Economic and Financial Data Infrastructure for Empirical Research in Economics and Business
The HERCULES (2016) infrastructure of the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) consists of six large databases, which allows 900 researchers in 4 different campuses and across 7 research departments to engage in state-of-the-art research. Early 2019, an in-house survey revealed that data needs are expanding. An international benchmarking exercise compared FEB’s data infrastructure to other high-quality research institutions. The benchmarking showed a need to expand our data infrastructure with another five large-scale databases that satisfy at least 3 criteria: 1) too expensive for individual researchers; 2) used by at least 4 FEB research departments; 3) essential for IT publications. FEB’s multicampus data platform allows for data access anywhere. Given the size of FEB, decentralization of the infrastructure is not an option since it risks to generate a plethora of interfaces when left to the level of research groups. HERCULES grants have boosted FEB IT publications by more than 105%, the number of PhDs by 85% and annual research project spending by 49%. It resulted in technological innovations leading to new micro-simulation data models to support public decision-making. Models like SIMPATIC, MEFISTO, GLOBAL NETWORK MODEL (GNM) are new simulation models, developed at FEB. Further infrastructure investment will generate a similar wave of innovations, necessary to sustain FEB’s international ranking and the ranking of the University as a whole.