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'Chinese standard' university think tank rankings released

By Wang Yiqing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-19 20:29

China's first list ranking domestic university think tanks was released Friday in Beijing.

The National Academy of Development and Strategy affiliated with Renmin University of China, the National School of Development affiliated with Peking University, and the National Conditions Institute affiliated with Tsinghua University rank in the top three positions according to this "Chinese standard" for evaluating think tanks.

The ranking list was released by the Global Think Tank Research Center affiliated with Zhejiang University of Technology at a news conference on the publication of the Chinese University Development Report 2017.

Unlike the traditional evaluation systems for Western think tanks, such as the famous annual Global Go To Think Tank Index created by University of Pennsylvania professor James G. McGann, the Chinese university think tank evaluation system creates a new model that pays more attention to the actual situations of Chinese society and Chinese universities.

"Through exploring and establishing a 'Chinese standard' for evaluating university think tanks, we could help build a batch of world-class, national and high-end university think tanks that contribute to the national development," said Mei Xinlin, director of the Global Think Tank Research Center, Zhejiang University of Technology.

Meanwhile, the new evaluation system adopts more quantitative criteria based on internet and information technology as opposed to the traditional Western evaluation system.

"To quantitatively evaluate the development level of Chinese university think tanks, we created a new indicator called 'activity degree', which uses big data and cloud computing technologies to do data mining in public data information platforms," said Bao Jianqiang, executive director for the center.

University think tanks play a key role in the construction of think tanks with Chinese characteristics. Six university think tanks, including the top three mentioned above, have been incorporated into the list of 25 national high-end think tanks in 2015.

First-class universities are the base and incubator for top university think tanks. About 90 percent of the top 100 Chinese university think tanks on the ranking list are affiliated with first-tier Chinese universities listed in the 985 and 211 projects. Five think tanks in Tsinghua University, three think tanks in Peking University, and three think tanks in Renmin University of China are listed among the top 30 Chinese university think tanks, which overall account for more than one-third of the top 30.

The research fields of top 100 Chinese university think tanks mainly focus on economic and social development, accounting for 27 percent of the ranked institutions. And other 15 university think tanks focus on research in international relations and diplomacy, which all reflect the tendency of providing Chinese planning and wisdom as well as solving Chinese problems.

"Different from academic research in colleges, university think tank research should be application- and question-oriented," said Zheng Shuiquan, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China committee of Renmin University of China. "It is difficult for think tanks to have high quality research results without understanding China's national conditions and actual problems."

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