WZB Berlin Social Science Center

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Logo of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center
WZB Berlin Social Science Center

The WZB Berlin Social Science Center (German: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, WZB), also known by its German initials WZB, is an internationally renowned research institute for the social sciences, the largest such institution in Europe not affiliated with a university.

It was founded in 1969 through an all-party initiative of the German Bundestag.[1] Around 140 German and foreign sociologists, political scientists, economists, historians, statisticians, computer scientists and legal scholars work in the WZB conducting basic research on selected social and political issues, concentrating on the industrialized societies of Japan and the West, as well as the transformations of Central and Eastern Europe and China. The question of globalization is of particular importance.[2]

The WZB is organized into four research areas:

  1. Education, work and life opportunities
  2. Market policies
  3. socioeconomic impacts
  4. Civil society, conflicts and democracy

Constituted as a non-profit limited liability company (GmbH), ownership is shared between the federal government (75 percent) and the city-state of Berlin (25 percent).[1] WZB is a member of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community.

Although not a university body, it collaborates with Free University of Berlin, Hertie School of Governance, Humboldt University, Technical University of Berlin, as well as with research institutions abroad. Many WZB scientists are also university professors or hold teaching assignments.

Recent presidents of the WZB have included Meinolf Dierkes (1980–1987), Wolfgang Zapf (1987–1994), Friedhelm Neidhardt (1994–2000), and historian Jürgen Kocka (2001–2007).[3] The current president is sociologist Jutta Allmendinger.[4]

WZB is said to be the largest such research institution for the social sciences in Europe.[citation needed] Around 140 social scientists are conducting research on the developmental trends, problems of adaptation, and possibilities for innovation in modern societies.

The Federal Republic of Germany and the federal state of Berlin have been shareholders and main funders since 1976.

WZB headquarters on Landwehrkanal in Berlin-Tiergarten was designed 1979–1988 by the British architects James Stirling and Michael Wilford integrating the 1894 building of Reichsversicherungsamt.

People affiliated with WZB[edit]


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Coordinates: 52°30′23″N 13°21′57″E / 52.50639°N 13.36583°E / 52.50639; 13.36583