UK think tanks

This list of some of the most influential think tanks in the UK is by no means exhaustive. You may find it a useful starting point for thinking about which organisations you share research interests with; however, you should carry out your own research and talk to as many groups as possible.

Adam Smith Institute

The ASI's main focus is the introduction of free market policies.

Bow Group

A conservative think tank founded in 1951 to counter socialism.

Centre for European Reform

The CER aims to stimulate debate on the future of the EU.

Centre for Policy Studies

Founded by Margaret Thatcher in 1974, the CPS aims to promote free-market policies and limit the role of the state.

Centre for Social Justice

Established by Iain Duncan Smith MP in 2004 to seek solutions to social breakdown and poverty, the CSJ is particularly interested in the role of the voluntary sector in fighting poverty.


CentreForum is an independent liberal think tank which engages with economic and financial issues, and has a particular focus on educational policy.

Chatham House

Chatham House is a centre for policy research on international affairs.


Founded in 1993, Demos is a cross-party think tank interested in welfare and public services, education and citizenship, and economic issues. It also conducts research into social media.

Fabian Society

Founded in 1884 and affiliated to the Labour party, the Fabian Society is a major left-of-centre think tank.

Foreign Policy Centre

The FPS is a cross-party foreign affairs think tank which was founded under New Labour in 1998.

Institute for Economic Affairs

One of the oldest in the UK, the IEA is a high-profile rightwing liberal think tank that promotes free market solutions to a wide range of social and economic issues.

Institute for Public Policy Research

The IPPR was formed following Labour's 1987 election defeat, aiming to invigorate leftwing thinking.

The Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an international, right-of-centre, liberal think tank which is interested in revitalising capitalism and democracy.

New Economics Foundation

The NEF is an independent, left-of-centre 'think and do' tank that aims to promote alternative economic models. It is interested in social justice and environmental issues.

New Local Government Network

An independent think tank which represents local government and organisations and conducts research into issues facing local communities.

Policy Exchange

Policy Exchange is a right-wing small-government think tank which conducts research into poverty and social mobility, public services, and economic issues.


An independent right-of centre small-government think tank which seeks to set out a way to lower public spending and increase prosperity.


ResPublica is an independent right-of-centre think tank which advocates fundamental reform of the state and market model and redistribution of power towards ‘civil society’. It has a has a particular interest in the role of Christian thought in society. Director Phillip Blond has been credited as the original architect of the ‘Big Society’ agenda.

Social Market Foundation

The SMF is an independent, liberal think tank that aims to combine market economics with social justice.