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Representatives of Ukrainian think tanks visit Berlin: How do think tanks shape policy-making in Germany?

From 10 to 15 June 2019, six experts from Ukrainian think tanks, NGOs and research insti­tutes took part in the study trip “Between research and politics: How do think tanks shape policy-making in Germany?” to examine the role of research and science-based policy advice in Germany’s political landscape. Furthermore, the study trip aimed to detect future cooper­ation oppor­tu­nities between German and Ukrainian experts and to build on the network that has been estab­lished during former study-trips and other events.

After being welcomed at our institute by Ljudmyla Melnyk, Research Associate at the Institute for European Politics (IEP, Berlin) and Project Coordi­nation of the project “Platform for Analytics and Inter­cul­tural Commu­ni­cation” (PAIC), the study trip partic­i­pants had a chance to get to know the city of Berlin on a brief sight­seeing tour. During the following intense day, the six Ukrainian researchers visited the German Associ­ation for East European Studies (DGO), the German Eastern Business Associ­ation, the German Institute for Inter­na­tional and Security Affairs (SWP), and the German Council on Foreign Foreign Relations (DGAP). Primarily on the agenda: The modes of cooper­ation between think tanks and govern­mental actors.

On 12 June, the partic­i­pants joined the PAIC conference: “Ukraine after the presi­dential and parliament elections: New government – new oppor­tu­nities?”, which mainly focused on the domestic political climate in Ukraine, the foreign policy prior­ities of the Ukrainian government and possible steps to solve the conflict in Donbas.

During the last two days, the partic­i­pants visited insti­tu­tions like the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBS), where they learned about political founda­tions as a major anchor of think tank activity in Germany, as well as the Scien­tific Service of the German Bundestag, the Zentrum Liberale Moderne (LibMod), the grass­roots think tank Polis180 and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Our guests had the chance to find out more about the role of German research organ­i­sa­tions and think tanks in the consul­tation of political stake­holders, the format and working methods of a grass­roots think tank and a parliament’s in-house scien­tific service as well as the impor­tance of success­fully commu­ni­cating research results.

Equipped with new impres­sions and knowledge about role of research and science-based policy advising in Germany, the Ukrainian experts departed the day after, now being part of the PAIC community.

The study trip was organised within the frame work of the project “Platform for Analytics and Inter­cul­tural Commu­ni­cation” (PAIC) which aims at supporting of the Ukrainian think tank landscape and fostering the exchange between German and Ukrainian think tanks. The project is imple­mented by the Institute for European Politics (IEP, Berlin) in cooper­ation with the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foundation (IRF, Kyiv), the Ilko Kucheriv Democ­ratic Initia­tives Foundation (DIF, Kyiv) and the think tank-initiative „think  twice UA“ (Kyiv) and with the kind support of the Federal Foreign Office.