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Baker Institute rises to 24th

By Ben Hawriluk     2/1/12 6:00pm

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program ranked the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy 24th on its 2011 list of top United States think tanks. This ranking is an increase from the institute's 27th place finish last year.

"The success of the Baker Institute model stems from bringing scholars and practitioners together to produce timely and relevant research," Baker Institute Founding Director Edward P. Djerejian said.

Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel, said that the Baker Institute effectively disseminates its research and findings to decision makers in both the public and private sectors. The access of a particular think tank to critical decision makers serves as one of the main criteria in the TTCSP rankings.

Some key areas of Baker Institute's research include health-care policy, tax policy and energy policy.

"The Energy Forum produces cutting-edge analyses and recommendations that are frequently presented in conferences to top corporate energy leaders and government officials," Djerejian said.

Some of the key recent developments for energy research at the institute include the rising global importance of natural gas and the expansion of the Energy Forum, Director of the Baker Institute Energy Forum Amy Myers Jaffe said. She said she attributes the prominence of the institute to its technological adaptability.

The Baker Institute now has a blog, which increases the institute's visibility and accessibility to a large crowd of researchers, according to Jaffe.

"In regards to both research and the manner in which we operate, those at the Baker Institute have made concerted effort to push into the 21st century," Jaffe added. "We have taken the Baker Institute on the road."

The Baker Institute has recently held academic gatherings in Mexico, China and the Middle East.

Djerejian said the institute is expanding its internship, leadership and mentorship programs for Rice students. For example, Director for Academic Affairs Allen Matusow is organizing the first Baker Institute public policy class for undergraduates, which will be taught by a team of Baker Institute fellows and scholars, Djerejian said.

Baker Institute Student Forum President Myles Bugbee said that BISF will continue to add to the list of upcoming high-caliber speakers.

Bugbee said some notable speakers to have been hosted by the Baker Institute include former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and the architect of President Barack Obama's health care reform, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber.

The TTCSP produces the Global Go-To Think Tank Index annually. A panel of more than 1,500 individuals participated in the nomination and rankings process. Of the more than 6,500 think tanks located in 182 countries invited to take part in the process, 5,329 think tanks were nominated for ranking.

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