The network provides expertise, stimulates discussion and raises awareness of the OSCE. It contributes to the ongoing security dialogue within the OSCE framework. It helps to address common threats and challenges and contributes to the efforts supporting the Helsinki+40 process and future OSCE dialogue formats. In a more long-term perspective, the network helps to clarify the substance of and the process towards achieving the participating States’ shared vision of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian Security Community. The network is used for the exchange of expertise and the coordination of activities between its members.

The OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions is an autonomous OSCE-related track II initiative. It is neither an OSCE structure nor subordinated to the OSCE or its participating States. The network's members are research institutions from across the OSCE area that are engaged in academic research and policy analysis on issues relevant to the OSCE’s security agenda. Currently, the network includes 88 institutions from 42 countries.

The network is open to think tanks and academic institutions that are willing and able to contribute academic expertise and policy analysis on OSCE-relevant issues.