The German government’s Leibniz Association tapped Lorens Helmchen, PhD, an associate professor at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) to serve as a health economics expert in the country’s official review of one of the country’s top six publicly funded, non-partisan economics research centers.
“The RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (RWI) is known for its work in the econometric evaluation of public policy initiatives,” Helmchen said. “The Institute has the strongest health economics group among the six economics research centers.”
Like all of the 95 independent research institutions in the Leibniz Association, the RWI must undergo periodic review every seven years. Helmchen was asked to review the Institute’s entire portfolio with a focus on health economics. The Institute’s health economics research concentrates on the German hospital and nursing home industries, which Helmchen said are changing quickly in the country.
The RWI has an effort underway to compile what Helmchen said are some very interesting datasets, and the Institute is currently exploring innovative ways to make them available to outside researchers. Helmchen offered advice about options for making the data more easily accessible. “That will be a win-win for the research community and for the Institute, helping them boost their name recognition and prestige” he said.
Helmchen said that he hopes to collaborate with the researchers at the RWI in the future. He has also reviewed proposals for the German, Swiss, and Austrian counterparts of the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Helmchen received his MA from Humboldt University in Berlin, and he is fluent in German. He says that the review was conducted in German, although the Institute’s peer-reviewed publications are all in English and the Institute’s researchers routinely present their work at international scientific meetings. He noted that he was the only subject matter expert who wore a tie during the review.