Business Administration and Economics

At the end of 2004, the Universities of Duisburg-Essen, Bochum and Dortmund established a joint doctoral programme in Economics in cooperation with the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI). Since 2008, the Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ) has been partly financed by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as one of 17 NRW Research Schools. Financial support from private sponsors is also used to fund doctoral scholarships. Every year, the RGS Econ admits up to eight national and international doctoral students. They receive a full scholarship to enable them to focus on their research and complete their doctoral studies quickly and under ideal conditions. The programme focuses on theoretical modelling, econometric tools and empirical analyses of policy issues. In addition to financial support, the doctoral students also benefit from work in small groups, close supervision, structured training and research, and access to national and international research networks. In the first year, students remain at the RWI and complete a challenging schedule of courses, after which they transfer to their supervisor’s university. Research topics include investigation of the economic perspectives of aging economies and the need for reform in the social security system. In their work, the young researchers employ advanced research tools, including experimental economics and applied general equilibrium models. Since 2005, the annual one-week Ruhr Graduate Summer School has been held on the Essen Campus and also attracts doctoral students from other universities at home and abroad.
Several success stories testify to the high standard of this programme. Numerous graduates have had their findings published in internationally renowned economics journals, successfully contributed to international conferences and received academic awards for their work. The first RGS Econ graduates have also gained positions at renowned foreign research institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Universities of Maastricht and Melbourne. Soon after its establishment, the RGS Econ became one of the top locations for higher research in economics in Germany. The pooling of resources across the three Ruhr universities and close cooperation with the RWI have paved the way to this success.