The Data-driven Policy Research projects from Central and Eastern Europe. Using numbers and context to make the difference.

Think tanks are increasingly competing with news outlets and other research providers as sources of analysis and information pertinent to understanding publicly discussed policy alternatives. In an era of interactive and à la carte information provision, think tanks need to improve their ability to access important constituencies and communicate their analysis in attractive, up-to-date formats. Even if think tank’s content is much more valuable and informative than that of the competition, they lose out to those able to grab the attention of audiences by customizing the information to users’ preferences or providing more interaction.

One of the most valuable resources for policymakers and citizens concerned with a public issue is a high-quality data source. In transitional and emerging democracies such data sources are often scarce. Efforts to use evidence-based policy arguments to support advocacy and policymaking projects have often necessitated the creation and maintenance of information in databases, files, and collections of information buried in narrative text.

Since 2010, the Think Tank Fund supported projects that seek to propose new uses of data for advocacy and target non-traditional stakeholders; develop challenging and complementary information sets for broader application in the policy sphere; and use data sets to challenge commonly accepted facts in a given policy field. TTF assisted think tanks to bring these data sources to light, and to enhance their usefulness by expansion, maintenance, and use of this information, integrating such enhancements into their daily routines, and promoting a new culture of presenting policy research findings and thus reaching untapped audiences.

Following portfolio presents highlight and successes of projects supported between 2010 and 2013, illustrating how data matter in the every-day lives of citizens of many countries. This portfolio is offered as inspiration for members of NGOs, think tanks and advocacy organization who are focusing on using data for informing discussion on policy change. In case you are looking for further inspiration in any of the fields showcased, please feel free to contact featured think tanks directly or get in touch with the Think Tank Fund. The Data Matters is here to spread the word about the importance of the data to improve policy research and make the world a better place one policy at the time. We hope that this inspiration will contribute to ideas cross-fertilizing and similar projects will seed also outside the CEE region.

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