More Positions for Doctoral Students in Neuroeconomics

The ‘Marlene Porsche Foundation’ enables 14 students to obtain a PhD in the field of Neuroeconomics at the University of Zurich over the next decade. The young researchers will contribute to a better understanding of the brain’s influence on human behavior. The first students have already started their studies.

LABORThe laboratory at UZH boasts an expansive infrastructure for neuroeconomic research (Image: UZH).

Understanding our own behavior and that of others is a basic human requirement. Economies and societies function much better when they take human behavior and needs into consideration. Neuroeconomics provides valuable information that can help us attain this goal. With this in mind, the Department of Economics at UZH launched a doctoral program in Neuroeconomics in 2010. Since then, ten students have earned their PhD, and eleven more are currently enrolled in the program. The demand for researchers in this field, however, is much greater.

Expansion within a promising field of research

With the contribution of the ‘Marlene Porsche Foundation’, starting this semester even more young scholars will be able to benefit from an education in this cutting-edge field. “We are very excited about this generous contribution,” says Ernst Fehr, Professor of Microeconomics and Experimental Economics at UZH, who was significantly involved in establishing this area of research. “It allows us to offer a group of young scholars excellent training in this promising field.”

Neuroeconomics brings the invisible to light

Whenever we make a decision, various parts of our brain are activated within a few milliseconds. These areas of brain activity provide valuable information about conscious and unconscious elements of the decision-making process. Neuroeconomics connects the fields of neuroscience, biology, psychology and economics. Its goal is to help us identify and understand the causes of human behaviors such as altruism, egoism, risk-taking or self-control at the neural level.

UZH’s Department of Economics is a leader in this field. It houses the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (known as the SNS Lab), which boasts an expansive infrastructure for neuroeconomic research. Zurich has established itself as an international center in the field of neuroeconomics, and scientists from around the world are taking part in the SNS Lab’s research initiatives.