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28 November 2005

Positive Response to Plans for the Future of Economics in Heidelberg

Economics indispensable for the profile of the University but needs a new strategic orientation — Recommendations from the commission of experts asked to look into the matter by the University Council — Positive response from University economists, students, Rectorate, Senate and the University Council

A high-ranking commission of experts was asked to consider the issue of the future of economics at the University of Heidelberg after the Rectorate had requested the University Council and the Senate to vet the scheme for "integrated economics" and these two bodies had assessed it as a promising perspective for the subject. In its extensive report the commission wholeheartedly supports this venture and gives valuable recommendations on how to ensure the success of this new venture.

The general idea is for interdisciplinary networking and theory-guided empiricism to be given greater emphasis in economics as taught and studied at the University. Closer commitment to interdisciplinary research has been initiated by the implementation of the strategy process. In future the four central thematic concerns environment and resources, labour and human capital, development and transformation and economics of governance are to be grouped under the heading of "Political Economics". The focus of research on these subjects is to be geared to the theoretical and methodological perspectives provided by institutional and behavioural economics. In the opinion of the experts these two approaches hold out highly promising prospects for the future. Existing resources, including staff, are adequate to support this change of perspective.

In the teaching sphere the commission recommends the introduction of a BA course, various MA courses and a PhD programme. The BA course will provide students with sound core competencies and at the same time convey to them the advantages of interdisciplinary approaches and open-mindedness. In-depth pursuit of the interdisciplinary approach will be a central component in the MA courses.

In its essentials, the "Political Economics" idea with its links to political sciences, sociology, psychology, law and many other subjects has received a very positive response from the Heidelberg economists, the students, the Rectorate, the Senate and the University Council. The commission of experts is convinced that their proposals on "Political Economics" in Heidelberg can contribute to an enhancement of academic excellence at the University as a whole, in accordance with the requirements set out in the Strategy Paper.

Oliver Fink

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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