Obstacles to Modernization in the Economy and Science of the GDR (Mod-Block-DDR)

Emergence and Consequences - an inner-German comparison and a comparison to neighbouring countries in Central Eastern Europe

Information about the project

In the year 2017, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) published the call for project proposals in the field of “GDR Research” in order to support social scientific research about the “heritage of socialism” in the German university landscape and to strengthen the research structure in this field of expertise on a competitive basis.

The research consortium “Hurdles to modernisation in the economy and science in the GDR” (Mod-Block-DDR) was selected for funding as one out of 14 projects in total. The project will run empirical and comparative analyses focusing on the question in how far the hurdles to modernisation in the GDR impact the economic development and structures of East Germany until today. Four universities in Germany together with their international cooperation partners participate in the research consortium. Jutta Günther from the University of Bremen, Faculty of Business Studies and Economics, is head of the interdisciplinary research team. Young researchers are actively participating in the research and will be promoted through a PhD or postdoc career. Further, the results of the research will be disseminated broadly in the scientific community, policy, economy and general public. Especially the transfer of new knowledge about the GDR into society will be paid special attention.

The consortium started its work on December 01, 2018 and will be supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in a first stage until the year 2022. After positive evaluation, the second funding period of Mod-Block-DDR started on October 1, 2023 for two years.

In the context of the research project and in order to strengthen sustainable research structures, the Faculty of Business Studies and Economics of the University of Bremen filled a professorship position in economics with the specialisation “Institutional Change”. This newly established professorship is an additional action, financed by the University of Bremen and will work in close cooperation with the research consortium on complementary topics. It will particularly engage in research about institutional factors, which impact the economic catching-up process in transition economies until today.

Press release of the BMBF

Press release of the University of Bremen


Gefördert vom BMBF

Jarina Kühn and Mareike zum Felde present at conference "Transformation Research: Poland and East Germany in Comparison".

From 22nd September to 25th September 2021, the ZIP (Center for International Polish Studies) of the EUV and the in the European Solidarność Center (ECS) in Gdansk organized the joint conference titled "Transformation Research: Poland and East Germany in Comparison" on the transformation experiences…

Einladung zum Konsortialtreffen

Annual meeting of the research network Mod-Block-DDR

On October 4, 2021, the scientists of the research network Mod-Block-DDR met to present their ongoing research work of the seven subprojects and the cooperation project, to exchange information about the successfully concluded conference in Gdansk in September 2021 and the planned conference in…

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Lessons of the Unification Process - Jutta Günther gives a talk on the ambivalent legacy of the GDR innovation system after 1990

On August 4 and 5, 2021, the 10th meeting of the "German-Korean Consultative Board on Unification Issues" will take place. Prof. Dr. Jutta Günther, a member of the board since 2018, will present selected results of the Mod-Block-DDR research consortium at the conference.

Founded in 2010, the board…

Mod-Block DDR starts online colloquium

Online colloquium successfully held again in summer semester 2021

In spring 2020, soon after the Covid 19 pandemic broke out in Germany, we started the innovative format of a digital colloquium in our Mod-Block-DDR research consortium. The trigger was necessity: Despite obstacles we wanted to continue our scientific exchange within the network. Originally intended…

Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines

Heiko Pleines receives award for outstanding doctoral supervision

The prize for outstanding doctoral supervision, which the University of Bremen is awarding for the second time, is going to political scientist and head of a Mod-Block sub-project Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines this year.

We congratulate you very much!

For more information on the award, please see the pr…

“Legacies of Communist Modernization: Evidence from a Natural Experiment”

No doubt, state socialism has had a strong influence on the political and economic development in the respective countries up to the present day. However, the modes of impact are disputed in the academic debate. On 11 May, Alexander Libman (FU Berlin) will present newly gained insights into the…

Moderne Faserproduktion trifft devastierte Braunkohlelandschaft

UMPOBERE meets Mod-Block-DDR

On April 27, 2021, members of Mod-Block-DDR and the project „Umweltpolitik, Braunkohle und Rekultivierung im deutsch-deutschen Vergleich“ (UMPOBERE) met each other. The initiative of UMPOBERE director Helmut Maier was prompted by the thematic and methodological intersections between the two GDR…

Ansicht Tschernobyl

Does atomic energy have a future in Europe?

On March 11th, 2021, Heinrich Böll Foundation Bremen together with the Young DGO Regional Group Bremen (which is co-run by Mod-Block-DDR project members Dr. Mariia Shkolnykova, Mareike zum Felde and Olga Masyutina) organized an online event about the future of civilian use of atomic energy in…

MDR Podcast "Jahre nach dem Umbruch im Osten"

MDR-Podcast on the German Economic and Monetary Union in 1990

Mod-Block-DDR organised a panel discussion on economic and monetary union at the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of German unity. Participants and experts in economic transformation discussed successes achieved, mistakes made and useful lessons learned. The moderator Ine Dippmann (MDR) has now…

Bild der Teilnehmenden im Online-Modus

Reading and contemporary witness talk on "Madgermanes

It is a rather unknown chapter in the history of the GDR: More than 23,000 contract workers from Mozambique worked in agriculture, industry and handicrafts in the GDR for several years from 1979 onward on the basis of a bilateral agreement between the two socialist countries. However, their…

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