Right at the beginning of the 2018 business year, ZEW was successful in taking an important step: The German Science Council recommended to the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of the Federal Government and the Länder that market and institutional design be funded permanently at ZEW. This confirms the institute’s view that market and institutional design is becoming increasingly important both as an object of scientific research and as an instrument of economic policy advice.
“With regard to its orientation, ZEW continues to develop innovatively. The strategic expansion of our institute into a competence centre for market and institutional design is in full swing. The aim is to further incorporate the topic of market design into the research units of ZEW, for example in the form of new junior research groups, two of which have already taken up their work on the ‘Economics of Public Procurement' and ‘Digital Market Design’,” says ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach.
By setting the focus on digitisation, the newly designed ZEW Annual Report 2018 takes into account global trends such as the advancing digital change. Professor Irene Bertschek, head of ZEW’s Research Department “Digital Economy”, says: “Thanks to our evidence-based research profile, we are a central point of contact in Germany and Europe, while also carrying out projects for ministries to evaluate Germany as a digital location. Only if we understand how digitalisation influences economic processes can we shape the framework conditions for the digital economy in such a way that it promotes growth and prosperity in Germany and Europe.”
ZEW increases its visibility in Germany and abroad
As part of the redesign of the Annual Report, other so-called megatrends of global significance such as the energy transition, questions of European integration or demographic change will be addressed as focus topics in the future ZEW annual reports. By restructuring the “Social Policy and Distribution” Research Department in 2018, ZEW took account of the sustainable structural and social changes brought about by demographic change. Headed by Professor Sebastian Siegloch, the department is devoted to questions of income and wealth distribution as well as the economic effects of redistribution through tax and transfer systems. The findings from research conducted by the department are intended to serve as a reliable basis for tax and social policy recommendations.
By pursuing two key objectives – conducting policy-related research and providing science-based policy advice – ZEW was also able to increase its visibility in Germany and abroad. In collaboration with more than 300 international cooperation partners ZEW worked on around 230 research projects. ZEW employees completed more than 90 research and guest stays worldwide, while a total of 44 conferences and workshops were organised at ZEW, which brought researchers from Germany and abroad to the Mannheim-based institute.
In 2018, ZEW was once again successful in promoting young talent. At the final of Germany’s largest high school competition on global future issues in Hamburg – the YES! – Young Economic Summit – the student team from the Fritz-Erler-Gymnasium in Pforzheim mentored by Dr. Holger Stichnoth, deputy head of the ZEW Research Department “Social Policy and Redistribution”, won first place. As in the previous year, a team mentored by ZEW prevailed against strong competitors from all over Germany.