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Research at ESMT Berlin consistently attracts grants from a variety of funding sources. These grants are essential for fostering progress, as they support the advancement of teaching and learning innovation, academic research, and collaborative projects. The grants department facilitates the procurement and management of external grants that support the mission of ESMT.


Grant projects at ESMT Berlin

  • ERC Starting Grant: Digital platforms - Pricing, variety and quality provision

    Digital platforms: Pricing, variety and quality provision

    Funding type: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

    Funding period:  2020-2025, the new beneficiary is the European University Institute (EUI) as of September 2023

    Research team: Özlem Bedre-Defolie (ESMT Berlin), Willy Lefez (ESMT Berlin), Atara Oliver (former ESMT Berlin)

    Digital platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba, Google, have become important global players. Their practices have led to significant anti-trust and regulatory scrutiny, and interventions. The existing theoretical models are not suited for the analysis of most of digital platforms as they fail to capture their important aspects and dynamics. This project’s first goal is to develop tractable and applicable models of markets with digital platforms capturing their unique features. The second goal is to investigate the implications of digital platforms’ business practices on prices, variety and quality provision to buyers, on small rivals, and on potential platform entry. The findings of this project will highlight potential distortions in these multi-billion markets and ultimately suggest effective policy recommendations for competition policy in digital markets, which can greatly improve consumer welfare in the EU.

    More detailed information can be found on the official project website.

  • DEval and BMZ: Evaluation of a digital skills program for TVET teachers in Rwanda

    Evaluation of a digital skills program for TVET teachers in Rwanda

    Funding type: Research grant supported by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

    Funding period: 2023-2025

    Research team: Rajshri Jayaraman (ESMT Berlin), Sneha Menon (ESMT Berlin), Matthias Schündel (Goethe University Frankfurt)

    Working together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the government of Rwanda, a nation-wide digital skills training program for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) teachers in Rwanda will be evaluated.

    The research project will evaluate the impact of the digital skills training program on teachers’ digital and pedagogical competence, their teaching practice, and students’ test scores. In addition, the researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of various randomly assigned behavioral incentives to motivate teachers to complete the program. Results from this project will flow into future program designs in Rwanda as well as scaling and replication in other regions of the world.  

  • European Union H2020: EQUAL4EUROPE - Gender equality standards for AHMSSBL institutions throughout Europe

    EQUAL4EUROPE: Gender equality standards for AHMSSBL institutions throughout Europe

    Funding type: EU Horizon 2020 Framework Program​​​, Coordination and Support Action ​​​

    Funding period: 2020-2023

    Research team: Monica Perez (former ESMT Berlin), Friederike Kreßner (former ESMT Berlin), Amelie Eckersley (former ESMT Berlin)

    Cooperating institutions and partners: ESADE (coordinator), Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Comenius University Bratislava, IEDC Bled School of Management, ESMT Berlin, INSEAD, EFMD, PNO Consultants.

    The EQUAL4EUROPE project, comprising eight research institutions and accreditation organizations, aims at removing barriers to the recruitment, retention, and career progression of female researchers. Within the four-year project, ESMT will focus on the identification and evaluation of gender issues.

    Women in the EU still account for only 33 percent of overall and 24 percent of top-level (grade A) researchers according to EU statistics. In order to bring about sustainable cultural and institutional change, the research institutions will develop and implement evidence-based gender equality plans as well as establish best practices and recommendations for others. In addition, the accreditation organizations plan to include the project results into their international standards.

    More detailed information can be found on the official project website.

  • DFG research grant: Diagnostic accuracy under accumulated pressure

    Diagnostic accuracy under accumulated pressure

    Funding type: DFG research grant

    Funding period:  2023-2025 

    Research team: Francis de Véricourt, (ESMT Berlin), Hossein Nikpayam (ESMT Berlin), Mirko Kremer, (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt)

    This project aims at understanding how time pressure in the form of congestion and task accumulation affects the accuracy and cost of diagnostic decisions.  

    The management of diagnostic processes requires decision makers (DM) to dynamically balance the benefit of acquiring more diagnostic information against the cost of doing so. Yet, little is known about the effect of this prevalent form of time pressure on the behavior of decision-makers and the overall performance of diagnostic processes. 

    The goal of the research is to advance the behavioral operations literature by filling this gap. Specifically, the research aims to 1) uncover cognitive biases associated with running diagnostic processes under congestion, 2) measure their effects on the resulting diagnostic accuracy and cost, and 3) propose possible avenues to mitigate these biases. 

  • DFG research grant: The use of Markush structures in pharmaceutical patenting and their effect on R&D competition in drug development

    The use of Markush structures in pharmaceutical patenting and their effect on R&D competition in drug development

    Funding type: DFG research grant

    Funding period: 2021-2024

    Research team: Stefan Wagner (ESMT Berlin), Nate Jingze Niu (ESMT Berlin)

    Markush structures are molecular skeletons that contain not only specific atoms but also include several placeholders which represent a set of broad set of chemical (sub) structures. They are used by pharmaceutical companies to claim a large class of compounds without the necessity of writing out every fully defined single chemical entity in a patent application. For instance, it has been estimated that the Markush structures claimed within a single patent underlying a blockbuster drug (the European patent EP 0810 209 protects the HIV drug “Prezista”) contain a total of 7*10^13 different compounds. While advantageous for pharmaceutical companies, the use of Markush structures in patent claims has sparked controversial debates amongst policy makers and practitioners.

    The project aims to provide first evidence on the use and effect of Markush structures in the pharmaceutical industry. It compiles a comprehensive data set linking information on Markush structures contained in pharmaceutical patents to study how Markush structures affect innovation related outcomes including the intensity of horizontal and vertical R&D competition.

  • DFG collaborative research center: TRR 266 Accounting for transparency

    Accounting for transparency

    Funding type: DFG transregional collaborative research center

    Funding period: 2019-2023

    Research team: Per Olsson (ESMT Berlin)

    Cooperating institutions: Humboldt University Berlin, University of Mannheim, Paderborn University (project leads), LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Goethe University Frankfurt

    Sub-project title: Transparency and the equity market

    The TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency is a transregional Collaborative Research Center funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The team of more than 80 researchers examines how accounting and taxation affect firm and regulatory transparency and how regulation and transparency impact the economy and society. They intend to help develop effective regulation for firm transparency and a transparent tax system.

    The relevance of these topics has increased since the global financial crisis of 2007 and the resulting demands for greater transparency. Calls for increased transparency are omnipresent, particularly after the recent series of financial crises and public outrage about specific multinational firms that do not pay their fair share of taxes. The Collaborative Research Center TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency intends to help develop effective regulation for firm transparency and a transparent tax system. To this end, the Center's research aims to make an important contribution to increase trust in business and politics. To answer the research questions the researchers will account for the interaction of competing incentives from different areas (managerial accounting, financial accounting and taxation) and conduct the research collaboratively within a team of researchers with diverse areas of expertise.

    The sub-project Transparency and the Equity Market by Per Olsson (ESMT Berlin) and Sönke Sievers (Paderborn University) reinvestigates how financial reporting transparency can be measured in the equity market. 

    More information is available on the official website of the Collaborative Research Center and the TRR 266 YouTube Channel.

  • DFG research grant: The social process of innovation

    The social process of innovation: The role of novelty and social cues in idea evaluation

    Funding type: DFG research grant

    Funding period: 2018-2022

    Research team: Linus Dahlander (ESMT Berlin), Arne Thomas (former ESMT Berlin)

    This research project sought to push the study of innovation. It aimed to advance the understanding of an important, yet understudied, phase of the innovation process: the evaluation of ideas proposed for innovation. To understand why some ideas gain support while others do not, the focus was on (1) the role of idea novelty and (2) the role of social cues in the idea evaluation process. It intended to provide causal evidence on how managers evaluate ideas, therefore two field experiments within two organizations where employees generate ideas for innovation and senior managers evaluate them and decide on their implementation will be conducted.

    The project advanced theory on idea novelty and social cues, and pushed the research frontier by combining methods from computer science with field experimental designs enabling causal inference.

  • ERC Starting Grant: Behavioral theory and economic applications

    Behavioral theory and economic applications

    Funding type: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

    Funding period: 2012-2017

    Research team: Botond Kőszegi (Principal Investigator), Paul Heidhues (former ESMT Berlin)

    Cooperating institution: Kozep-Europai Egyetem (CEU), Budapest

    The European Research Council (ERC) bestowed a team of researchers including former ESMT Professor and Lufthansa Chair in Competition and Regulation Paul Heidhues a starting grant for five years. The team, led by Professor Botond Köszegi of Central European University and Berkeley, researched “Behavioral theory and economic applications.” Professor Heidhues explored the implications for market outcomes, welfare, and policy when consumers mis-perceive certain aspects of products or contracts. Established by the European Commission, the ERC encourages the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and supports frontier research across all fields on the basis of scientific excellence. 

  • European Union FP7 ITN: Consumer competence research training

    Consumer competence research training (CONCORT)

    Funding type: EU Seventh Framework Program, Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN)

    Funding period: 2011-2015

    Research team: Francine Espinoza Petersen (former ESMT Berlin), Ning Chen, Cara de Boer

    Cooperating institutions: Academic partners: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Utrecht University, INSEAD, London Business School

    Corporate partners: Tobii, VicarVision, Philips

    Consumer science is touching the lives of 493 million EU consumers with their consumption representing 58% of the EU GDP, yet the insights of consumer research typically fail to have a substantial impact on consumer welfare. Consumer research is scattered across several disciplines in the social sciences with little communication occurring between research and practice.

    The Consumer competence research training (CONCORT) tackled these issues, abandoning the marketing perspective of the persuasive agent trying to affect consumer decisions, and aimed to pioneer research from the consumer perspective. The project partners studied consumer competence, a broad set of abilities, intuitions, knowledge and skills consumers need in order to make decisions that help them navigate successfully in the economic environment.

    The aim of the CONCORT project was to train 14 Early Stage Researchers in this new perspective, in 8 high level partners: three business schools, two broad universities, and three corporate partners. ESMT supervised two Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), who were funded by the CONCORT grant.

  • European Union FP7 IEF: Researching Consumer Perceived Ethicality (CPE) of Companies and Brands

    Researching consumer perceived ethicality (CPE) of companies and brands

    Funding type: EU Seventh Framework Program, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF)

    Funding period: 2012-2014

    Research team: CB Bhattacharya (former ESMT Berlin), Katja H. Brunk

    Issues such as corporate social responsibility and business ethics have increasingly taken center stage in today’s society. While researchers agree that consumers react negatively/positively to companies they perceive as un/ethical, the actual question of what evokes such a negative or positive perception has not been investigated. To this day, little is known about how moral equity is generated and emerges in the consumer’s mind. 

    The project redressed this research imbalance. In order to better understand the link between un/ethical corporate conduct

    and consumer responses, the question of how ethical perceptions are formed and affected by corporate behaviour was brought into focus. The research facilitated much-needed theory building and deeper insight into consumer reactions to corporate ethics, corporate social responsibility, or corporate reputation efforts.

  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: Secure digital identities

    Secure digital identities

    Funding type: Scientific support, networking, and transfer of results for the Secure Digital Identities Showcase innovation competition 

    Funding period: 2021-2024

    Research team: Digital Socity Institute 

    Cooperating institutions: Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Nimbus Technologieberatung GmbH

    The accompanying research for the "Secure Digital Identities" showcase program will help the projects to achieve the goals of the initiative. It will support the program in identifying cross-cutting issues of secure digital identities beyond the individual projects and finding solutions for all of them. It will promote the transfer of the work of the project networks to industry, administration and science. Finally, the accompanying research will demonstrate the opportunities offered by secure digital identities to experts and the general public alike.

    The projects will receive extensive support, establishing a wide network of contacts , they will be provided with high-quality expertise, and  the results of the showcase program will be communicated to the relevant circles. In addition to the selected showcase projects, the accompanying research is also available to other funding projects commissioned by the BMWi with its services, if required.

    More information is available on the official “Secure Digital Identities” website of the BMWi.

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research: Systematization of IT security law - ITSRsys

    Systematization of IT security law - ITSRsys

    Funding type: Research Framework Programme of the German Federal Government on IT Security Self-Determined and Secure in the Digital World

    Funding period: 2020-2023

    Research team: Digital Society Institute

    Cooperating institutions: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Institut für Informations- und Wirtschaftsrecht (IIWR)

    Subproject: Classification of systems and inclusion of the current state of the art

    IT security requirements are part of a growing number of regulations. In addition to "general" regulations, there is also "sector-specific" IT security law. In addition, there are "primary" IT security regulations that address the traditional goals of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems, as well as "secondary" regulations in which the IT security goals are a means to achieve particular subject-specific goals, such as tax secrecy or the integrity of business transactions. IT security provisions are also included in data protection law. Up to now, general and specific law are systematically related to each other only in a limited way. The rapid development of IT security law has led to inconsistencies and contradictions. This makes it more difficult to implement IT security measures and to supply compliant IT security services and IT security products. The "ITSR.sys" project developed an approach to systematize the entire legal field of IT security and develop a model of a "General IT Security Law" that spans all areas, sectors, and policy fields.  

  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: Energy trading via blockchain-technology in the local green grid

    ETIBLOGG - Energy trading via blockchain-technology in the local green grid

    Funding type: German federal ministry's program “Smart Service Welt II”

    Funding period: 2018-2021

    Research team: Christoph Burger (ESMT Berlin), Jens Weinmann (ESMT Berlin)

    Cooperating institutions: GETEC Energie AG, Mixed Mode GmbH, PONTON GmbH, Fraunhofer IISB, consider it GmbH, NXP Semiconductors Germany GmbH, Universität Hamburg

    Subproject: Internationale experiences and best practices: Blockchain in the energy sector

    The transformation of electricity supply from a uni-directional transmission and distribution network to a smart grid is an important step towards achieving the climate protection goals and reducing the use of fossil fuels. The project ETIBLOGG addresses essential elements of this change and tests market mechanisms and the required IT infrastructure, based on the decentralized ledger technology Blockchain.

    International best practices are identified and summarized in a benchmark study concluding with concrete recommendations for action and lessons learned, both in the promotion of specific business models and regulatory frameworks. In cooperation with Hamburg University and two corporate partners, potential use cases and business strategies are then operationalized and applied to the market platform of ETIBLOGG, given the German regulatory context.

  • DFG collaborative research center: TRR 190 Rationality and competition - the economic performance of individuals and firms

    Rationality and competition: The economic performance of individuals and firms

    Funding type: DFG collaborative research center

    Funding period: 2017-2020

    Research team: Rajshri Jayaraman (ESMT Berlin), Florian Englmaier (Ludiwg-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

    Collaborating institutions: Ludiwg-Maximilians-Universität Munich (coordinator), Humboldt-Universität Berlin, 

    Technische Universität Berlin, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institut – Leibniz Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Max-Planck-Institut für Innovation und Wettbewerb, Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung 

    Subproject title: Incentive design in the presence of social preferences

    The sub-project by Prof Jayaraman and Prof. Englmaier focused on the human resource management practices in firms. A firm’s ability to compete effectively on product markets depends crucially on its success in attracting, retaining, and motivating productive workers in competitive labor markets. Standard economic models focus on the design of incentive mechanisms that are based on monetary rewards. While these are clearly important, the standard model has, until relatively recently, failed to incorporate the presence of social preferences of workers, including fairness, reciprocity, identity and peer effects in the workplace. The project examined the effects of diverse human resource management (HRM) practices - such as incentive pay, screening for traits, or team based work organization - on worker productivity, and thereby firm competitiveness, whilst accounting for the possibility that workers are motivated not only by financial considerations but also by social preferences.

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