Centre for European Economic Research

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ZEW Profile

The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim is a non-profit and independent institute with the legal form of a limited liability company (GmbH). Founded in 1990 on the basis of a public-private initiative in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in co-operation with the University of Mannheim, ZEW is one of Germany's leading economic research institutes, and enjoys a strong reputation throughout Europe.
ZEW pursues four key objectives:

  • To conduct research of the highest quality
  • To provide scientifically grounded economic policy advice
  • To train up-and-coming economists, and
  • To inform the professional and lay public

The institute addresses on decision-makers in politics, business, and administration, scientists in the national and international arena as well as the interested public. Frequent surveys on the situation on the financial markets and the business situation of the information economy as well as the large-scale annual study on innovation activities in the German economy are representative for the different types of information provided by ZEW.

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest, the president of the institute, and Thomas Kohl, the director of business and administration, ZEW employs currently a staff of 188 in six Research Departments, two Research Groups, and three Service Departments.

In order to ensure excellence in research, ZEW promotes international co-operation with universities (e.g. integration in doctoral programmes) and the ongoing development of its staff by granting periods of paid release from normal project work. These sabbaticals can be used for postgraduate doctorates, postdoctoral theses, or fellowships at renowned universities and research institutions.

The high quality of ZEW's research work was confirmed in 1998, when the German Council of Science and Humanities evaluated ZEW and recommended its inclusion in the joint state and federal funding programme. Since 2005, the institute has received basic funding from this programme. ZEW is a member of the Leibniz Association, a network of research institutes with outstanding scientific qualifications.

An excellent evaluation result in 2009 characterised the Centre for European Economic Research as an institution of international significance. Due to this assessment, the Leibniz-Association Senate recommended that the German federal and state governments promote ZEW according to national strategies of science policy. The senate explicitly stated that "ZEW is an extraordinarily successful institute of empirical economic research with great prospects".

ZEW in Numbers

Founded: 1990 Legal form: GmbH (Limited Liability Company)
Number of employees: 197 (130 Scientists, status: December 31, 2014)
Executive Directors: Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest (President/Director of Science and Research), Thomas Kohl (Director of Business and Administration)
Total budget 2014: EUR 20,23 million

Financial Structure

Institutional funds: 49%
Third-party funds incl. other income: 47%
Reserve funds: 4%

Third-Party Funding by Clients

German Federal Government and Foreign Ministries: 22%
(Federal States: 27%)
Companies/associations: 9%
Institutions of the European Union: 23%
German Research Foundationand Foundations: 10%
Scientific Institutions: 9%

Status: 2014

Research Approach and Research Fields

ZEW's guiding mission is to study the "optimal performance of markets and institutions in Europe". To this end, ZEW applies a plurality of methodologies, with a clear focus on microeconomic and microeconometric research. The institute co-operates closely with other scientific disciplines to address research questions. In this context, the research institute distinguishs itself, inter alia, in the analysis of internationally comparative questions in the European context and in the creation of data bases which are eminently important as a basis for scientific research. In addition, ZEW provides external persons and bodies with excerpts of selected data stocks for the purpose of scientific research.

ZEW is subdivided into the following six Research Departments

and two Research Groups

Evaluations in regular intervals ensure the quality of the work performed in the research units and its orientation towards the institute's research programme. Evaluations are carried out by the Scientific Advisory Council of ZEW, which is composed of renowned German and foreign scientists as well as of executives from the economy and public administration.

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National and International Co-operation

The institute co-operates closely with a number of partners and particularly with universities and scientific research institutes in Europe and the USA as well as in China, India, Australia, and New Zealand. ZEW is thus part of a tight national and international research network. Visiting academics at ZEW and scientific workshops with participants from Germany and abroad enhance the creation of networks. The annual ZEW Summer Workshop particularly focuses on the qualification of talented economists. We enjoy an especially close co-operation with the University of Mannheim. The president of ZEW is also full professor at the Mannheim School of Law and Economics. Research Associates are vitally important for ZEW. Such professors are university professors working as project managers in ZEW, and thus continuously contributing new ideas and scientific insights to the research work of the institute.

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Knowledge Transfer

ZEW's research findings are disseminated in professional circles and corporate training seminars, as well as through studies, publication series, and the media. ZEW publishes two monograph series – ZEW Economic Studies and ZEW Wirtschaftsanalysen – and magazines like the ZEWnews, that are nationally and internationally distributed.

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Research Funding

ZEW is funded in part by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Since 2005, the institute has also received basic funding from a partnership between the state and federal governments. 50 percent of the Institute's financial resources are obtained from research projects for third parties, including the European Commission, ministries and institutions of the federal and state governments, as well as companies, associations, and local authorities.

ZEW's work is conceptually and financially supported by the ZEW Sponsors' Association for Science and Practice (Registered Society), which was founded in 1993. The firms belonging to this organisation facilitate a constant exchange between the domains of research and practice. Prof. Dr. Andreas Duler, CEO of ProMinent GmbH, chairs the association. Dr. Kurt W. Bock, CFO of BASF SE, serves as vice-chairman.

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Annual Report/ZEW in brief

You will find additional information about ZEW and its activities in our Annual Report and in our flyer "ZEW in brief", (as PDF file, 706 KB), as well as the Chinese version of ZEW's information brochure "ZEW in brief", (as PDF file, 994 KB).


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