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ICC Holds Internal Discussions on Assessment of Think Tank

  According to the published "China Think Tank Comprehensive Assessment Research Report (2017)", ICC-NDRC has been selected as the national core think tank (166 were selected) and listed as the top ten specialized think tanks of ministerial level.  Although ICC-NDRC was not keen to participate in and provide information, in recent years, it has successively been ranked by the domestic think tank assessment institutions. To this end, ICC-NDRC invited HU Wei, the director of the department of assessment on Institutions and think tanks of China Social Science Assessment Research Institute to give a lecture introducing the experiences and assessments of think tanks at home and abroad.

At the lecture, HU Wei proposed that there has been a sustained "think tank set-up fever" across the country under the background of strong support from the central government. In particular, the popularity of quantity, dissemination and follow-up are particularly noteworthy. The number of various types of think tanks has risen sharply over a short time, but the quantity and quality have not been upgraded simultaneously. Many think tanks did not pay much attention to the publicity of their academic results in the past, however, some think tanks are now keen on following current hot issues and produce a large number of stereotyped, parrot-type and imitation-oriented research results. In the context of sustained "think tank set-up fever", the "think tank assessment fever" has emerged in the recent two years. On one hand, some domestic think tanks focus on participating in various rankings and especially worship the ranking of foreign think tanks. And on the other , the domestic assessment agencies have also gradually developed and yielded great social influence.

Through the comparative study of domestic and foreign think tanks, the main experience of building up think tanks with Chinese characteristics can be summed up as "four beams and eight pillars." The so-called "four beams" represents the core competitiveness of think tanks, including clear research positioning, strengthening process management, attaching importance to performance assessment and strengthening team building. The so-called "eight pillars" mainly refers to eight aspects that have an important influence on the building up of think tanks. First, the leadership should attach importance to the building up of think tanks as a top-notch project. Second, basic theoretical research is the vital basis for think tanks. Third, think tanks should put forward visionary and practical ideas and measures. Fourth, think tanks should create and maintain reporting channel. Fifth, think tanks should strengthen the administrative supportiing ability, including the staffing of scientific and technical personnel, the convenience of financial reimbursement and resourceful database resources. Sixth, think tanks should improve personnel assessment and incentive system. In particular it is important to handle the scientific research assessment and the assessment of the think tanks. Seventh, think tanks should improve the ability to integrate resources, including internal communication, external relations and international exchanges and so forth. Eighth, think tanks should value the ability to learn and to innovate embodying in targeting cutting-edge issues, bold innovation and introduction of new analytical methods.

During the discussions, CAO Wenlian, director general of ICC-NDRC, expressed his own views. First of all, he appreciated that the third party spoke highly of ICC-NDRC and expressed his concerns about the "think tank assessment fever", making it clear that ICC-NDRC would not take the initiative to participate in the ranking. He stressed that from the perspective of domestic and foreign practices, the leading talents and financial support are two key elements of  building up of think tanks. Second, he proposed that the third party should be cautious for the assessment of the domestic think tanks at government level. It is best not to evaluate and rank this kind of think tanks by the third party, because it is difficult for the third party to collect comprehensive data on them. The main function of think tanks at ministerial level is to support the research, formulation and assessment of major policies of the state, to retain qualified personnel, and to carry out policy research in a down-to-earth manner so as to truly realize consultation and advice. Third, the risk prevention and control mechanism are particularly important for the think tanks iof ministerial level. They should cherish the reputation of think tanks as their own eyes, and effectively prevent free rides, counterfeit and shoddy behaviors in society and internal management risks. These decisions largely determine the survival and development of the think tanks.

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