Sustainable Solutions, Shared Futures: Development Research for the 21st Century

January 29, 2024.  

Call for submissions to ZEF international conference in Bonn, Germany (September 30-October 2, 2024)

The international conference "Sustainable Solutions, Shared Futures: Development Research for the 21st Century" marks the 25th anniversary of interdisciplinary development research at ZEF and its doctoral program BIGS-DR. We invite you to contribute to the conference so that we experience a mix of lectures, roundtables, mini colloquia, and short films. And lots of social interaction with colleagues and friends. 

ZEF was founded in 1997 to provide science-based and transdisciplinary solutions to living conditions related to poverty, inequalities, food security, land use, governance, migration, urbanization, and health. Over 400 scholars from all over the world have completed their doctoral research and degrees as part of the structured doctoral program at ZEF. Many have worked with ZEF as postdocs and senior researchers and are now actively contributing to solving global and local problems through their work in international organizations, governments, research institutes, companies, NGOs, and civil society organizations.

In the company of our partners, alumni, friends, donors, and colleagues, we aim to celebrate our achievements, learn from the past, and discuss the ways forward against the backdrop of the global poly-crisis that we are currently facing. This conference involves issues of food and nutrition security, climate change, conflict, governance, global justice, and biodiversity. How can we achieve a healthy and just future for every being? How can political and financial structures of power imbalance be transformed to benefit the people in need? How can different perspectives, priorities, and needs be targeted to a just and sustainable transition?

We warmly invite you to contribute to this conference in Bonn to celebrate, reflect, and engage in an exciting dialogue: Share your experiences of cooperation between research and government or NGOs. Or your newest (participatory) research project and its practical applications for society. Also, stories of failures and obstacles you have encountered will help us learn for the future.


We intend to explore and build perspectives related to three panel-themes:

  • Climate and Health
  • Agriculture and Nutrition
  • Land Use Conflicts and Nature's Contributions to People

Additionally, a fourth "Freestyle”-panel, remains open for topics that you feel deserve particular attention. Gender equality, intersectionality, and empowerment will be a thread running through all these discussions.

Your contributions

Your contributions can take various forms, including presentations, posters, panel discussions, photo exhibits, short films, or any creative medium you prefer. Please submit an abstract of 500 words describing your idea by March 1, 2024 here:

Download the full text of the conference call in pdf format here.

The small print

  • Professors at ZEF are leading the panels and will review the submissions. You will receive feedback on your submission by the beginning of May 2024. In case of a high amount of contributions, we might ask you to change your format.
  • The registration fee for each guest to attend this event is 100€ including food, coffee, tea, and limited soft drinks. Registration opens in May 2024.
  • Venue: Gustav-Stresemann-Institut (GSI), Langer Grabenweg 68, 53175 Bonn, Germany.
  • Costs for accommodation: We can book a single room including breakfast for you at the venue (GSI), for 89€ per night at your expense. Or you organize accommodation in Bonn yourself.
  • Travel costs: We hope and expect that many of you will be able to pay for your travel costs through your current employers or privately, as this will be an inspiring conference. However, we also understand that for some Alumni in the Global South funds for international travel are limited. We will therefore try to cover travel costs for ZEF Alumni who are based in the Global South and unable to secure travel funds through other sources.
  • Note, that we will not be able to reimburse visa costs, insurance costs, or costs of public transport in Germany.

Financial support for this conference from the Foundation fiat panis is gratefully acknowledged.

Let's celebrate, share, and develop the way for a sustainable future. We eagerly await your contributions and presence at this conference!

Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim, Prof. Dr. Ina Danquah, Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister, PD Dr. Eva Youkhana, Jun.- Prof. Dr. Wolfram Barfuss, Prof. Dr. Jan Börner, Jun.-Prof. Lisa Biber- Freudenberger, Dr. Silke Tönsjost


University of Bonn
Center for Development Research (ZEF)
Dr. Silke Tönsjost
Genscherallee 3
53113 Bonn