Ranks the World’s Most Influential Think Tanks

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Where do ideas coalesce into the kinds of actions that move the world? Governments, right?

But who moves the governments?

Whether you are aware of it or not, think tanks influence your life and worldview, not only through policy measures in government, but also through your personal beliefs and the media you consume. While you might recognize the names of a few think tanks, many function outside of the public eye, with anodyne names that do little to describe their goals or focus. ranks 50 of the think tanks that affect our lives the most:

Top Influential Think Tanks

The five think tanks that exert the greatest global influence:

  1. Brookings Institution
  2. The Heritage Foundation
  3. Council on Foreign Relations
  4. Cato Institute
  5. Center for Strategic and International Studies

Visit for a look at all 50.

“Many believe that only legislatures, presidents, and judges make the world go ’round,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University.

“But think tanks have a huge say in the who, what, where, when, why, and how of current events,” says Macosko. “Think tank thought leaders roam the halls of power across the globe, and their influence on governmental policy and procedure is enormous. By spotlighting the most influential think tanks, illuminates their agendas, helping readers see who these groups are and what their focus is.”

Think tanks exist to wield influence where they believe it to be most useful. Quantifying that influence is difficult, but has pioneered an effective measure.

Founded in October 2016, with funding assistance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Influence Networks created proprietary machine learning technology—the Influence Engine—to measure true influence. Using this technology, examines billions of open-source, crowd-edited data points, mapping lines of influence through continuously updated data repositories, including Wikipedia and Crossref. These databases result in analysis that resists being gamed or undermined by single-source editorial bias. now opens access to these user-customizable search capabilities so that students, researchers, and inquirers can discover the most influential people and institutions, providing the answers users seek with the objectivity they need.

“With more people plugged into activist causes, it has never been more important to know who the players and power brokers are,” says Macosko. “By providing insight into entities that often operate offstage, seeks to equip citizens with essential information to help them direct their political energies and achieve a better future.” is the preeminent technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders. is a part of the EducationAccess group, a family of sites dedicated to lifelong learning and personal growth, including Influence Networks, (nonfiction publishing and publishers of Bright Notes), (instructional video library and easy instructional video creation with 3D elements), (free, online library and reader), and soon, Success Portraits (personalized strengths inventory for college and career).


Jed Macosko, Ph.D.
Academic Director

(682) 302-4945