LSE IDEAS is a foreign policy think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science. IDEAS was founded as a think tank for Diplomacy and Strategy in February 2008, succeeding the Cold War Studies Centre founded in 2004. The Chair is Professor Michael Cox and its Directors are Professor Christopher Coker and King Christopher Alden. The 2018 and 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index run by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tank and Civil Societies Program ranked LSE IDEAS as the number one European university-affiliated think tank, and the number two university-affiliated think tank in the world.
IDEAS runs seven research projects, hosts public and private events (43 in 2017-2018), and publishes analysis of international affairs. From 2017 to 2018, it released 75 publications and held 43 fellowships and scholarships. In addition, IDEAS houses the LSE Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy, a programme designed to enhance the strategic vision of mid-career professionals.
Through sustained engagement with policymakers and opinion leaders, IDEAS aims to provide a forum that informs policy debate and connects academic research with the practice of diplomacy and strategy.
In May 2019, LSE IDEAS announced a new Chair in History and International Affairs, the Engelsberg Chair, with funding from the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation. The Engelsberg Chair is an annual distinguished visiting professorship for leading Swedish and global scholars who will give public lectures on topics of their choice. The annual post gives LSE IDEAS the opportunity to bring renowned academics to the School for a year of research and discussion.
Professor Michael Burleigh has been appointed as the first Engelsberg Chair for 2019-20. Professor Arne Westad will succeed Professor Michael Burleigh as the second Engelsberg Chair in 2020-21.
Up until 2016, IDEAS hosted the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs, an annual visiting Professor position for leading scholars based outside the UK made possible by a donation to honour the memory of Philippe Roman. Each chair delivers a series of public lectures of the duration of the year.
Notable chairs include Ian Morris, Paul Kennedy, Niall Ferguson and Anne Applebaum.
IDEAS houses the LSE Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy. The 1-year programme is designed for mid-career professionals from the public, private, and NGO sectors who deal with international relations, diplomacy, security, and international business in their working lives.
The programme aims to provide its participants with the conceptual and theoretical tools to analyse the main actors, trends and issues shaping international affairs. The programme is also focused on applicability and relevance: participants learn not only how to use strategy to deal with adversaries, but also to cooperate with others in solving common problems, be they military, diplomatic/political, economic or business. The programme is taught by a combination of academics and senior policy practitioners.
Notable alumni include former UK Ambassador to Afghanistan Karen Pierce and current UK Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Edward Ferguson.
The work of IDEAS is overseen and supported by both an Academic Management Committee and Advisory Board respectively.
The Academic Management Committee is composed of academic staff from LSE who monitor operations and research, while the Advisory Board provides an external perspective. Members of the Advisory Board are senior practitioners from the diplomatic world who provide independent oversight and guidance on IDEAS’ strategy.
Current Advisory Board members: