James G. McGann

Senior Fellow

Director - Think Tanks and Foreign Policy

Research Areas:

Think tanks, Public policy, International security

For over 30 years, FPRI Senior Fellow James McGann has been studying think tanks – first, as a program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, then for his dissertation (Scholars, Dollars, and Public Policy), and then as the author of reports on trends in think tanks, initially in the US but later all over the world. Subsequently, he established a database on thousands of think tanks, and about 10 years ago created the Global Go-To Think Tank Index, which ranks think tanks all over the world – and which is covered by media all over the world. More recently, he initiated a series of think tank summits, and has held one or more summits on almost every continent. When you consider the entire evolution of this project since before its inception, it is a stunning trajectory – and it is not over. Dr. McGann is currently is a Senior Lecturer of International Studies at the Lauder Institute, senior fellow, Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Project at UPenn’s Lauder Institute and has written a number of books on the subject. Prior to assuming his current post, James was Assistant Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as the Senior Vice President for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomats, the Assistant Director of the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and the Public Policy Program Officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts. James earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a National Fellow at Stanford University while writing his doctoral thesis, which examined the nature and evolution of public-policy research organizations in the United States such as Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Urban Institute, and others. 

Audio/Video