16/02/2023 Interview

Charalampos Papadakis, International student at the Faculty of Business and Economics, awarded a grant by Martí i Franquès COFUND Doctoral Programme

“Having a deep understanding of economic events in different historical periods is crucial to be able to predict future crises”

international student at the ETSEQ, awarded a grant by Martí i Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme

You are from Greece. How did you learn about the Martí i Franquès COFUND grants, and why did you choose our university?

Two years ago, I was contacting professors at universities across Europe working on my research interests to apply for Ph.D. positions. Among the professors I contacted, my current supervisor told me about the MFP COFUND grant. Due to the pandemic, many scholarships were cancelled and the number of fully funded Ph.D. positions in European universities was limited. However, the reputation of the MFP COFUND grant led me to apply for the position and I never regretted my decision. Moreover, I chose the Universitat Rovira i Virgili because it is well-organised and one of the top universities in Spain. Thus, I could study abroad at a prestigious university in an amazing country.

How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?

It is always challenging to explain your research to a non-expert audience. I specialise in the Economic History of the last three centuries. Particularly, I examine how financial integration developed during these centuries and how financial markets responded to major historical events such as world wars and financial crises.

What will be the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?

My research is focused on revisiting financial integration in the post-1870 period using economic theory and econometric models. One of the main goals of my last chapter is to measure cross-country dependence and spillover effects across seventeen countries. Our research examines financial variables for countries from all over the world and for different periods. As an example, we split the examined period into three sub-periods: 1870-1913, 1950-1973, and 1974-2016, trying to study the financial integration in these significant periods with different characteristics.

Do you think that your research topic will be a key element in the near future? Does it tackle important societal challenges?

As a social science, Economic History always aims to answer social phenomena that concern the community over time. My research tries to explain why financial integration increased or decreased over time and how peripheral and core countries were affected. Having a deep understanding of economic events in different historical periods is crucial for all governments and policymakers to be able to predict future crises and design their economic policy. Hopefully, my research will prove useful to future researchers and governments in the challenging years ahead.

In the time you have been here, what have you liked the most about your experience at our university and in Tarragona/Reus?

After one and a half years at the URV, I can only speak highly of it. One of the most important things is the relationship between the professors and the Ph.D. students. They are always available to assist you with your problems and guide you towards making the right decision to continue your research without wasting your time. Although this may seem like something ordinary, it isn’t, and you need to manage your limited time wisely during these three years. Reus, the city where I live, is a cosy place with a very friendly community. However, what I enjoy doing in my free time is walking through the city centre and admiring the architecture of the old buildings.

Now you are in your international secondment at the Université de Genève, Switzerland. What are you working on?

The University of Geneva has been my home for the last four months, and I am pleased with the experience. During this period, I am working on my second chapter with my host supervisor Pilar Nogués-Marco. The aim of this chapter is to revisit financial integration in global markets during the last two centuries using a versatile dynamic model that allows for measuring cross-country dependence.

What do you consider is the best thing about your time staying in a foreign university? Is there something that has surprised you about their way of working?

Moving to a new place is always challenging. In particular, Geneva is a wonderful city that offers many activities and sights. Visiting foreign universities gives you the opportunity to meet new researchers and discuss your work with them. In my case, interacting with other professors and researchers helped me to improve my chapter by applying new techniques and thinking differently about the problems I faced in my research projects. Due to the University of Geneva’s reputation as one of the best universities in my field, Economic History, I was able to see how top universities do research. One thing that surprised me was the emphasis they are placing on their research from a theoretical perspective, which essentially results in the quality of their papers being high.

How would you say this experience contributed to your personal and professional growth?

I have no doubt that my secondment to the University of Geneva was a very important experience for both my personal and professional development. It is thanks to the MFP COFUND grant that I have been able to join a famous university, meet distinguished professors, attend interesting seminars and form contacts for future collaboration which I look forward to. In addition, I was able to improve my skills while working in a demanding environment, which will be beneficial to my future career.

What’s next for you after finishing the PhD?

Ideally, I would like to work for a large organisation such as the European Union or a central bank such as the European Central Bank. This would be the perfect step for my career and I will work hard to obtain it.

Finally, would you recommend our programme to your peers and friends?

I definitely recommend it to everyone. Every Ph.D. student would like to be a member of this programme. The reputation of the MFP COFUND grand and the high academic level of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili make the combination perfect for anyone who wants to pursue further studies.

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