In early 2012 Dr Oikonomou’s project, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Credit Costs’ was awarded a highly prestigious grant by the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim, Germany. The Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies (or SEEK) grant is worth approximately €150,000 and aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of policy rationales, the design of appropriate policy instruments as well as their effectiveness and efficiency.
The awarded project, a collaborative effort with Professor Michael Schroder, Dr Andreas Hoepner and Professor Bert Scholtens, is an international investigation of the effects of Corporate Social Responsibility on the cost of corporate loans. “As our work on this project falls in the intersection between business and society, it meets the overall objectives of the SEEK grant perfectly which made the committee very keen to invest in the research” said Dr Oikonomou.
The second success of 2012 for Dr Oikonomou is the awarding, in the previous month, of his thesis, ‘Empirical Investigations of the Relationship between Corporate Social and Financial Performance’ with the Best Thesis in Finance and Sustainability European Research Award for 2012. This award is administered by the French Social Investment Forum and the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and is worth €5,000.
The PRI is a network of international investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment (link to the principles) into practice. Their interest in Dr Oikonomou's thesis is a wonderful testament to the work he has done and demonstrates the potential for his research to develop into practical financial applications across institutions in Europe and further afield.
Dr Oikonomou was presented with his award at a ceremony in Paris in September. The event was covered by a variety of media including renowned French newspaper Le Monde for which Dr Oikonomou gave an interview.