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International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE)

Health and Social Protection

Themenfeld Gesundheit und Soziale Sicherung Titelbild
Improving access to health and social protection systems worldwide is an essential element of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and an essential requirement for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Adopting a global perspective, the section Health and Social Protection seeks to contribute to the development of inclusive health and social protection systems.

The research field explained in 5 minutes

Fragen zur Forschung mit Katja Bender YouTube Poster
Short video interview on the topic "Health and Social Protection" with Prof. Dr. Katja Bender (english subtitles available)

The research field at a glance

The central focus fields of the research group "Health and Social Protection":

Arbeitsgruppe Gesundheit und Soziale Sicherung


  • Political economy and institutional analysis of social protection and health system reforms
  • Social protection, health, and technology: Interactions between technological and institutional change

  • Multisectoral coordination within a One-Health Approach




The strategic starting point for the work of the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE) is the orientation towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 formulated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form the core of the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". As a member of the German Sustainable Development Solutions Network, we thus contribute to promoting sustainable development in Germany and German commitment to sustainable development worldwide.

SDG 1 Keine Armut
SDG 3 Gesundheit und Wohlergehen
SDG 5 Geschlechtergleichheit
SDG 8 Menschenwürdige Arbeit und Wirtschaftswachstum
SDG 10 Weniger Ungleichheiten

The questions posed by the Research Cluster Health and Social Protection are based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. The goals 'No Poverty' (SDG 1), 'Health and Wellbeing' (SDG 3), 'Gender Equality' (SDG 5), 'Decent Work and Economic Growth' (SDG 8) and 'Reduced Inequalities' (SDG 10) are at the centre of the considerations.

The section seeks to contribute to the development of inclusive social protection and health systems by taking a global perspective, engaging in interdisciplinary research beyond the social sciences, bridging the gap between research and practice by combining rigorous academic research with high societal relevance

„The fight against extreme poverty remains one of the greatest global challenges we face. It is important to me to contribute through research and teaching to deepening our understanding of how we can achieve this goal together and on an continuous basis.”

Prof. Dr. Katja Bender - Professor of Economics, esp. Economic & Social Development/Director of the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE)

Katja Bender Personenporträt Professorin IZNE

Extending social protection and strengthening health systems involve comprehensive and often long-term processes of institutional change at various levels of society influencing the scope and breadth of development-related outcomes. While on the policy agenda in many countries worldwide, observed reform dynamics differ including rapid and comprehensive shifts, gradual change or situations of blocked reforms or reform reversals. These differences are observed across countries and within countries across different pillars of social protection and health systems. The main research objectives are to explain the dynamics and resulting impacts of observed processes of institutional change within social protection and health systems.

Selected projects

Key Visual Kluger Transfer mit Inhalten, weisser HG

KLUGER Transfer - Climate - Environment - Health - Transfer

Logo One Health Projekt (DE)

One Health - A holistic approach to metropolitan regions Part 1


EnerSHelf – Energy supply for health care facilities in Ghana

shpig-logo-mit-text.png (DE)

SHPIG - Social and Health Policies for Inclusive Growth

enershelf_wetterstation.jpg (DE)

EnerSHelF_DEF - Energy self-sufficiency for Health Facilities in Ghana

Selected publications
  • Bender, K. & Kaltenborn, M., Eds. (in preparation). Global Social Protection – Institutional Perspectives, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Bender, K. (2022). Research–Practice–Collaborations in International Sustainable Development and Knowledge Production: Reflections from a Political-Economic Perspective. In: The European Journal of Development Research.
  • Pouw, N., Bender, K. (2022). The Poverty Reduction Effect of Social Protection: The Pros and Cons of a Multidisciplinary Approach. In: The European Journal of Development Research
  • Bender, K., Rohregger, B., Kinuthia, B., Ikua, G.,Schüring, E., Alatinga, K., Adamba, C., Pouw, N. (2021). Different pathways of social protection reforms: An analysis of long-term institutional change in Kenya.), in: World Development, 131,
  • Pouw, N., Rohregger, B., Schüring, E., Alatinga, K., Kinuthia, B., & Bender, K. (2020). Social Protection in Ghana and Kenya through an Inclusive Development Lens: complex effects and risks, in: World Development Perspectives,

Any futher questions?

Katja Bender Portrait IZNE 23

Katja Bender

Professor of Economics, esp. Economic & Social Development, Director of the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE), Head MBA CSR & NGO Management, Deputy president European Association for Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI)

Research fields


Sankt Augustin


G 045


Grantham-Allee 20

53757, Sankt Augustin


+49 2241 865 9660
Sebastian Heinen Personenporträt Mitarbeiter IZNE

Sebastian Heinen

Research Fellow Economic Development


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Grantham-Allee 20

53757 Sankt Augustin


+49 2241 865 9699
Callistus Agbaam Personenporträt Mitarbeiter IZNE

Callistus Agbaam

Former Research Associate 'Health and Social Protection'


Sankt Augustin


Grantham-Allee 20

53757 Sankt Augustin