The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) was founded in 1983 to enhance the quality of economic policy-making within Europe and beyond, by creating excellent, policy-relevant economic research, and disseminating it widely to policy influencers in the public and private sectors and civil society.

Drawing together the expertise of its Research Fellows and Affiliates, CEPR initiates, funds and coordinates research activities and communicates the results quickly and effectively to decision makers around the world. The Centre is an independent, non-profit organization and takes no institutional policy positions.

CEPR is based on what was in 1983 a new model of organization, a “thinknet”. It is a distributed network of economists, who are affiliated with but not employed by CEPR, and who collaborate through the Centre on a wide range of policy-related research projects and dissemination activities. The “thinknet” model was motivated by the perception that the problems of modern economies and their interdependence require large-scale, carefully targeted research programmes, while high-quality research resources are scattered across many universities and research institutes. CEPR was founded at a time when European economics had relatively few “centres of excellence” with international reach but many excellent researchers, widely dispersed, with few opportunities for interaction. One of CEPR’s main achievements has been to create a virtual “centre of excellence” for European economics through an active community of dispersed individual researchers, working together across international boundaries to produce high-quality research for use by the policy community and the private sector.

Today, CEPR’s network of Research Fellows and Affiliates includes over 1300 of the top economists conducting research on issues affecting the European economy. Researchers are based in their home institutions (universities, research institutes, central bank research departments, and international organisations), and collaborate through the Centre in the pursuit of policy-relevant economic research and dissemination activities. This is distinctively different from traditional thinktanks or research institutes, where there is a dedicated staff of researchers. No research is performed at CEPR’s London headquarters, which serve a purely administrative and coordinating function, defining research initiatives with the network, seeking funding, organizing research-related activities, such as meetings and publications, and working to disseminate the findings of our researcher's work. 

CEPR’s “thinknet” structure also supports the Centre’s pluralist and non-partisan stance. CEPR takes no institutional policy positions, and our publications carry a wide range of policy conclusions and recommendations. In fact, we actively encourage diversity of opinion and independent thought in our network, with the result that our output reflects state-of-the-art thinking from a range of perspectives. This helps enrich and enliven policy debates.

The Centre provides common services for its network of researchers and for the users of its researchers, and it obtains funding for the activities it develops. In particular, the Centre undertakes the following activities:

  • Development of projects and obtaining funding for them

  • Administration and execution of projects once funding has been obtained for them, and reporting to the donors on the activities undertaken and expenditures incurred.

  • Dissemination of the results of the research to a wide audience in the private sector and the research and policy communities

CEPR has a diverse funding base. Funds are raised from the private and public sector, and from foundations. Corporate Members in the financial, private and public sectors in CEPR's membership programme provide core income. They include firms such as investment banks, consultancies, asset managers and government agencies. The financial sector currently makes up two thirds of the membership base. However there is a trend toward broadening the membership base among the other sectors. We now have, for example, the support of all European Union Central Banks as well as the ECB and the BIS. 

A large proportion of project-specific research funding is obtained via the European Commission Framework Programme, although the Centre actively seeks funding for other activities.