The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim is a nonprofit and independent institute with the legal form of a limited liability company (GmbH). Founded in 1990 on the basis of a public-private initiative in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in co-operation with the University of Mannheim, ZEW is one of Germany's leading economic research institutes, and enjoys a strong reputation throughout Europe.
ZEW pursues four key objectives:
- To conduct research of the highest quality
- To provide exceptional economic policy advising
- To train young economists, and
- To inform the professional and lay public
The Institute focuses on decision-makers in politics, economics, and administration, scientists in the national and international arena as well as the interested public. Regular interviews on the situation on the financial markets and the economic situation of the information industry as well as the large-scale annual study on innovation activities in the German economy are representative for the different types of information provided by ZEW.
Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Franz, the president of the Institute, and Thomas Kohl, the director of business and administration, ZEW currently employs a staff of 183 in five research departments, three research groups, and three service areas.
In order to ensure a high standard of excellence in research, ZEW promotes international co-operation with universities (e.g. integration in doctoral programmes) and the ongoing development of its staff by granting periods of paid release from normal project work. These sabbaticals can be used for postgraduate doctorates, postdoctoral theses, or fellowships at renowned universities and research institutions.
The high quality of ZEW's research work was confirmed in 1998, when the German Council of Science and Humanities evaluated ZEW and recommended its inclusion in the joint state and federal funding programme. Since 2005, the Institute has received basic funding from this programme. ZEW is a member of the Leibniz Association, a network of research institutes with outstanding scientific qualifications.
An excellent evaluation result in 2009 characterised the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) as an institution of international significance. Due to this assessment, the Leibniz-Association Senate recommended to the German federal and state governments to promote ZEW according to national strategies of science policy. The senate explicitly stated that "ZEW is an extraordinarily successful institute of empirical economic research with great prospects".