Focus on marketing science at 103rd Dies Natalis

Marketing science took central stage at Erasmus University Rotterdam’s 103rd Dies Natalis (anniversary celebrations) on Tuesday, 8 November 2016. Two prominent American researchers in this field, Dan Ariely and John Hauser, were granted honorary doctorates. Rector Magnificus Prof. Huibert Pols introduced the Erasmus Initiatives, i.e. three multi-disciplinary projects researching issues in the fields of health, urbanisation and ‘inclusive’ growth. 

Erasmus University celebrated its 103rd anniversary on Tuesday, 8 November. Its theme was “Consumer Behaviour in the Digital Economy”. This year’s Dies Natalis celebrations were devoted to marketing science, a research discipline at which both the Erasmus School of Economics and the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), excel. 

Honorary doctorates 
During the ceremony, two American academics were presented with honorary doctorates. John Hauser (Kirin Professor of Marketing at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management) received an honorary doctorate because of his contributions to marketing research and the key part he has played in the consolidation of marketing science as a science discipline.

For his part, Dan Ariely (James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University) was awarded a doctorate because of the impact and valorisation of the outcomes of his innovative research in the field of ‘consumer decision making’. 

In his speech, John Hauser discussed the development of marketing science, from the first use of statistics to digitisation. According to Hauser, the next step will be ‘machine learning’, i.e., getting an exact idea of what individual consumers want on the basis of all sorts of data. “The new frontier combines machines and humans to get the clearest possible picture of what consumers want in new products.”

Dan Ariely talked about on human behaviour and irrationality. According to him, a consumer is not a ‘homo economicus’ who always makes perfect decisions. “People behave irrationally. That offers room for improvement.” People can be encouraged to change their behaviour by making things explicitly visible, Ariely said. 

Introducing the Erasmus Initiatives
Rector Magnificus Prof. Huibert Pols introduced the Erasmus Initiatives, i.e. three multi-disciplinary projects researching issues in the fields of health, urbanisation and “inclusive” growth. We want our research, our education, our university to matter, even more than it does now”, Prof. Pols said. “The interconnection with our social environment is – literally – the foundation of our University.” 
Erasmus University researchers representing several disciplines will collaborate to tackle a number of major societal issues – issues to which Erasmus University academics with their specific expertise are able to make a major contribution. 

The three Erasmus Initiatives are entitled ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’, ‘Smart Cities and Citizens’ and ‘Inclusive Growth’. Questions to be answered include How to deal with the increasing demand for health care in a time of budget constraints? What does the growth of increasingly large agglomerations mean to those living in cities? How to retain things such as social cohesion? 

The Executive Board will invest a total of 12.6 million euros in the Erasmus Initiatives, with individual faculties adding supplementary contributions of their own. In addition, the Erasmus Trustfonds will be closely involved in the collaboration. 

During the celebrations in the auditorium, EUR alumna Neelie Kroes gave a guest speech on the opportunities that digitization (the fourth Industrial Revolution) offers to connect people with each other. Saskia Krijger was presented with the Athena Prize.
For all the information on the 103rd Dies Natalis, please visit this site

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