Principles for Independent Research and Convening

Setting out the institute’s principles, as adopted by its council, for ensuring the continuing independence and objectivity of its research, events, publications and other outputs.

Prepared 1 May 2013, updated March 2019

Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs) is an institute founded to promote the independent and objective study of international affairs through research and by convening conferences and events. The institute is a not-for-profit organisation registered with the UK Charity Commission.

Chatham House receives no government subsidy and its activities are not underwritten by any one source of funding. It receives discretionary support from its membership and through philanthropic gifts, and receives funding for its research and other activities from governments, the private sector, and charitable foundations.

The following sets out the institute’s principles, as adopted by its Council, for ensuring the continuing independence and objectivity of its research, events, publications and other outputs.


1. Mission and public benefit

Chatham House raises funds to fulfil its mission to be a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas on how to build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. The institute undertakes work for the public benefit.

2. Integrity

Chatham House works consistently to avoid any conflicts of interest between its funding and its mission. It accepts no financial obligation which would undermine or contravene the pursuit of its mission and the principles laid out in this document. Sponsorship or financial support of research or events does not indicate an endorsement of the interests of the source of funding.

3. Independence and objectivity

Chatham House always retains independent control over its substantive outputs and public and private events, irrespective of the source of funding. Chatham House fosters objectivity in the research and events conducted under its name, including by pursuing an evidence-based approach to research, undertaking external peer review of its policy reports and engaging a balance of diverse stakeholders in its research meetings.

4. Openness and accountability

Chatham House applies a culture of openness regarding sources of funding. Anonymity may be granted to donors only in exceptional circumstances and according to specific guidelines. Confidential research and publications can be commissioned from the institute only if this supports its mission and does not constitute more than a small part of its overall annual income, not exceeding five per cent.

5. Awareness and responsibility

Chatham House believes that there is no substitute for a culture of awareness among all staff and associates of the importance of these principles. The institute requires staff to develop a sense of personal responsibility for these principles, which includes the need to have detailed knowledge of sources of funding and to pay close attention to ethical considerations and potential conflicts of interest.

Council requires the institute’s senior management to promote and support these overarching principles through leadership and by example. Formal processes are in place to ensure that these principles are upheld by all staff in their day-to-day work.

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