What does policy consultancy mean in practice? What is a think tank and what does it do? Christiane Gerstetter and Susanne Langsdorf discuss these and other questions with students of the bachelor program "Internationales Politikmanagement" (ISPM) at Bremen University of Applied Sciences. About 20 students participate in the seminar "Policy consulting in intermediary organisations".
This is the fith term in which Ecologic Institute staff teaches the course. Students are introduced to the institute’s work and the day-to-day functioning of an environmental think tank using real-life examples. The students are taught the relevant professional capacities needed in a think tank (e.g., presenting information in an appropriate way for decision makers, team work, self-reflection) and also acquire knowledge on current political topics (e.g., climate change policies or development cooperation).
In addition, theoretical debates form an important part of the seminar; aspects discussed include the different types of think tanks, the different forms of consulting and lobbying, approaches to measure the performance of think tanks, the democratic legitimacy of various forms of consulting as well as guidelines for undertaking policy consultancy in the public interest. Last but not least, methodological approaches used in political science research form part of the curriculum.