The Wilhelm Merton Centre was founded by Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Zuleeg, retired judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities, in 1998 as the Centre for European Studies (ZEWi). Since 2004 it has been named after the Frankfurt entrepreneur and patron Wilhelm Merton (1848-1916), who played a major role in the founding of Frankfurt University. Merton's socio-political commitment lay in particular in creating scientific institutions that at the same time met the requirements of modern economic society. Today's Merton Centre, which investigates questions of European integration and the global economic order, also follows in this tradition.
The Merton Centre is made up of two chairs of law and one of economics, but also aims to include social science and philosophical issues. It also works together with non-academic institutions, such as the European Union, the City of Frankfurt am Main and other cooperation partners.