Members of the Commission of Experts

Prof. Dr. Irene Bertschek (Vice Chair)

Head of the Digital Economy research unit at the ZEW Mannheim and professor at the University of Gießen

Prof. Dr. Irene Bertschek has been a member of the German Federal Government’s Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation since 1 May 2019.

Since 2001, she has headed the ‘Digital Economy’ research unit at the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. She has also held the professorship in ‘Economy of Digitalization’ at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen since 2017.

After studying economics at the University of Mannheim (Diploma) and the Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (Master of Arts), majoring in econometrics and industrial economics, Dr. Irene Bertschek received her doctorate from the Université catholique de Louvain as part of the European Doctoral Programme. During this time, she undertook research assignments at CREST-INSEE in Paris and at the Humboldt University Berlin. She has been working at the ZEW since 1999. From 2011 to 2017, she was Professor of Applied Empirical Economic Research at the University of Mannheim.

Her research focuses on how digitalization changes economic processes and how it affects the productivity and innovation behaviour of businesses. Her methodological expertise lies in applied microeconometrics and the analysis of company-level data.

She works on numerous national and international economic research projects. She contributes her expertise to high-ranking advisory bodies for science and politics. She is, among other things, vice-president of the steering group of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s National Science Programme ‘Digital Change’ and a member of the Learning Systems Platform at acatech, the German Academy of Science and Engineering. Since 2022, she has also been a member of the Federal Chancellor’s Future Council, which makes proposals to strengthen resilience and technological sovereignty in key enabling technologies and in digitalization.

Prof. Dr. Guido Bünstorf

Professor of Economics and head of the Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the University of Kassel

Prof. Dr. Guido Bünstorf has been a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation since August 2022.

Since 2010, Dr. Bünstorf has been Professor of Economics and head of the Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the University of Kassel, where he also serves on the executive board of the International Center for Higher Education Research (INCHER) and as spokesperson of the Graduate School in Economic Behavior and Governance.

Dr. Bünstorf studied economics and political science at the University of Freiburg (Breisgau) and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He received his doctorate and habilitation from Friedrich Schiller University Jena and was research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Economics. Dr. Bünstorf was a visiting reseacher at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of California (Berkeley) as well as Stanford University. From 2016 to 2021 he held a visiting professorship at the University of Gothenburg, to which he is currently affiliated as a member of the advisory board of the Centre on Knowledge-Intensive Innovation Ecosystems (U-GOT KIES).

Dr. Bünstorf’s research focuses on the economics of innovation, higher education and science, as well as entrepreneurship research and regional economics. He is particularly interested in the evolutionary dynamics of innovative markets and industries, processes of person-to-person knowledge transfer based on individual mobility across organizations, regions and countries, and the experimental assessment of online training targeting potential and actual entrepreneurs.

Dr. Bünstorf’s work has been published in prestigious journals and he was awarded several prizes for his research. He is co-initiator of a research group on multiple competitions in higher education sponsored by the German Research Foundation as well as associate editor of the journal Industrial and Corporate Change.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Cantner (Chairman)

Professor of Economics/Microeconomics at the  Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Prof. Uwe Cantner has been a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation since December 2015. He became chair of the Commission in May 2019.

He holds the chair of Economics/Microeconomics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, where he is also Vice President for Young Researchers and Diversity Management. Furthermore, he is Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. Dr. CAntner taught as visiting professor at the Collegio Carlo Albert in Turin, Italy, as well as at various universities in France.

He was and is head of several committees such as the Joseph A. Schumpeter Society, which he headed in 2013/2014. From 2005 to 2011, he was deputy head of the Governing Boards of the DIME EU Network of Excellence (Dynamics of Institutions and Markets in Europe). He was chairman of the scientific advisory board of the Halle Institute of Economic Research (IWH) from 2012 to 2016.

Dr. Cantner is member of the scientific commission of the Mannheim Innovation Panel at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Director of the Jena Graduate School “Human Behaviour in Social and Economic Change”, member of the Board of Directors of the “Schumpeter Centre for the Study of Social and Economic Change” and member of the scientific commission of the Einstein Foundation Berlin.

Dr. Cantner is editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Economics and co-editor of numerous other publications. To date, he has published six books and more than hundred scientific essays in international journals.

He studied at the universities of Augsburg and Detroit, earned his doctorate at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich and qualified as a professor at the University of Augsburg.

His research focuses on innovation economics in the fields of entrepreneurship and start-ups, clusters, networks and transfers, industrial dynamics, radical and transformative change, science and higher education, indicators, and research and innovation policy.

Prof. Dr. Carolin Häussler

Professor of Organization, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the University Passau

Prof. Dr. Carolin Häussler has been a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, appointed by the German Federal Government, since 1 May 2019.

Dr. Carolin Häussler holds the Chair of Organization, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Passau. She also runs the International Centre for Economics and Business Studies, which she founded.

Her research focuses on innovation management and entrepreneurship. The gene scissors CRISPR/CAS, the rapidly advancing digitalisation or the increasingly public science - the so-called Open Science - are just a few examples of how research progress is continuously changing the world of life and business. Professor Häussler is interested in the interfaces at which this happens and how new findings are translated into new technologies. In particular, she examines the interfaces between universities, entrepreneurs, large companies and political decision-makers in order to optimise them. Her work has been published in renowned journals and has been awarded prestigious prizes. She works for public and private organisations as a scientific advisor and as a mentor for various start-ups. In recent years, her teaching has been intensively dedicated to the development of interdisciplinary study programmes in the field of Digital Technology and Entrepreneurship and in contributing to the DFG Research Training Group 2720 on “Digital Platform Ecosystems”.

Dr. Häussler studied business administration at LMU Munich and as a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also studied and later worked as a lecturer at the Centre for Digital Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDTM) at TU Munich and LMU Munich. She did her PhD at LMU Munich and also completed her “Habilitation” there with a thesis on incentives, preferences and opportunities in innovation processes. She was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph M. Schmidt

President of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and chairholder of Economic Policy and Applied Econometrics at Ruhr University Bochum

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph Schmidt has been a member of the German Federal Government’s Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation since 1 May 2024.

He has been President of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research in Essen since 2002 and also holds the Chair of Economic Policy and Applied Econometrics at the Faculty of Economics at Ruhr University Bochum.

Dr. Schmidt studied economics at the University of Mannheim, received his doctorate from Princeton University in 1991, habilitated at the University of Munich in 1995 and held the Chair of Econometrics at the University of Heidelberg from 1995 to 2002.

His work focuses on applied econometrics and the point of intersection between research and science-based policy advice. He was editor of the Journal of Population Economics (1996 to 2002), the German Economic Review (2009 to 2013) and Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik (2023 to 2024). In 2016, the Verein für Socialpolitik awarded him its Gustav Stolper Prize, and in 2019 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Economics at Leibniz Universität Hannover. In 2022, he received the Innovation Award of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in the ‘Honorary Award’ category and in 2024 the ‘Social Market Economy Award’ of the WPCD (Wirtschaftspolitischer Club Deutschland e.V.).

Dr. Schmidt was and is a member of numerous committees: from 2009 to 2020 on the German Council of Economic Experts, from 2013 to 2020 as its chairman; from 2011 to 2013 on the German Bundestag's Enquete Commission ‘Growth, Prosperity, Quality of Life’; from 2019 to 2022 on the Franco-German Council of Economic Experts, since 2020 as its co-chairman; since 2011 on acatech - National Academy of Science and Engineering, since 2014 as a member of its Executive Committee and since 2020 as vice president; since 2020 at the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; since 2014 on the Board of Trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, since 2020 as deputy chairman; since 2016 on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation; since 2020 on the committee of experts of the Joint Science Conference's (GWK) programme for promoting top-level research at universities (‘Excellence Strategy’); since 2021 on the Supervisory Board of BMW AG.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friederike Welter

Full-time president of the IfM Bonn and Professor of Business Administration, in particular of SME Management and Entrepreneurship at the University Siegen

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friederike Welter has been a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation since August 2022.

Dr. Welter is the full-time president of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) in Bonn. At the same time, she holds the professorship for Management of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship at the University of Siegen.

Dr. Welter studied economics at the universities of Wuppertal and Bochum and completed her doctorate in Bochum where she was awarded a scholarship from the Graduate Promotion Programme of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2002, she habilitated at the University of Lüneburg.

From 1993 to 2006, she worked at the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), most recently as deputy head of the competence area “Start-ups and Business Development, Crafts, New Technologies”. From October 2004 to September 2008, she taught at the University of Siegen as a professor of General Business Administration, especially Management of Small and Medium- sized Enterprises. From October 2008 to January 2013, she worked at Jönköping International Business School in Sweden as Professor of Entrepreneurship and Associate Dean for Research. In June 2023, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow for her research on entrepreneurial SMEs and everyday entrepreneurship.

Dr. Welter is engaged in SME and entrepreneurship research. In doing so, she has worked on innovation performance in SMEs and, more specifically, on women’s innovation activity. Further areas of research include the contextual embedding of entrepreneurial activity and the social contribution of SMEs. She studies the diverse challenges for SMEs resulting from the transformation to a social-ecological market economy.

Dr. Welter is, among other things, a member of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection’s SME advisory board and chair of the ‘EXIST’ expert advisory board. She is a member of the advisory board of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and was chair of the expert panel ‘Validation of the technological and societal innovation potential of scientific research VIP/VIP+’ of the Federal Ministryof Education and Research from 2009 to 2022.

In addition to activities as senior editor of the journal Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and reviewer for various international scientific journals, she is co-editor of the book series Elgar Impact of Entrepreneurship Research Series. For her entrepreneurship and SME research, she has been appointed as a member of the Ludwig Erhard Foundation in 2023, and being inducted into the Academia Europaea in 2021.

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