About ZEF

Public lecture at ZEF.

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 development-related issues. ZEF’s research departments on Economic and Technological Change, Political and Cultural Change, and  Ecology and Natural Resources Management 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. See also our organisational diagram.


General information about ZEF

in English     in German    in Spanish

Policy dialogue and public awareness

Scientific research colloquium at ZEF.

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

Students at ZEF come from and go all over the world.


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.


Women in Ghana doing business.

ZEF is financed by public funds, but acquires most of its funding (80% of its budget) on the competitive market for research funds. ZEF's main funders are the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the DAAD, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation fiat panis, Thyssen Foundation, Bayer AG, Volkswagen Foundation, the Dreyer Foundation, Union Investment, and many more organizations as well as various governments through support to some of our doctoral students.



ZEF researchers publish regularly in international scientific peer-reviewed journals. ZEF publishes its own series of books and dissertations, discussion and working paper series, in addition to its non-scientific publications (ZEF news, Annual Reports, Policy Briefs).

The library of ZEF is open to the public on Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Contact: Volker Merx, librarian, phone # 49 (0) 228 73-1723. e-mail: v.merx(at)uni-bonn.de



International Advisory Board of ZEF

Board members.

ZEF Senior Fellows

Senior Fellows.

ZEF experts database

Professional profiles of the alumni of the International Doctoral Studies Program and former ZEF staff and fellows.

» more

ZEF Evaluation 2017

ZEF was reviewed by an external committee in 2017.

Read the evaluation report 2010-2016 here and ZEF's International Advisory Board and Management's response here.

ZEF Evaluation 2010

ZEF's evaluation report 2010 (in German).