Each month we shine a spotlight on a member of our Jacobs Network to help you meet each other virtually and inspire you with the outstanding people that are part of our network. This month we feature Henning Mueller, a participant of the Young Scholars program, from Mainz, Germany.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a postdoc at the University of Mainz, where I also did my PhD. I am a trained economist and psychologist and my research focuses on the Economics of Education, especially in the area of skill formation and skill acquisition. I am interested in addressing inequality through education by creating equal opportunities in the schooling system, and I have another focus on the field of digital learning. I have also started to look at inequality and its effects on early childhood development. In fact, my newest research – together with three participants of the Young Scholars program – is a field experiment looking at how childcare affects children from low-income families and why those families do not bring their children to childcare: is it because they lack information about financial support, or because the search process for finding an open spot is too difficult?


How do you benefit from this Fellowship?
I was nominated last year to participate in the Young Scholar program and attended the Jacobs Foundation Conference on “Economizing Education Policy: Tradeoffs, Incentives, and Generalizing from Evidence (organized by Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann”. It was a fantastic experience, regarding the content and quality of the presentations, but also the interaction we had with the top scientists of this field. It was also a great opportunity to meet my peers and connect with potential co-authors. After the conference, me and my co-authors wrote a grant proposal, which has been accepted by the Jacobs Foundation and enables us to do the research we’d like to do. The connections you make at such conferences and as a member of such a network are simply invaluable. Moreover, the BOLD blog provides a perfect opportunity to communicate about my research to a broader audience. I also appreciate the priority access to information, such as the call for pilot intervention projects.


What do you hope to gain from the Jacobs Network?
To me, the most valuable part is to connect with people in the field of education, learning, and child and youth development, I otherwise wouldn’t meet, such as science writers or social entrepreneurs. Interacting with others who have completely different experiences, perspectives, and mindsets can bring about very interesting and promising solutions.
As for the platform, I’m a huge fan of the trip function, which allows me to inform other members where I’m going and opens up the possibility of meeting each other. I would love to be notified when someone comes to my area. I also enjoy the set-up, which is similar to the Facebook Newsfeed, excepts much more targeted to my interests. It’s really nice to be part of a circle that is so interested and passionate about child and youth development.


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