Professor Harzer studied food science and nutrition between 1968 and 1973 at the University of Stuttgart, Hohenheim. In 1977 he acquired his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Konstanz. In 1978 and 1979 he spent almost two years working as a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California/USA. After acquiring his postdoctoral teaching qualification (habilitation) in 1989 for his work on the composition of human milk and its relevance for the development of modern infant formula, he was a lecturer at the University of Giessen in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Nutritional Science and Environmental Management.
Until July 2010 Professor Harzer was Senior Director Nutrition, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Kraft Foods Europe. He joined Kraft in 1989 where he held different senior positions in R&D and Quality, including being head of Food Technology in Munich and Chocolate Technology in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Before joining Kraft Foods, Professor Harzer headed the research activities of a leading German baby-food company. He has taught food science at TUM since 2004 and was appointed honorary professor in 2009.
- Head Nutrition Research, Kraft Foods (2006-2009)
- Senior Director Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Kraft Foods International (2003-2006)
- Senior Director Food R&D, Kraft Foods Europe, Munich (1996-2003)
- Director Chocolate R&D, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Neuchatel, Switzerland (1994-1996)
- Head of research, Milupa AG, Friedrichsdorf (1981-1989)