The Penang Institute is the public policy think tank of the state government of Penang. Established in 1997 as the Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI), it has now been rebranded to better reflect the aspirations of the state to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city.
With the tagline, “Making Ideas Work”, the Penang Institute seeks to spur bold thinking in the key areas of economics, socio-politics and sustainable development. The Institute’s approach assumes three main thrusts:
- To undertake research and analysis of public policies in order to provide input and influence for strategic planning in Penang and the region in general;
- To provide a platform for intellectual and professional exchanges on critical, current and strategic issues concerning Penang and its surrounding region;
- To maintain a comprehensive databank and resource centre as well as to produce and disseminate publications and research findings in order to enrich public discourse in the areas of economics, socio-politics and sustainable development.
As a policy advisory body to the state government of Penang, the Penang Institute is constantly working hand-in-hand with the state government, its related agencies as well as various international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme and other non-governmental organisations.
In addition, the Penang Institute also constantly engages the public by promoting and highlighting various issues of local, national and regional concern through facilitating conferences, lectures, workshops and public seminars.
The Penang Institute is governed by a board of directors with the Chief Minister of Penang as its chair. It houses more than 20 researchers and writers, and is currently led by Executive Director YB Zairil Khir Johari.