At its meeting on 18 May 2022, the board of the ZEW – Sponsors’ Association for Science and Practice decided to fund two scientific projects at ZEW. The board met for the first time under the chairmanship of Dr. Ralph Rheinboldt and with additional members: With now nine company representatives on the board, the Sponsors’ Association continues to expand its regional outreach and diversity and is a reflection of the outstanding companies in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.

Group picture of the ZEW Board of Sponsors.
The extended ZEW Board of Sponsors (1st row from left to right: Karin Dohm, Saori Dubourg, Manfred Bauer, Claudia Diem, Dr. Ralph Rheinboldt, 2nd row from left to right: ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach, PhD, Alexander Moser, Markus Ochsner, Dr. Ralf Krieger, ZEW Managing Director Thomas Kohl).

In the new Sponsors’ Association-funded project of Professor Friedrich Heinemann, head of ZEW’s “Corporate Taxation and Public Finance” Department, and Professor Irene Bertschek, head of ZEW’s “Digital Economy” Department, the project team scientifically monitors the German government’s plan to make the 2020s “a decade of investments for the future”. The key question is whether investments in future-oriented issues such as climate protection, digitalisation, education, research and infrastructure will indeed be increased as announced. ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach praises the project: “With this type of monitoring, we are creating more budgetary transparency on a central fiscal policy promise made by the governing parties. ZEW is thus making a tangible and important contribution in the field of research-based policy evaluation.”

In the second project funded by the Sponsors’ Association, Professor Martin Kesternich, deputy head of ZEW’s “Environmental and Climate Economics” Department, Dr. Madeline Werthschulte, senior researcher in the same department, and their research team want to help increase the efficiency of the government financed electricity saving check programme for low-income households. The focus is on energy advisors, who are to ensure that the advice given to poorer households is appropriate for the target group. The goal is to better understand the connection between characteristics and attitudes of the advisors and the success of their advisory services, which manifests itself, for example, in investments in energy-efficient household appliances. ZEW President Wambach explains: “Due to constantly rising energy prices, the burden on low-income households in particular is growing. This endangers the social participation of those affected and gives the study a special social relevance. Furthermore, the question of which characteristics of customer advisors are crucial for a successful outcome is important for every service-oriented industry. In this regard, ZEW can close an important research gap.

ZEW Managing Director Thomas Kohl thanked the ZEW Sponsors’ Association for its support. Referring to the additional board members, he said: “ZEW is proud to welcome four new members to the executive board of the Sponsors’ Association: Karin Dohm (Hornbach Baumarkt AG), Saori Dubourg (BASF SE), Alexander Moser (Roche Diabetes Care GmbH) and Markus Ochsner (ABB AG). We look forward to an intensive exchange with the new and the experienced board members and are excited to receive fresh impulses for our work.”

In addition, the following members belong to the board of the ZEW Sponsors’ Association:

  • the chairman of the board, Dr. Ralph Rheinboldt (Fuchs Petrolub SE),
  • the deputy chairman, Luka Mucic (SAP SE),
  • the treasurer, Claudia Diem (Baden-Württembergische Bank),
  • Manfred Bauer (MLP SE) and
  • Dr. Ralf Krieger (Freudenberg SE).

Following the meeting, the board of the Sponsors’ Association and other invited guests met for a confidential background discussion with Dr. Rainer Dulger, president of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA).

The members of the Sponsors’ Association, 140 companies and individuals, ensure a constant exchange between the domains of research and entrepreneurial practice. Among other things, the ZEW Sponsors’ Association provides funding for research projects and supports the organisation of lecture series with top-level speakers from the areas of politics, business and academia at ZEW.