After studying biology (Bochum), a doctorate in microbial ecology (Gießen) and a post-doctoral period at the Jülich Research Centre on the subject of nitrification, Ralf Wilhelm joined the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry in Braunschweig in 2001, where he worked on the biosafety and post-marketing environmental monitoring of genetically modified plants. Other research topics were pollen dispersal and coexistence. He managed several national and international collaborative projects, including the EU-funded GRACE (2012- 2015) and G-TwYST (2014-2018)
projects, which investigated the value of rat feeding studies with whole GM maize for the GMO risk assessment. Since 2017, he has been head of the Institute for Biosafety Research in Plant Biotechnology at the Julius Kühn Institute - Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants. He lectures at the Universities of Göttingen and Geisenheim about biotechnology and biosafety.