"My primary inspiration for writing this book was my experience with the Institute for Urban Economics (IUE), a think tank created in Moscow in 1995. IUE’s six founders were all members of my staff, which was engaged on a large technical cooperation project in Russia. As the resident advisor for the Urban Institute—an accomplished think tank located in Washington, D.C.—I worked very closely with IUE’s management over the next three years to help establish the IUE on a strong footing. During this period I searched for written materials on the management of think tanks. I found that there were none.
From 1990 to today I have visited and worked with more than a dozen think tanks in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (EE–CIS). Sometimes the collaboration was intense. Often a discussion would turn to particular management challenges, such as how to establish an overhead rate that would be defensible to donor auditors. I wanted to be able to do more than simply provide on-the-spot advice. But, again, I have been frustrated by the lack of written guidance available.
In 1997 the Urban Institute, IUE, and the Metropolitan Research Institute in Budapest founded the Transition Policy Network (TPN). Today TPN is a group of nine think tanks in the EE–CIS region, plus the Urban Institute. The members work together to win and execute policy research and technical assistance projects. In the context of carrying out projects, the Urban Institute does some mentoring on management practices. When the Institute polled TPN members in 2001 about topics for seminars and workshops the network might stage for members management topics were in great demand. In short, casual observations in the EE-CIS region indicate that there is a widespread and persistent need for guidance and financial management." - Raymond J. Struyk
“This book provides guidance for addressing potential problem areas, and as such it ﬁlls a yawning void. To be sure, in the past the donor community has worked on institutional development with think tanks, particularly in transitional and developing economies. These efforts have tended to focus on two needs of young institutions. First, donors have provided equipment to support research operations, particularly computers, fax machines, and copiers. More recently, there has been help with Internet access and home pages. Second, donors have organized workshops typically addressing the needs of start-up NGOs more generally. Workshops on the basics of ﬁnancial management, corporate governance, fundraising, interaction with the media, and policy advocacy have reached a large number of NGOs.”
Raymond J. Struyk
Raymond J. Struyk has joined the International Projects department of National Opinion Research Center (NORC), at the University of Chicago in September of 2007. He previously held the position of chief-of-party for the USAID-financed Egypt Financial Services Project. He has held several other positions, including senior fellow at the Urban Institute, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Struyk, who will work in NORC's Washington, DC office as a senior fellow, is best known for his work on social assistance, policy formulation, and housing sector reform. He has led major projects fostering independent think tanks in countries undergoing economic transition, and he has over 20 years experience working in transition and developing countries, including a six-year residency in Russia, three years in Budapest, and a year in Cairo.
Struyk’s involvement in policy formulation, particularly in the role of think tanks in this process, began with an effort in the 1980s to define and promote the creation of a truly independent think tank in Japan. In the 1990s, while resident in Russia, he helped establish the Institute for Urban Economics, a Moscow think tank still operating today. He also authored a book about the evolution of think tanks in the former Soviet bloc, directed think tank mentoring projects in Bosnia and Azerbaijan, and provided consulting services to at least a dozen think tanks.
His other primary expertise is in housing policy and reform. In the early 1990s, he worked on housing sector reform in Hungary. In 1992, he became director of USAID’s Shelter Sector Reform Program of technical assistance to the Russian Federation. In this role, he was involved in the design and implementation of Russia’s housing allowance program, the country’s first means-tested program. The project included creating USAID’s overall housing program for the Russian Federation, creating a housing finance system, reforming municipal housing, and shifting municipalities to legal zoning to regulate land use. Most recently, he executed housing finance feasibility studies in Armenia and Kyrgzstan and served as resident director of the large Egypt Financial Services project to develop the country’s mortgage sector.