Prof. Harhoff is director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition and head of the department Munich Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research (MCIER). He is Honorary Professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (LMU) and Academic Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the LMU. From 1998 to 2013 he was professor of business administration at the LMU and chaired the Institute for Innovation Research, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (INNO-tec).
After his training as a graduate engineer in mechanical engineering at the University of Dortmund, he first worked as a research engineer in the UK and Germany. After that he finished a master degree as McCloy scholar at Harvard University, followed by a doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 1991 to 1998 he initially worked as research group manager and then – from 1995 – as vice director at the Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. He habilitated in 1996 at the Department of Economics at the University of Mannheim. In 1998 he took his current position at the University of Munich. In October 2007, Prof. Harhoff was granted a senior research professorship for four years. From January 2010 to September 2010 he was Visiting Professor at Stanford University in the U.S.
As a scientific adviser he is working for a number of public and private organizations, among others he is a member of the Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO) of the European Patent Office (EPO) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). In 2007, Prof. Harhoff was nominated by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine to be one of the 50 most influential people in the field of Intellectual Property. Since 2008, he is an elected member of acatech (Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften) and since 2010 he is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina).