The Center

Aims and organizational structures

The Center for Social and Economic Behavior (C-SEB) was established in 2015 as a result of the University of Cologne’s (UoC’s) successful application to the Excellence Initiative of the German government. In its institutional strategy “Meeting the Challenge of Change and Complexity”, the UoC defines five Key Profile Areas (KPAs) that address topics of high scientific, technological and societal relevance. These four KPAs belong to strong international and national networks and are partners in cooperation projects with many regional non-university research institutes as well as industrial partners.

C-SEB institutionalizes the KPA II “Behavioral Economic Engineering and Social Cognition” that brings together researchers from economics, management science, psychology and related fields to investigate social and economic behavior. The center is also embedded in the UoC Competence Area II “Social and Economic Behavior” (CA II) which is associated with KPA II and houses various research endeavors on social and economic behavior.

UoC Main Building
C-SEB is located in two buildings on the UoC campus in proximity to the Main Building.
Student Service Center (SSC)
The economists of C-SEB work at the Student Service Center (SSC).
Student Service Center (SSC)
The psychologists of C-SEB are located at the Bauwens Building.
All members of the center meet frequently for joint academic events.
The focus of these meetings is on scientific exchange and the planning of collaborative research projects.


As one of the UoC Centers of Excellence, C-SEB provides funding for outstanding individuals and excellent collaborative research projects in KPA II. UoC Centers of Excellence are awarded to research groups with outstanding scientific records and a strong international reputation. They promote their overall visibility by advancing outreach activities as well as international networks and exchange programs. This also includes support for new junior research groups, international visitor programs, and other measures.


The center’s governance structure is formed by the executive board, the speakers, the PI board, the external scientific advisory board, and the central office.
C-SEB Organigramm
C-SEB is managed by the executive board, which is responsible for its daily operation and decides upon all relevant matters. The board members elect a speaker and vice speaker who represent C-SEB both internally and externally. The current speaker and vice speaker are Axel Ockenfels and Christian Unkelbach. The other members of the executive board are Anne Gast, Iris Schneider, Dirk Sliwka and Matthias Sutter.

Research is conducted and supervised by the principal investigators (PI) which constitute the PI board. All PIs are qualified scientists at the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences or the Faculty of Human Sciences working in a field related to C-SEB’s thematic focus.

The external scientific advisory board, a group of leading international scholars that meets every second year, advises C-SEB in all scientific and strategic matters. The current members of the board are Dan Ariely, Susan Fiske, and Uri Gneezy.

The central office provides the administrative framework for C-SEB and is supervised by the managing director. It is responsible for maintaining a productive research environment, organizing events and public relations activities, as well as infrastructure development.

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