Professor Dr. Sebastian Heilmann

Research interests

Political system and economic development in China, with a special focus on China’s industrial and technology policies | Governmental long-term, cross-sectoral policy agendas (development planning) in comparative and historical perspective | Comparing economic and innovation policies | Policy innovation through experimental and pilot programs (policy experimentation)


Sebastian Heilmann is Chair Professor for Government and the Political Economy of China at the University of Trier near Luxembourg. From 2013 to 2018, he served as the founding director for the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin, the leading European think tanks on Chinese affairs. Heilmann’s current research is focused on China’s economic and technology policies and their global impact. Heilmann has many years’ experience providing advice to German and European policy-makers and corporate leaders.

Recent publications

Heilmann, Sebastian (2020): Die Seidenstraßen-Illusion: Mythen und Realitäten eines eurasischen Superkontinents unter chinesischer Vorherrschaft. Schriftenreihe der Vontobel-Stiftung. Zürich 2020.

Heilmann, Sebastian (2018). Red Swan: How Unorthodox Policy Making Facilitated China’s Rise. Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. DOI: 10.2307/j.ctv2n7q6b.


Heilmann, Sebastian (2017, ed.): China's Political System. Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN: 978-1-4422-7735-9.

Heilmann, Sebasitan, & Perry, Elizabeth J. (2011, eds.): Mao's Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China. Cambridge (Massachusetts); London: Harvard University Asia Center. DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt1sq5tc6.