PhD students who opt for this pathway will take up a position as a researcher at ZEW in their first year and participate in research projects. With the help of the ZEW research unit heads and experienced senior researchers, the PhD students will then decide on the topic of their dissertation based on the ZEW projects they have been involved in. Once the topic has been determined, a supervisor will be found at either a German or foreign university. The dissertation’s schedule depends on the requirements of the PhD programme and curriculum of the respective university, and needs to adhere to the standards of ZEW’s structured PhD programme.

ZEW is in close contact with German and foreign universities where it is generally possible to complete the dissertation, including Heidelberg University or Goethe University Frankfurt. The list of foreign universities cooperating closely with ZEW includes KU LeuvenMaastricht University, the University of Luxembourg, and the University of Zurich.

How to apply

Cooperation with a partner university

For this option, candidates need to apply to a ZEW job posting or submit a speculative application. Some of our partner universities’ PhD programmes are very demanding in terms of time and content, and may require a separate application to the university in question. The PhD programmes of our partner universities generally correspond to the standards of ZEW’s structured PhD programme with regard to compulsory and elective courses. While attending courses, the PhD students’ working time at ZEW can be adapted to individual needs.

Standards of the structured PhD programme at ZEW

  • Curriculum (course programme)
    • Compulsory courses
      • Advanced Microeconomics
      • Advanced Econometrics

Scheduled for: year one and two

  • Elective courses
  • Additional courses
  • Working at ZEW
  • "On the job" training

Integration into project work

Further PhD options

ZEW offers a second option, in which PhD students participate in the PhD track run by the University of Mannheim’s Centre for Doctoral Studies in Economics (CDSE) and Centre for Doctoral Studies in Business (CDSB) in cooperation with ZEW. In this programme, PhD students focus primarily on their compulsory courses at CDSE or CDSB during their first year.

» Further information on completing your PhD at a ZEW research unit and the University of Mannheim


Recruiting Research Units

Phone: +49 (0)621 1235-250