This is a list of key dates in the history of think tanks - foundation dates etc.
- 1955 Institute of Economic Affairs founded.
- 1976 Tellus Institute founded by Paul Raskin, Richard Rosen, Stephen Bernow, John Stutz, and David Nichols
- The Institute of Welsh Affairs was founded on the strength of a paper written in 1985 by Geraint Talfan Davies, a broadcaster, and Keith James, a Cardiff lawyer.
- 1987 Pacific Institute established.
- From 1993 National Institute for Research Advancement publishes NIRA's World Directory of Think Tanks (NWDTT),
- 1996 The Center for an Urban Future, American public policy think tank founded. Forum for the Future founded.
- 1997 Project for the New American Century (PNAC), American think tank based in Washington, D.C.
- 2000 Edmund Burke Foundation established.
- 2001 Reform (think tank) founded.
- 2004 Sustainable Future Institute set up.
- 2005 Scottish Constitutional Commission established, by John Drummond, Chris Thomson and Canon Kenyon Wright.
- 2006 Project for the New American Century (PNAC) wound up.
- January 2008 Project 2049 Institute set up.
- February 2012 Sustainable Future Institute changed its name to the McGuinness Institute.
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