Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

The Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) was founded in 1989 as an interdisciplinary institute of the University of Mannheim. It is the largest university-based research institute in the German social sciences, steadily building its internationally leading position. Approximately 100 MZES scholars explore European social and political developments. The MZES is closely associated with the University's School of Social Sciences.

Mission

The MZES conducts social science research on the development of European societies and their political systems from both a comparative and an integration perspective. The Centre has a strong analytical-empirical and comparative tradition, contributing to theoretical developments and to substantial knowledge. It adopts cross-national comparative and multi-level integration approaches, and combines perspectives from sociology and political science. With its specific profile the MZES holds a unique and leading international position.

Organisation

The Centre has two Research Departments divided into three Research Areas each.

Research Department A focuses on ‘European Societies and their Integration’. Its Research Areas are:

A 1. Institutions of Societal Integration: Market Economies, Organisations, and Welfare States

A 2. Spheres of Societal Integration: Family, Education, and Labour Markets

A 3. Focus Groups of Societal Integration: Migration and Integration

Research Department B studies ‘European Political Systems and their Integration’ and encompasses the following Research Areas:

B 1. Conditions of Democratic Governance

B 2. Contexts for Democratic Governance

B 3. Democratic Multi-level Governance

Governance

The Executive Board (Vorstand) consists of three professors of the University who are elected for three years:

MZES Director: Prof. Dr. Frank Kalter

Head of Department A: Prof. Dr. Irena Kogan from August 2014

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ebbinghaus until July 2014

Head of Department B: Prof. Dr. Marc Debus

The Executive Board is responsible for preparing the Centre's Research Programme and for the allocation of its resources. The Director, with the support of the Managing Director (Geschäftsführer) Dr. Philipp Heldmann, prepares and implements the decisions of the Executive Board. The Supervisory Board (Kollegium) elects the Executive Board, adopts the Research Programme, and decides on the broad guidelines for the budget as well as on the Centre’s statutes. It includes all tenured sociology and political science professors of the School of Social Sciences, a number of other professors of the University of Mannheim as well as representatives of the MZES staff. The Scientific Advisory Board (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat) is composed of internationally renowned scholars. It reviews the MZES Research Programmes and advises the Executive Board.

Projects, the Research Programme, and Research Funding

The MZES Research Programmes are the major tool for planning and coordinating the activities of the institute. They cover three years and are updated and revised on an annual basis. The 8th Research Programme runs from 2011 to 2014. Research at the MZES takes the form of projects which are funded by external grants. In order to be located at the MZES, research projects need to be included in the Research Programme by the Supervisory Board.

The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) is the most important source of grants, but MZES researchers also acquire grants on a regular basis from other institutions such as the Volkswagen Foundation, the Hans-Böckler Foundation, funding programmes of federal and state ministries as well as EU agencies.

Researchers

Approximately one fifth of the researchers are professors from the University’s School of Social Sciences who are active as project directors at the Centre. About one out of six researchers (Research and Postdoc Fellows, PhD students and Eurodata researchers) is financed from the MZES’ regular budget. All other researchers, most of them PhD students, are financed through external grants.

The MZES utilizes numerous strategies to promote younger researchers. For details, please see Working at MZES.

Infrastructure and Administration

The Eurodata unit offers specialized expertise and support for the specific types of social science data of particular relevance to MZES projects: socio-economic indicators and official statistics (Dr. Franz Rothenbacher), European and national survey and panel data (Dr. Nadia Granato), textual data and governmental databases (Dr. Will Lowe), and data on elections and parties in Europe (Prof. Dr. Hermann Schmitt).

The Europe Library (directed by Hermann Schwenger) is located in close vicinity to the social science branch of the university library and holds almost 40,000 media units and 110 scientific journals.

The MZES Computer Department (Marlene Alle, Dr. Christian Melbeck) provides researchers with custom-tailored IT support.

The Public Relations officer (Nikolaus Hollermeier) serves as an interface between MZES researchers and the broader public.

The secretaries of the directorate (Sibylle Eberle and Helena Wozniak) are engaged in the general administration of the institute. The secretaries of Department A (Beate Rossi and Marianne Schneider) and Department B (Constanze Nickel and Christine Stegmann) administer externally funded projects.

The managing director (Dr. Philipp Heldmann) oversees the MZES infrastructure and administration, and supports the Director.