24 January 2014 – Edinburgh, Scotland
Last night, the 23rd of January 2014, Edinburgh launched its first student-led think tank: ‘The Buchanan Institute’. After months of preparation, the Buchanan insitute held a launch event last night, followed by a drinks reception.
Speaking at the event was Jonny Ross-Tatam, the founder of the institute, Benedict Counsell, the founder of the KCL Think Tank, and Dr. Jan Eichhorn, an Edinburgh academic involved in the setting up of the think tank.
Mr. Ross-Tatam, noted that: “There are not a lot of think tanks in #Scotland it self. So there’s a huge opportunity for us.”. He also praised students for turning up to the event and showing their enthusiasm on campus. Over a hundred students showed up the event and the Buchanan Institute Facebook page has received over 250 ‘likes’ in just a few days.
Outlining the plans for the think tank over the coming months, Mr. Ross-Tatam highlighted upcoming discussions on drug policy and scottish independence. LSESU Politics and Forum Society, another CampusPolicy think tank, will also be sending 50 students in March to Edinburgh for a weekend of events and discussions. Mr. Ross Tatam expressed his excitement for CampusPolicy as a project and looked forward to further joint events and cooperation with other student think tanks.
Benedict Counsell, the founder of the KCL Think tank: “I’m sure the @BuchananUoE is going to be a huge success and I’m very excited to be invited here.” Mr. Counsell expressed how impressed he was by how much the Buchanan Institute had achieved already, and his excitement to see what comes next. Outlining the importance of student think tanks as a new means of influencing policymakers, Mr. Counsell welcomed the Buchanan Institute to CampusPolicy.
Finally, Dr. Jan Eichhorn: “You have a great idea, a great concept and you have loads of people interested”. Dr. Eichhorn, having started a think tank himself, d|part, gave some guidance on how a think tank could be built and the importance of ideas based on empirical research. He argued that student think tanks have a very unique selling point, and are thus able to really get policymakers to listen. In a Q&A session after the event, Dr. Eichhorn noted that building a brand and making connections with decision-makers takes time and effort, but can yield great results.
The Buchanan Institute, although CampusPolicy’s youngest member, already looks to be a big success.