Societal Impact

Erasmus School of Economics was founded by local businessmen in 1913. It has been aware of the need to maintain a close relationship between town and gown ever since and the ties with the local community have always been strong. The Erasmus School of Economics has invested significantly to enhance collaboration with non-academic partners and to increase its impact on society as a whole. The centennial celebrations in 2013-2014 provided an excellent occasion to tighten the relationships with various groups in society, for example, through symposia, public lectures (by faculty and alumni), workshops and exhibitions. Erasmus School of Economics has increased its effort for especially the following types of valorisation:

  • Involving third parties in research projects
  • Contributing expertise in committees and boards
  • Informing public opinion
  • Knowledge transfer through spin-off companies

Involving third parties in research projects

During the last few years all programmes were involved in large collaborative initiatives. Only a few can be mentioned here.

Applied economics

Our researchers in applied economics coordinated two large initiatives to enhance the support of research and education concerning entrepreneurship. The first was a collaboration between the three universities in the province of South Holland (in Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam) together with banks, municipalities, consultancies and others, to stimulate entrepreneurship among students and researchers. A subsequent project was focused on Rotterdam itself. Both initiatives involved multi-million euro grants from the Dutch government and included many organisations in the region. While the primary orientation of this programme was obviously rather applied, the collaboration also stimulated more fundamental research: it led to a publication in Science about the genetic foundation of a talent for entrepreneurship and a Veni grant, among other things.

Econometrics & Management science

Our management scientists expanded their long tradition of international collaboration in the area of logistics. They played a leading role in the creation of the Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics (Dinalog), a national initiative to stimulate collaborative research in logistics. Several projects were executed under the Dinalog scheme. The group also enhanced the formal ties with the city of Rotterdam and the port through the joint initiative of SMARTPORT and tightened the relationship with Dutch Rail through a multi-year agreement. NWO’s scheme for Sustainable Logistics further extended the long list of collaborative projects in this domain, as did the EU through ON-TIME: a project concerning optimal networks for train integration management across Europe with a budget exceeding 10 million euro and involving 19 organisations from seven countries. For their continuing work on integrating their research results in organisational decision making, in particular for their contribution to the new Dutch Rail time table, researchers in this group received INFORMS’ Edelmann award.

Economics

In an international project co-financed by the EU (RISK), Erasmus School of Economics’ monetary economists investigated opportunities to better assess systemic risk in the banking sector, by using extreme value analysis. The consortium included six other universities, e.g. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, London School of Economics and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The project also involved consultancies (for example, McKinsey, KPMG), banks (Banco de Sabadell, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bundesbank) and insurance companies (Zurich Insurance). A total of 10 doctoral students were trained by the universities involved, in close collaboration with the other partners, and an additional 20 post-doctoral researchers worked in the project.

Marketing

The Marketing department founded the Erasmus Centre for the Marketing of Innovation (ECMI). Innovation is essential to continued growth, but requires that innovations are commercialised well. ECMI was set up to make Erasmus School of Economics’ analytical tools and academic expertise about marketing of innovation better accessible for third parties. ECMI has already executed several projects together with large companies, often in collaboration with other leading universities. For instance, it is performing a study on the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing together with General Motors, which is being executed in the US, Europe and China in collaboration with MIT and INSEAD.

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Contributing expertise in committees and boards

Participating as experts in high-level advisory committees for government policy or corporate strategy can be a powerful way of putting one’s scientific expertise to practical use. Erasmus School of Economics encourages its faculty to accept such responsibilities and facilitates the combination of these responsibilities with work at the university. Some examples of the current committee memberships:Two of our professors are members of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands. Another is an academic partner of the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and also a member of the advisory board of the Norwegian Centre of Taxation. Marketing professors act as a member of the Partner Research Council of Netspar,as members of the Supervisory Board of Independer.nl and also acted as expert witnesses at the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam. One of our health economics professors is an advisor to the World Health Organisation. Finally, one of our professors is a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer).

Membership of academic committees provides a specific opportunity to develop the field. Peter Wakker, Philip Hans Franses and Eddy Van Doorslaer are members of the Royal Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW). Faculty members serve on many evaluation committees for funding organisations like NWO and ERC, where important decisions are made about investments in future research. Finally, several professors with a part-time position at Erasmus School of Economics influence economic policy elsewhere. For instance, one professor is the chief economist at the Authority for Consumers and Markets while another is Director Monetary Affairs and Financial Stability at De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

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Informing public opinion

During the last decade basically everyone in the world has become more and usually quite painfully aware of the societal relevance of a better understanding of economics. Economists experienced a strong surge in requests for media appearances and presentations. Several scholars at Erasmus School of Economics also became media ‘regulars’, commenting on economic developments on TV and radio, in ‘science cafes’ and many other events aimed at the general public. Most notable examples were professors in macroeconomics and monetary policy. Erasmus School of Economics embraces these opportunities to inform public opinion and has for instance used its centennial celebrations to inform the general public even more about the expertise available within the school. It does so on a ‘quality first’ basis: the media appearances should provide an opportunity to display scientific expertise and should not be pursued for an economist’s own sake. At the same time the media engagement is a challenge in itself where academic excellence alone does not offer a guarantee to success and other knowledge and skills are required as well. Therefore Erasmus School of Economics offers facilities, training and support for researchers to properly interact with the media.

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Knowledge transfer through spin-off companies

Important leverage for Erasmus School of Economics’ knowledge transfer is provided by Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding. Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding is dedicated to contract training, contract research and knowledge transfer based on knowledge created at Erasmus University. Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding contains 18 limited companies (B.V.’s), with a total annual revenue of almost € 35 million. While Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding covers activities at the whole university, its links to Erasmus School of Economics are particularly strong: the total annual revenue of the companies linked to Erasmus School of Economics is almost € 22 million. Examples of Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding companies, dedicated to knowledge created at Erasmus School of Economics are:

  • EURAC B.V., dedicated to post-graduate training in accounting and finance (which in particular trains many aspiring Certified Public Accountants and Certified Controllers each year). EURAC B.V. cooperates with Erasmus School of Economics in ESAA (Erasmus School of Accounting and Assurance) to provide executive education;
  • International Housing Studies B.V., dedicated to training and research in the context of urban development, especially in developing countries;
  • Smartport B.V., dedicated to research regarding Port Logistics;
  • Institute for Sales and Account Management B.V., which has trained thousands of sales professionals.
  • Erasmus Q-Intelligence B.V. for post-graduate training in the fields of data science and business analytics, consultancy, contract research and custom software development.

To foster new initiatives Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding includes one company, Erasmus Research & Business Support B.V., which is dedicated to the support of start-ups. It thus serves as an incubator for new companies which can gradually develop into independent companies in Erasmus University Rotterdam Holding. A good example of such a new initiative is S Ray. It utilises statistical expertise from Erasmus School of Economics’ department of econometrics and combines it with expertise in organisational behaviour from Rotterdam School of Management, to assess to what extent people in an organisation share a common view on its strategy and routines. S Ray has provided consultancy services to large companies such as Unilever, ABN AMRO Bank and ProRail and to large public organisations such as the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

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