Development and knowledge sociologist Anna-Katharina Hornidge appointed Director of German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Anna-Katharina Hornidge

Press Release of 12 February 2020

Bonn, 12 February 2020. Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge has accepted the Professorship of Global Sustainable Development at the University of Bonn and has been appointed Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). She will take up these positions on 1 March 2020.

Ms Hornidge is currently Head of the Department of Social Sciences and the working group "Development and Knowledge Sociology” at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and Professor for Social Sciences in the Marine Tropics at the University of Bremen, where her work includes research into current socio-technical issues in the field of environmental and resource governance.

“Global sustainable development is a key focus of research at our University and so I am delighted that we have found in Anna-Katharina Hornidge the ideal individual to fill this position in Bonn. Her professorship will play a vital role in further developing the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research and the Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB),” said Professor Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn.

Martin Jäger, Chair of DIE’s Board of Trustees and State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), expressed his joy that the Institute had gained in Professsor Anna-Katharina Hornidge a distinguished transdisciplinary researcher who has enjoyed international recognition from early on in her career: “We expect DIE to act as a seismograph for global development trends and to help shape the development policy debate at international level, too. Ms Hornidge has all the qualifications needed to ensure that DIE continues to live up to this expectation in future.” 

When Ms Hornidge takes up her position in March, she will serve alongside Deputy Director Professor Imme Scholz, who has done an outstanding job as Acting Director of the Institute since the departure of Professor Dirk Messner one and a half years ago. This will see DIE become the first German Government ministry-based research institute to be led by two female academics. “In this way, we’re giving a visible boost to women’s representation at management level within the research sector,” said a delighted Jäger.

“I’d like to congratulate Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge on her Professorship of Global Sustainable Development at the University of Bonn and on her new position as Director of DIE. Professor Hornidge has excellent knowledge of the research landscape in Bonn thanks to her previous work at the University of Bonn’s Center for Development Research. I’m confident that she will make a significant contribution to sustainability research in Bonn, a city renowned worldwide for scientific investigation,” said Annette Storsberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Professor Imme Scholz, currently Acting Director of the Institute, who will work alongside Hornidge as a Deputy Director, had the following to say: “I’m delighted that we’ve brought on board in Anna-Katharina Hornidge someone who will be able to draw on a wealth of empirical research experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America as she joins us in continuing our work on the concept of the global common good. At the same time, Ms Hornidge will contribute approaches from the field of knowledge sociology that will prove invaluable to our research, advisory and training activities in the area of global cooperation.”

Hornidge believes that global change processes are presenting German development researchers and policy-makers with the challenge of assuming a more visible and influential role in key areas at international level: “Some of the greatest challenges within international cooperation concern the way we should address the mutually reinforcing effects of environmental and climate change on the one hand and social inequality and the growing strength of authoritarian systems of government on the other. We need to rethink the opportunities and limitations of multilateralism, including questions of the use and distribution of the global commons, and develop the infrastructures for transregional learning and dialogue processes in the spirit of a democratically negotiated common good. However, this ultimately also means that the research sector itself must systematically reflect on its role as the driving force in safeguarding prosperity in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” said the sociologist.

She continued: “As such, I’m especially looking forward to leading the German Development Institute over the coming years as it conducts empirically based, interdisciplinarily linked and transregionally informed analyses of the aforementioned tension fields and of course prepares them as scientific bases for forward-looking policy-making. For achieving this fine and societally so important balance between fundamental research and high-level, politically relevant policy advice, the cooperation with the partner institutes of the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research will be crucial. Only in joint partnership can we achieve the long-term data sets across multiple world regions and scale levels that we require to understand and act upon the global pressures that we so dramatically observe.”

Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge is the first person to be recruited to lead the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) as part of an appointment process run jointly with a university. In opting for such a process, the Institute’s shareholders, represented by State Secretary Martin Jäger (BMZ) and State Secretary Annette Storsberg (MKW-NRW), have underscored its academic independence and the importance of close cooperation between the University of Bonn and DIE within the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research.

High-resolution press photos of Anna-Katharina Hornidge can be found here

Anna-Katharina Hornidge studied South East Asian Studies at the University of Bonn and the National University of Singapore, and completed a PhD in Sociology on the social construction of knowledge societies in Berlin and Singapore. She wrote her post-doctoral thesis (Habilitation) on “Global discourses of knowledge and their local consequences in Central and South East Asia” in 2014, granting her the venia legendi in development research in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Bonn. That same year, she became Acting Director and Professor of the Social Science Department of the Center for Development Research, Bonn. In 2015, Anna-Katharina Hornidge accepted a professoral chair position with the denomination “Social Sciences in the Marine Tropics” at the University of Bremen and was appointed head of the working group "Development and Knowledge Sociology” at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, where she has also served as Head of the Department of Social Sciences and member of the extended directorate of the institute since 2016.


About the University of Bonn:
The University of Bonn is the only one of the eleven German universities of excellence with six clusters of excellence. With around 35,000 students, 6,000 doctoral students, almost 550 professorships and 6,000 employees, it is one of the largest universities in Germany that are rich in tradition and research. Its broad range of subjects in its seven faculties ranges from agricultural sciences to dentistry. Central scientific, technological and social challenges are addressed in „six interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research areas“.

About the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research:
To intensify the cooperation between BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion), the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS), the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (UNU-EHS) and the University of Bonn including the Center for Development Research (ZEF), these institutions founded the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research in Bonn in the context of the UN Climate Change Conference on 15 November 2017. The regional research network aims to further strengthen research in the field of sustainable development and global change. It helps to interlink and expand the interdisciplinary competence in this field in Bonn. Furthermore, the Bonn Alliance aims at jointly establishing the Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB).

About the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE):

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) is one of the leading research institutions and think tanks for global development and international development policy worldwide. The Institute is based in the UN City of Bonn. DIE builds bridges between theory and practice and works within international research networks. Since its founding in 1964, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) has based its work on the interplay between Research, Policy Advice and Training. The Institute builds bridges between theory and practice and relies on collaboration in high-performance research networks with partner institutes in all regions of the world. Since 1 October 2018, Acting Director Professor Imme Scholz has been heading the Institute. Before, Dirk Messner, currently president of the German Environment Agency, had been director from 2003 to September 2018.