Meet The Director


James G. McGann, Ph.D.

Dr. McGann is a senior lecturer at the Lauder Institute of the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts research on the trends and challenges facing think tanks and policymakers around the world and provides advice and technical assistance to think tanks, governments, and public and private donors on how to improve the quality and impact of policy research. He is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank based in Philadelphia. 

Prior to coming to the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. McGann was an assistant professor of Political Science at Villanova University where he taught international relations, international organizations, and international law. His current research interests include: assessing global trends in security and international affairs research; the role of think tanks in shaping US domestic and foreign policy; think tanks and policy advice in the BRICS and G20 countries; and transnational threats and global public policy. He is the creator and author of the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index, which ranks think tanks in every region of the world and in major areas of public policy research.
Dr. McGann has served as a consultant and advisor to the World Bank; the United Nations; the United States Agency for International Development; the Soros, Rockefeller, MacArthur, Hewlett, and Gates foundations; the Carnegie Corporation; and foreign governments on the role of non-governmental, public policy, and public engagement organizations in the US and developing and transitional countries. He has served as the senior vice president for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomats, the public policy program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the assistant director of the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also served as a senior advisor to the Citizens’ Network for Foreign Affairs and the Society for International Development.
Among Dr. McGann’s publications are Competition for Dollars, Scholars, and Influence in the Public Policy Research Industry (University Press of America 1995); "The International Survey of Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 1999); Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalyst for Ideas and Action, co-edited with Kent B. Weaver (Transaction Publishers 2000); Comparative Think Tanks, Politics, and Public Policy (Edward Elgar 2005); Think Tanks and Policy Advice in the U.S.: Academics, Advisors, and Advocates (Routledge 2007); "Global Trends and Transitions: 2007 Survey of Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 2008); "The 2007 Global Go to Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 2008); "Think Tank Index" (Foreign Policy Magazine 2009); "The 2008 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (IRP, University of Pennsylvania 2009); Democratization and Market Reform: Think Tanks As Catalysts (Routledge 2009), Catalysts for Economic Growth and Development: The Role of Think Tanks in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (CIPE 2009), "The 2009 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2010),Global Think Tanks, Policy Networks and Governance (Routledge 2010), "The 2010 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2011), “The 2011 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2012), “Think Tanks and Global Policy Networks,” chapter in edited volume, International Organization and Global Governance, (Routledge September 2013),”The 2012 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2013), Think Tanks and Social Development Policy: A Global Comparative Study (Forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press 2013); The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks and US Domestic and Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2016); Think Tanks, Policy Advice and the Foreign Policy Challenges Facing Emerging Powers (Forthcoming late 2014).