Franz is Senior Research Advisor at the United Nations University Institute in Macau. Before joining UNU-Macau, he was a Professor at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Science in Xiamen and executive director of the global science programme on Urban Health and Wellbeing: A Systems Approach, which is an affiliated body of the International Science Council (ISC). Franz studied agricultural, resource and institutional economics at the University of Bonn and holds a PhD and habilitation in resource economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin. He established links between the Department of Resource Economics under Professor Konrad Hagedorn and the (Vincent and Elinor) Ostrom Workshop in Bloomington, Indiana University, which collaborated in research on the institutional transition process of Central and Eastern European countries. Prior to that, he was a Senior Researcher and project coordinator at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, Germany where he carried out research and development projects on the valuation, conservation, and use of biodiversity and ecosystems, marginality, as well as technological and institutional innovations for marginalized smallholders in agriculture. He is a free-ranging intellectual who grazes on the inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge fields of complex social-ecological-technological systems and is enthusiastic about participatory modelling and systems thinking.