IPE Pensions Scholarship Fund
IPE established the IPE Pensions Scholarship Fund as a not-for-profit activity with the purpose of furthering pensions education and research across Europe, with a particular focus on higher education. The fund has been active since its launch in 2011 by making grants available to students undertaking graduate or post-graduate studies and research relating to pensions issues, usually at recognised universities or research bodies within Europe. To date the fund has made grants of nearly €30,000.
The fund has set up a Board comprising mainly external senior pensions experts, who advised by academics and others, reviews the applications from students and recommend those they consider most deserving to receive funding.
The grants or bursaries are up to a maximum amount of €5,000 each, but decisions as to the amount to be awarded in any individual case will be determined by the Board. The bursaries can be used for a wide variety purposes relating to the candidate’s research or programme of studies. Applications can be made for a specific amount such as to pay for research materials, survey costs for primary research, hardware or software, as well as for course or other fees at undergraduate or graduate level.
To apply for funding the Fund’s application form, which can be downloaded (see below) must be completed fully by the student or researcher and returned to the fund, when it will be considered by the Board and the candidate notified of the outcome. Successful candidates will be required to have their application supported/signed off by a member of the relevant academic staff of the university or institution providing the course or research facilities. All payments will be disbursed normally through the academic or research institution grants office or similar arrangement.
Scholarship Fund Board
The role of the Board is to assess the applications received from students and decide which will be awarded funding and how much funding will be awarded in each case. The Board’s decision will be final in all cases. The Board will be able to access external advice in connection with fulfilling this role. The three external pensions experts on the Board are: Chris Verhaegen, Former Chair of the Occupational Pensions Stakeholders Group at EIOPA and former Secretary General of the European Federation for Retirement Provision in Brussels, Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director of Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn in the Netherlands, and Peter Melchior, former Executive Director/Actuary of PKA in Copenhagen. Founding IPE Editor and Director Fennell Betson will represent IPE as chair of the Board.
The fund’s academic adviser is Diego Valero, who is Professor at the University of Barcelona and Academic Director of the LSE-Global Pensions Programme. He is chairperson of Novaster, a major Spanish pensions consultancy. He is also a full member of the IPE Scholarship Fund Board.
The fund made its first award in 2012 to Zorka Simon, a PhD student in finance at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her field of study was the pricing of index-linked bonds relative to nominal government bonds, which gives insight into real interest rates and inflation expectations, both of great importance to the world of pension funds.
In 2013, the fund awarded a full scholarship to Bruno Bonizzi, a PhD student in Economics at the School for Oriental and African Studies, part of London University. His research and focus of his dissertation was to analyse the issue of capital flows to emerging markets from the perspective of pension funds.
In 2015, Wiebeke Eberhardt, a PhD candidate at Maastricht University obtained a full award to cover the costs of a field survey among 7,000 defined contribution(DC) pension plan participants in the Netherlands, plus other costs.
A full grant was made, also in 2015, to Humberto Godínez-Olivares, who is a PhD candidate at The University of Liverpool undertaking research into Pay-As-You-Go pension systems, with special attention into automatic balancing mechanisms within public pension provision.
In 2016, a full scholarship of €5,000 was made to Elizabeth Harnett, a PhD candidate at Oxford University. Her research for her thesis is on increasing the understanding of the information and communication channels pension funds find useful and important in translating climate change science in to actionable knowledge.
A grant of €2,000 was made to Ellen Dingemans to assist with her post-doctoral research at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW) and the University Medical Center Gronigen (UMCG-RUG).
Our most recent award was of €5,000 to Seda Peksevim, a PhD student at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul; she is also a researcher at Center for Applied Research in Finance (CARF). Her research is on designing a new life-cycle investing model for pension funds in emerging markets.
The publicity resources of IPE and its extensive online and mailing databases are used to attract applications for scholarships. The fund has built up contacts with universities and other academic bodies active in the pensions arena to obtain their support in encouraging students to apply.
For further information, please contact:
Founding Editor IPE
+44 (0)20 3465 9325