Axel Ockenfels studied economics at the University of Bonn until 1994. He received his doctorate and habilitation from the University of Magdeburg, with periods abroad at Penn State University and Harvard University. Subsequently, he was Emmy-Noether Junior Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena. In 2003, he became Professor of Economics at the University of Cologne. Research periods have taken him to Stanford University and, currently, to the University of California in San Diego, among other places.
In 2005, Prof. Ockenfels became the first economist in 17 years to be awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), as well as sitting at the Economists' Round Table in the Federal Chancellery and on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).