Think Tank School 2023

Call for Applications (closed)
Think Tank School 2024 - Curriculum


At a Glance

Duration: 6 months, from May 2 to October 19, 2023                                   

Location: Berlin, Brussels, and Online            

Language: English 

Application Deadline: March 26, 2023

Tuition Fee: regular: €950; early bird: €700 available until February 28, 2023


The Think Tank School is a unique training program that empowers the next generation of think tankers to further develop their skills for effective think tank work and expand their network in the German and international policy community. It is based on a competency framework that is specifically developed to reflect the variety of roles required of think tankers today. The Think Tank School combines different forms of learning that focus on the professional development of the fellows and support knowledge transfer to the fellows’ organizations. 

The Think Tank School is an offer of the Think Tank Lab, a project of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). It is kindly supported by the Stiftung Mercator and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Target Group 

The Think Tank School is open to think tank employees who work in the research department of a think tank based in Germany and have two to five years of relevant professional experience. Career changers are also welcome to participate. We value diversity and strongly encourage underrepresented groups to apply. The 2023 cohort offers up to 15 spots.             

You can see the profiles and project descriptions of the previous participants here.

Why Participate  

For fellows: The Think Tank School provides you with a unique opportunity to both learn new skills and to apply and test those skills in the context of your policy project. You will receive guidance and feedback to design and implement an innovative and effective policy project. In addition, you will be able to meet and network with peers, policymakers, and think tank stakeholders to expand your professional network. After participating in the Think Tank School, all fellows will become members of the Bosch Alumni Network, a global platform that brings together around 7,500 former and current fellows, grantees, and employees of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and its partners, as well as MercatorGlobe, the alumni network of Stiftung Mercator. 

For organizations: The Think Tank School is a practical way to systematically train and empower your think tank staff, gain insights into new approaches to think tank work, build your network with other think tanks, and provide a safe space to experiment with new forms and designs for projects. The transfer of knowledge from the School to your organization is a central component of the program.

Expectations for the Fellows  

Active participation in all training modules and community calls is expected of all Think Tank School fellows. In addition, participants are expected to read the course material and work on their individual projects independently. Fellows of the previous cohorts invested an average of one to five hours per week in the Think Tank School outside of the training modules and community calls, depending on whether their policy project was part of their regular work portfolio. The policy project should be implemented before the final module.

Information Webinar     

For interested participants and organizations, an information webinar will take place on February 22, 2023, at 12:00 PM.

Should you be interested in participating in the information webinar, please register here.

How to Apply

To apply for a spot in the Think Tank School 2023, please fill out the online application form and submit all supporting documentation by March 26, 2023.

The application requires:

  • A one-minute video or a written essay of max. 300 words in which you describe your motivation for participating in the Think Tank School;
  • A description of the policy problem you want to work on during the training;
  • An indication which stakeholders you plan to interview and shadow in the first phase of the project;
  • A letter of support from your organization that highlights the permission for you to participate in all trainings and community calls. It should also describe the type of support you will receive in implementing your policy project (e.g., the opportunity to publish your analysis on the organization’s website, support with organizing an event, etc.); and
  • Your CV (max. 2 to 3 pages).

Selection Procedure     

The selection of participants for the Think Tank School will be made by the Think Tank Lab team. We strive to select a diverse group in terms of organizations, policy areas, demographics, and gender balance.  

The participants of the 2023 cohort will be announced no later than April 6, 2023.

Tuition Fee 

Participation in the Think Tank School costs 950 EUR. An early bird rate of 700 EUR is available until February 28, 2023. A limited number of partial scholarships is available; please reach out directly in case of need.

The tuition fee covers: 

  • All expert lectures, learning activities, and networking events;
  • All online community calls with input from experts;
  • Lunch and coffee breaks during the in-person trainings and activities;
  • Diploma upon completion of the Think Tank School; and
  • Access to the Think Tank Lab community and alumni networks. 

Travel to and accommodation costs in Berlin and Brussels are to be covered by the participants themselves.  

Interested in joining this unique learning experience? Apply here!

Contact person