Digitalisation and COVID-19 Are Changing the Working World

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Ninth Call for Submissions to the Research Award for the Promotion of Young Academics

In addition to prize money, the award also includes a research stay at ZEW Mannheim.

In 2021, the Volksbank Weinheim Stiftung and ZEW Mannheim will present the “Future of the Working World” research award for the ninth time. The award aims to honour outstanding doctoral and master’s theses in economics completed at universities and non-university research institutions in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. The award for the best dissertation is endowed with 3,000 euros. The best master’s thesis is rewarded with 2,000 euros. The award also includes the opportunity for a research stay at ZEW. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2021.

What are the effects of the COVID-19 crisis? How is digitalisation changing the world of work? To what extent are working conditions in companies and sectors changing? What are the effects of the increasing trend towards working from home? These are just some of the questions that may be addressed by the submissions that the research award will honour again this year. Practice-relevant theses on a broad range of topics can be submitted until 31 October 2021. They must have been completed at a university or non-university research institution, preferably in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region (Mannheim, Heidelberg or Landau). Decisive factors taken into account by the jury include scientific excellence, practical relevance, a strong empirical focus, a high utility value resulting from an innovative solution and the originality of the topic. “With this award, the foundation and ZEW support young economists working in a highly topical field of research. The coronavirus pandemic has made this very clear. Through increasing digitalisation and remote working, the pandemic has set in motion a dynamic whose effects on the world of work are yet to be properly understood through intensive scientific analysis,” explains Thomas Kohl, managing director of ZEW and member of the jury.

Interested young economists are invited to submit their theses to the Volksbank Weinheim Stiftung. To qualify for the research award, the submitted doctoral theses must be rated as “very good”, and master’s theses with a grade of at least 1.7. Furthermore, the submitted theses must have been graded between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021. Submissions may come from the master’s student or doctoral candidate themselves or be put forward by their supervising professor.

Please send all submissions as a PDF file to: