The DDZ is an interdisciplinary research center which combines molecular, clinical, and epidemiological work to improve prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and therapy of diabetes mellitus and its associated secondary complications.

The DDZ contributes to an improved quality of epidemiological data regarding diabetes in Germany. Moreover, the DDZ conducts clinical studies in order to analyze onset and development of diabetes, and to develop new prevention therapies. It represents the national reference center for diabetes research of the Leibniz-Association. As a result, the DDZ provides accurate scientific information related to diabetes mellitus for the public and for experts within the health care system.

The DDZ is operated through the non-profit German Diabetes Research Foundation (Deutsche Diabetes Forschungsgesellschaft e.V.), and is affiliated with the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. The DDZ is also partner within the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), a research cluster of five institutions funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.