Mr Runge-Metzger holds a doctoral degree in agricultural economics. He started his professional career at the University of Göttingen, Germany in 1985. His main scientific topics are natural resources economics and development economics, which included extensive field research in West Africa. He joined the European Commission in 1993, starting his career in the EC Delegation in Zimbabwe where he was responsible for the bilateral co-operation covering agricultural policies, rural development and the environment.
From the end of 1997, Mr Runge-Metzger worked for four years in DG Development and DG Environment in Brussels on a wide range of environmental issues, particularly climate change. At the end of 2001, he was appointed Head of Operations in the EC Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He took up his position as Head of Unit on 1 September 2003.