On 12 September 2013, a ceremony was held to mark the official inauguration of the Research Center SAFE. Opening remarks were made by Werner Müller-Esterl, the President of Goethe University, Luise Hölscher, by then State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Finance, and Jan Pieter Krahnen, Academic Director of SAFE. They all underlined the importance of SAFE's focus for the coming years, namely research and policy advice aimed at building a sustainable financial architecture in Europe – an objective to be met with financial support from the Hessian LOEWE program. Hölscher stressed that researchers not only need to find new solutions for the current problems, but must also learn to ask new questions.
Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, delivered the keynote address. He emphasized the multi-facetted, interdisciplinary approach of SAFE, noting that this was a good starting point for the analysis of the complex world of finance. The Center’s name is not insignificant: "We all need the financial sector to be safe", Barnier said. And, for this, a framework is needed that is robust, yet leaves room for innovation and new ideas. The Commissioner called to mind the measures which the EU had already implemented and described the future path towards a European banking union. He said that he was looking forward to building a financial framework that supports the real economy together with SAFE.
Subsequently, Prof. Richard Blundell from University College London, outlined the importance of and the challenges associated with combining empirical research and policy analysis. He based his explanations on the example of the "Mirrlees Review". "Policy analysis provides key new ideas for research, and research provides credibility and a long-term foundation for policy analysis", he stated.
The Inaugural Event, which was preceded by the constituent meeting of SAFE’s high-calibre research advisory council, finished off with a reception and an accompanying poster session that gave SAFE researchers the chance to present their projects.