European University Institute
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European University Institute: Dynamic research and excellent facilities for Economics students

Evidence-based policymaking has never been more valuable. The same goes for economists with the know-how in analysing massive data sources to tackle long-standing global issues like rising inequality and emerging issues such as mass migration and rising unemployment.

The European University Institute’s (EUI) Department of Economics knows this well.

“EUI’s PhD programme is a world-class degree covering a wide range of topics vital to social and economic policymaking worldwide,” says Professor of Economics and Director of Research Sule Alan. “The programme’s main objective is to provide experiential education to equip the next generation of social scientists with the state-of-the-art tools to tackle pressing global policy issues.”

Indeed, thanks to the department’s stimulating environment for PhD and MRes studies alike, more than 100 researchers of 30 nationalities and 15 fellows in addition to 13 full-time faculty members such as Alan are proud to call EUI home. Visiting scholars and fellows are welcomed too; part-time professors from reputable universities worldwide drop by EUI to lecture on advanced and specialised courses as well.

That is why Alice Dominici, a PhD researcher from Italy, particularly relishes her programme and life at EUI. “Besides topical courses in cultural and political history, I have deeply loved nearly all the statistics and econometrics classes I took,” she enthuses. “The real excitement comes from sitting in class and simultaneously visualising how I could apply those concepts to my questions.”

The PhD programme in Economics includes advanced coursework and a wide array of electives like Causal Inference Econometrics. By enrolling in EUI, Dominici was able to learn from specialist international professors such as Andrea Ichino and work as a teaching assistant to ‪Fabrizia Mealli and Jeffrey Wooldridge. These experiences added on to Dominici’s thrill of being able to understand more deeply how economics can explain about culture affecting people’s lives – the beginning point of her PhD quest.

“I appreciated this great opportunity to witness and assist professors with really different approaches to the subject,” she enthuses.

Since Alan is responsible for bringing in renowned economists to EUI for its monthly lecture series, she understands why students like Dominici get excited about learning new perspectives of this subject: “In addition to the group seminar series (Micro Theory, Applied Micro, and Macroeconomics), these economists hold joint and one-on-one meetings with our researchers. We strongly encourage all our students to regularly interact with visitors and discuss their ongoing research and new research ideas to receive diverse and high-quality feedback.”

Like at any department at EUI, PhD students in the Department of Economics can work on exciting research projects with professors who happen to be active researchers too.

European University Institute

The 15th century Villa La Fonte hosts the Department of Economics. Source: European University Institute

“All my colleagues in the Economics department are engaged in top-quality, impactful and policy-focused research, and most of their research involves their supervisees. They provide evidence-based policy recommendations to key decision-makers in respective countries, and our students are heavily involved in these policy-related and research activities,” notes Alan with pride.

Alan and Ichino are Dominici’s supervisors at EUI – a fact that she remains grateful for.

“Whenever I faced an external obstacle, Alan and Ichino pushed me to continue and followed all my steps closely, each one specialising on the projects that were closer to their expertise. All the support I received from them was a fundamental ingredient for the progression of my research,” reflects Dominici.

The EUI PhD experience is further strengthened by the extremely close hands-on approach that the supervisors and mentors practise at EUI on top of strong peer support.

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PhD students at EUI gather together to enjoy one of Europe’s finest research environments. Source: European University Institute

“Partly because all professors, researchers, and visitors work in a single lovely building, we have very high-frequency interactions,” shares Alan. “Many of our lunch and coffee get-togethers involve research discussions, brainstorming, and establishing new collaborations.”

Besides the rich bonding among the international scholar community and EUI’s beautiful sunset views of Tuscany at Villa La Fonte, the superb research facilities at the Department of Economics is another key reason why PhD students like Dominici chose this university.

“All our students have their own desk spaces, equipped with their required hardware and software needs,” informs Alan. “They have immediate access to all electronic resources, journals, and books. They also have access to survey design platforms, an active IRB review board, and data protection facilities for their primary data collection needs.”

What’s more, PhD students at EUI can access competitive research funds for all four years. Add in numerous long-term networking opportunities, training in public presentation and job market preparation, and Tuscany’s stunning landscapes, and you can see why Dominici feels her PhD experience at EUI is so positive and pleasurable.

With all these offerings – excellent reputation, robust environment, expert  faculty, active research and facilities – it is little wonder that EUI’s Department of Economics is ranked #15 in the world for graduates’ publication success, and their PhD programme is one of Europe’s most outstanding ones.

Dominici sums up EUI best: “The environment, the friendly relationships with fellow peers, the close contact with faculty, and the many opportunities to get in touch with external presenters are really great.”

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