Doctoral Opportunities at ZEW

University graduates who begin their academic career at ZEW can attain their doctoral degree by taking one of several pathways. Regardless of the path chosen, clear milestones help to insure progress along a swift and secure path. Doctoral students have ample opportunities to enrol in doctoral courses at universities or in ZEW’s in-house courses. Within the framework of the standards of ZEW’s structured qualification, doctoral students receive a ZEW certificate for meeting these qualification standards. In addition to ensuring a high level of qualification for young researchers, these ZEW standards promote a well-grounded education in applied economic research and allow candidates to obtain a degree that is consistent with international PhD standards. Apart from attending qualification courses and conducting research for their dissertation, doctoral students are involved in specific projects aimed at providing scientifically-grounded economic policy advising. On average, the doctorate at ZEW takes about four and a half years to complete, which corresponds to the duration of the PhD phase in universities.

Doctoral students can complete their degree at ZEW by taking one of two pathways:

Staff member in a ZEW research unit and obtaining the doctoral degree from the University of Mannheim

The ZEW cooperates at the University of Manneheim with the Center for Docotral Studies in Economics (CDSE) in the economics doctoral program and with the Center for Doctoral Studies in Business (CDSB) in the business doctoral program. By participating in these graduate programmes, doctoral students fulfil the requirements of the ZEW qualification standards.

The first year mainly consists of compulsory courses at CDSE or CDSB at the University of Mannheim. During this time, doctoral students are supported by a scholarship. At the same time, students are expected to attend research seminars at ZEW and be involved in the activities of the ZEW research unit in which they wish to continue their studies after the compulsory course phase. From the second year onwards, postgraduate students will be fully integrated in one of ZEW’s research units and, in addition to their doctorate, have the opportunity to gain expertise in economic policy advising. In this phase, they are required to attend elective courses offered in the form of ZEW summer courses and elective courses at the University of Mannheim.

How to apply:

Staff member in a ZEW research unit and obtaining the doctoral degree from one of the other partner universities

Doctoral students choosing this option will hold a full-time position as a ZEW researcher from the first year on, in which they will be involved in project work. With the help of the heads of the ZEW research units and experienced senior researchers, doctoral students will be able to draw inspiration for their doctoral thesis from the research projects they get to work on. Once the topic of the doctoral thesis has been decided upon, a supervisor will be found at either a German or foreign university. The ongoing development of the dissertation is based on the regulations for doctoral studies at the university in question, supported by the qualification standards at ZEW.

ZEW has contacts to German and foreign universities at which the completion of a doctorate is generally possible, including the universities of Heidelberg or Frankfurt. The list of foreign universities cooperating closely with ZEW includes KU Leuven, Maastricht University, the University of Luxembourg, and the University of Zürich.

How to apply:


Human Resources Officer "General Services"

Phone: +49 (0)621 1235-250