreign policy of Italy as well. It produces variety of research and working papers, The International Spectator is the most respectable one.
  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is Brussels based think tank that acts as an observer of developments in the EU. It is one of the oldest think tanks in Europe.
  • LSE European Foreign Policy Unit works under the umbrella of the London School of Economics. It is based in London, as the University. It focuses on issues related to EU neighborhood policy, UN-EU relation, international affairs and other issues.
  • The South Centre is the intergovernmental organization and a think tank of developing countries with its headquarters in Geneva. Its aim is to help the developing countries with expertize and promote their common interest at the international arena.
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international think tank focused on international peace issues and stability. Its datasets on army statistics are the most quoted datasets when the military articles are published, or newspapers’ articles.
  • Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is a German research institute focused on wide range of issues related to international politics. It has its offices in Berlin and Brussels.
  • Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS) is Stickholm based research organization. Three main areas are of concern of the institute: the EU political, constitutional and economic system; European integration; and, Policies of the EU.
  • The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal is a non-profit think tank and policy network. It is based in Brussels. Its commitment is to defining and articulating mature, holistic and evidence-based strategies for managing current and future challenges.
  • Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) is a Brussels based network of research institutes from Europe. It offers bottoms up approach to the EU governance. It regularly produces publications of its think tank members.

All of the think tanks listed above have a variety of schemes for employment, including very interesting internship schemes. If you are in a search for think tank job or internship be aware that you will have to check the websites regularly. Their reputation and influence in Brussels circles guarantees better possibilities and prospects in your future career. Do not be discouraged if you are not accepted at your first attempt, your effort will be fully noted and you will be offered another chance for sure.