News from the Centre

Prof. Dirk Messner, montage: UNU

Centre's Co-Director Dirk Messner to head United Nations University's UNU-EHS

14.05.2018 The United Nations University (UNU) has appointed Professor Dirk Messner as the next Director of its Bonn-based UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), effective from 1 October 2018. Professor Messner, a founding director of the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in 2012, currently serves as its Co-Director and convener for 'Climate Change', one of the four policy fields of particular interest to the Centre.


UNU-EHS conducts research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change, and promotes policies and programmes to reduce these risks. UNU-EHS also offers a joint Master of Science degree programme in Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security with the University of Bonn.

'I congratulate Dirk Messner, also on behalf of my colleagues, on his new position at UNU,’ said Professor Sigrid Quack, Director of the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg. ‘At the Centre, we're looking forward to a continued fruitful and inspiring cooperation endeavour with the German Development Institute and with Dirk Messner and his new colleagues on the issue fields of global cooperation.’ 

Since 2003, Professor Messner has served as Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). He has also held the position of Professor of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 2006.

Professor Messner is currently the Co-Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) and has been working as an advisor to a number of international organisations, e.g. as a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Advisory Commission, and the European Commission’s Scientific Advisory Board for EU Development Policy. He is also a member of several academic journal editorial boards and a chair or member of scientific advisory groups of various research institutions.

Dirk Messner identified potential for synergies between his new work and the Centre in Duisburg: 'The UNU network develops solutions on questions of global humanity. I’m proud to become part of UNU and am looking forward to the new task at its German based institute, where first-class sustainability research is done. A partnership with the Käte Hamburger Kolleg for Global Cooperation Research provides advantages in both directions. Our Käte Hamburger Kolleg can – via UNU – advance cooperation with the United Nations. UNU benefits from the unique cooperation research done at the Centre.'    

Professor Messner was instrumental in bringing behavioural as well as natural science perspectives into the Centre's research. His book 'Global Cooperation and the Human Factor in International Relations' with Silke Weinlich kickstarted the Routledge Global Cooperation Series, which Messner co-edits. His research paper 'The Behavioural Dimensions of International Cooperation', co-authored with Alejjandro Guarin and Daniel Haun, outlined this approach and attracted considerable interest. During the first phase of the Centre’s existence, Professor Messner also commented on topical issues in global cooperation in numerous interviews and opinion pieces in German and international newspapers and greatly extended the reach and dissemination of the Centre's research and findings into policy circles and the broader public arena.

Professor Messner holds a Doctorate in Political Science (Dr. rer. pol.) and post-doctoral qualifications from the Free University of Berlin. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 publications. He was also the Academic Director of the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Institute for Development and Peace (Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden, 1995–2002), a Private Lecturer with the Faculty for Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Free University of Berlin (1995–2003), and Professor of Political Science at the University of Munich (2003).

UNU Press Release

German Development Institute