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ERC Advanced Grant for Axel Ockenfels

Prof. Dr. Ockenfels receives major European research funding

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded the Cologne-based economic researcher Prof. Dr. Axel Ockenfels with the ERC Advanced Grant, which is regarded as the most important funding prize in the European research landscape. The project is entitled "Economic Engineering of Cooperation in Modern Markets".

Recent advances in computer technology have led to radical advances in market design and strategy design. These enable exciting new forms of social and economic relationships, but they also lead to new challenges. One question in the Ockenfels project is how algorithmic decision-making and action can serve important societal goals through intelligent design of market rules, and how undesirable excesses of digitisation can be prevented. Applications can be found in financial markets, Internet commerce and traffic management. Prof. Ockenfels also discusses how ethical principles can be taken into account when designing modern incentive systems that are used, for example, in climate protection or in the medical sector.
 
ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers for projects that, due to their innovative approach, are considered risky but can open up new avenues in their respective fields of research. Funding is provided for established scientists who have been working successfully at the highest international level for at least ten years.

Axel Ockenfels is Professor of Economics at the University of Cologne. After research stays at Harvard University, Penn State University and the Max Planck Institute of Economics, he founded the Laboratory for Economic Research and headed the Institute of Energy Economics until 2007. After a guest professorship at Stanford University, he has headed the newly founded "Centre of Excellence for Social and Economic Behavior" at Cologne University since 2015. Ockenfels is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and member of the European, Berlin-Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 2005, he was the first economist in 17 years to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his work on the design of markets and human behaviour. His expertise is in demand from governments, market platforms and companies.