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This is an overview of current and previous EU funded projects at ESMT Berlin.

EU - Projects at ESMT Berlin

  • European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant: Digital platforms: Pricing, variety and quality provision

    Digital platforms: Pricing, variety and quality provision

    Funding type: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant
    Funding period:   2020-2024
    Research team:   Özlem Bedre-Defolie (ESMT Berlin), Atara Oliver (ESMT Berlin)

    Digital platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba, Google, have become important global players. Their practices have led to significant anti-trust and regulatory scrutiny, and interventions. The existing theoretical models are not suited for the analysis of most of digital platforms as they fail to capture their important aspects and dynamics. This project’s first goal is to develop tractable and applicable models of markets with digital platforms capturing their unique features. The second goal is to investigate the implications of digital platforms’ business practices on prices, variety and quality provision to buyers, on small rivals, and on potential platform entry. The findings of this project will highlight potential distortions in these multi-billion markets and ultimately suggest effective policy recommendations for competition policy in digital markets, which can greatly improve consumer welfare in the EU.

    More detailed information can be found on the official project website

  • European Commission H2020: EQUAL4EUROPE: Gender equality standards for AHMSSBL institutions throughout Europe

    EQUAL4EUROPE: Gender equality standards for AHMSSBL institutions throughout Europe

    Funding type: Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
    Funding period: 2020-2023
    Research team at ESMT: Monica Perez (ESMT Berlin), Friederike  Kreßner (ESMT Berlin)
    Cooperating institutions and partners: ESADE (coordinator), Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Comenius University Bratislava, IEDC Bled School of Management, ESMT Berlin, INSEAD, EFMD, PNO Consultants

    The EQUAL4EUROPE project, comprising eight research institutions and accreditation organizations, aims at removing barriers to the recruitment, retention, and career progression of female researchers. Within the four-year project, which is divided into eight parts, ESMT will focus on the identification and evaluation of gender issues.

    Women in the EU still account for only 33 percent of overall and 24 percent of top-level (grade A) researchers according to EU statistics. In order to bring about sustainable cultural and institutional change, the research institutions will develop and implement evidence-based gender equality plans as well as establish best practices and recommendations for others. In addition, the accreditation organizations plan to include the project results into their international standards.


    More detailed information can be found on the official project website.


  • European Research Council (ERC) ERC Starting Grant: Behavioral theory and economic applications

     Behavioral theory and economic applications


    Funding type: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant
    Funding period:   2012-2017
    Research team:   Botond Kőszegi (Principal Investigator), Paul Heidhues (ESMT Berlin)
    Cooperating institution: 

     Kozep-Europai Egyetem (CEU), Budapest

    The European Research Council (ERC) has bestowed a team of researchers including ESMT Professor and Lufthansa Chair in Competition and Regulation Paul Heidhues a starting grant for five years. The team, led by Professor Botond Köszegi of Central European University and Berkeley, will research “Behavioral theory and economic applications.” In particular, Professor Heidhues will explore the implications for market outcomes, welfare, and policy when consumers misperceive certain aspects of products or contracts. Established by the European Commission, the ERC encourages the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and supports frontier research across all fields on the basis of scientific excellence. In this year’s Starting Grant competition, the ERC received 4741 applications, from which only 11.3 percent early-career top researchers have been granted funding for their research projects.



    Heidhues, P., and B. Kőszegi (Forthcoming). Naivete-based discrimination. Quarterly Journal of Economics.
    Heidhues, P., B. Kőszegi, and T. Murooka (2017). Inferior products and profitable deception. Review  of  Economic  Studies 84(1): 323–356.
    Heidhues, P., B. Kőszegi and T. Murooka (2016). Exploitative Innovation. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 8(1): 1-23.
    Heidhues, P., and B. Kőszegi (2014). Regular prices and sales. Theoretical Economics 9(1): 217–2

  • European Union FP7 ITN: CONsumer COmpetence Reasearch Training (CONCORT)

    Consumer Competence Reasearch Training (CONCORT) 


    Funding type: Marie Curie Initital Training Network (ITN) (EU Seventh Framework Programme)
    Funding period:    2011-2015
    Research team:  Francine Espinoza Petersen (ESMT Berlin), Ning Chen, Cara de Boer
    Cooperating institutions:   Academic partners: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Utrecht University, INSEAD, London Business School
    Corporate partners: Tobii, VicarVision, Philips

    Consumer science is touching the lives of 493 million EU consumers with their consumption representing 58% of the EU GDP, yet the insights of consumer research typically fail to have a substantial impact on consumer welfare. Consumer research is scattered across several disciplines in the social sciences with little communication occurring between research and practice.

    The CONsumer Competence Research Training (CONCORT) tackles these issues, abandoning the marketing perspective of the persuasive agent trying to affect consumer decisions, and aiming to pioneer research from the consumer perspective. The project partners study consumer competence, a broad set of abilities, intuitions, knowledge and skills consumers need in order to make decisions that help them navigate successfully in the economic environment.

    The aim of the CONCORT project is to train 14 Early Stage Researchers in this new perspective, in 8 high level partners: three business schools, two broad universities, and three corporate partners. ESMT supervises two Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), who are funded by the CONCORT grant.

    CONCORT adds an optimal blend between traditional training methods, innovative learning instruments, and thorough practice training through industrial secondments. The Early Stage Researchers will be trained to see the link between their theoretical training and thematic areas of real life consumer interest (environment, overspending, food choice, etc.).

    The 4-year project commenced in December 2011 and was funded with an overall maximum European Union contribution of approximately €3,760,000 for the training network.


  • European Union FP7 IEF: Researching Consumer Perceived Ethicality (CPE) of Companies and Brands

    Researching Consumer Perceived Ethicality (CPE) of Companies and Brands

    Funding type:  Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF) (EU Seventh Framework Program)
    Funding period:    2012-2014
    Research team: CB Bhattacharya (ESMT Berlin), Katja H. Brunk

    Issues such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics have increasingly taken center stage in today’s society. While researchers agree that consumers react negatively/positively to companies they perceive as un/ethical, the actual question of what evokes such a negative or positive perception has not been investigated. To this day, little is known about how moral equity is generated and emerges in the consumer’s mind. This research shall redress this research imbalance. In order to better understand the link between un/ethical corporate conduct and consumer responses, the question of how ethical perceptions are formed and affected by corporate behavior is of utmost importance.

    This research hoped to facilitate much-needed theory building and deeper insight into consumer reactions to corporate ethics, CSR, or corporate reputation efforts. Any subsequent research investigating notions of company and brand misconduct, scandal spillover effects, or, more generally, any facets of ethical consumption will benefit from this conceptualization.

    The host institution (ESMT) was one of the very first schools in Germany to introduce a chair in Corporate Social Responsibility (held by the scientist in charge) and is therefore an ideal fit with the applicant’s work. With links to the Social Science, specifically Social Psychology, the project is multi-disciplinary by nature. In addition to the acquisition of new conceptual knowledge, the project promises to considerably expand the applicant’s methodological and analytical skillset.

    The 2-year project commenced in May 2012 and was funded with an overall maximum European Union contribution of approximately €200,000 to finance an Intra-European Fellowship position, which aims to help experiences researchers enhance their career.


    Katja H. Brunk (2012), “What is ‘ethical’? Conceptualizing consumer meanings”, Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC).
    Katja H. Brunk (2013), “Un/ethical Company and Brand Perceptions: Conceptualising and Operationalising Consumer Meanings”, Journal of Business Ethics, DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1339-x.
    Katja H. Brunk (2013),“A second look at the ethical product – A conceptual extension of the ethical product matrix”, Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference of the European Marketing Academy
    Katja H. Brunk (2013), “Consumer Perceived Ethicality of a Brand/Company (CPE)”, PsychTESTS, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI 10.1037/t15261-000.