ZEF background and mission

The Center for Development Research (ZEF) is an institute of the University of Bonn, Germany. It started its research activities in 1997. ZEF's researchers aim to find science-based solutions to promote sustainable development and planetary health. ZEF’s research divisions and groups conduct inter- and trans-disciplinary research in, for and with emerging economies and on global issues with its collaborating research partners around the world. ZEF educates doctoral students from all over the world in its Doctoral Studies Program. ZEF is guided by an International Advisory Board

General information about ZEF
in English   

Academic research and publications

ZEF researchers and their partners around the world conduct cutting-edge academic research and publish regularly in international scientific peer-reviewed journals. Research results are also presented at international conferences. In addition, ZEF publishes its own series of books and dissertations, discussion and working paper series, and publications for a broader audience (ZEF News, Blogs, Policy Briefs).

Policy dialogue and public awareness

ZEF maintains an active dialogue with representatives from governmental and non-governmental bodies, as well as with national and international organizations for science and development cooperation and with the private and business sectors. With a number of non-scientific publications and events the Center reaches out to a broader audience.

International networking

Collaboration with outstanding academics and scientists from research centers in developing countries as well as other countries all over the world is an important part of the partnership effort. About 50% of ZEF's staff are recruited internationally and the Doctoral Program has a world-wide alumni network.


ZEF's main funders are the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Council (DFG), the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the European Commission (EU), the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Foundation fiat panis, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, and many more organizations as well as various governments through support to some of our doctoral students.


The library of ZEF is open to the public:

Monday - Thursday11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Friday10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Contact: Volker Merx, librarian, phone # 49 (0) 228 73-1723
e-mail: v.merx(at)uni-bonn.de

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