Since 1999, ESI has expanded its focus and area of operation from its origins in Bosnia-Herzegovina to cover the whole of South Eastern Europe. In the summer of 2007, ESI has 13 staff working in eleven countries.
In 2002, ESI first engaged in 'internal capacity building' for a large research project undertaken in Bosnia (a DFID "governance assessment"), working with 8 young Bosnian researchers.
In 2003 and 2004, ESI began organizing seminars on its experience and methodology for researchers across the Balkans.
Since 2004, ESI has dedicated time and resources to encouraging the emergence of a new generation of think tanks in Southeastern Europe. This has one of ESI's core institutional objectives.
ESI's capacity building efforts have supported the development of a number of dynamic new think tanks in the Balkans: