A core task of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) is to support young talents and to prepare them for the work in economics. On the 9th of May 2009, the ZEW invited very special talents under the motto "experiencing research". Around 180 teenagers of a migratory background were given the possibility to take a very close look at the work of an economic research institute.

The teenagers are scholarship holders in the programme "Talents in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg". With this programme, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Federal State Foundation of Baden-Württemberg support talented students aged thirteen to twenty, who live in Baden-Württemberg but whose families come from abroad. In addition to the scholarship, the programme provides a wide range of events and activities, such as the visit at the ZEW.

On Saturday morning, the scholarship holders were invited to attend lectures and hold personal conversation with young as well as experienced researchers to get an insight in empirical economic research. Moreover, they were given an introduction to the research departments, the tasks and the objectives of the ZEW. After the lunch break the agenda featured several workshops. ZEW researchers discussed current issues, such as the causes of the financial market crisis, the procedures of emissions trading on an EU level or why money is donated for charity. The students were actively involved in the workshops via, on the one hand, brief experiments covering for example the customers' willingness to pay or the donation habits of individuals, and via discussions on the other hand.

"The motivation for the ZEW to organise this day in cooperation with the Federal State Foundation Baden-Württemberg and the Robert Bosch Foundation originates in the idea of sensibilising the students for economic interrelations and to show them that research and science can actually be fun," says Thomas Kohl, director of business and administration at the ZEW. This was very successful, as the students’ feedback shows:

"It was very nice to meet so many old friends from the scholarship programme at the ZEW. Time flies by so quickly in be-tween the scholarship events." Viorel, 19 years old, Technical Grammar School, Lörrach, Germany.

"The wide variety of workshops was a great opportunity to get an idea of the work of a researcher. After all, economics is not at all as dry as I always thought." Victoria, 19 years old, Markgrafen Grammar School, Karlsruhe, Germany.


Kathrin Böhmer, Phone: +49/621/1235-103, E-Mail: boehmer@zew.de