Job Offer

St Andrews–Max Planck PhD Studentship in Population Health

We invite applications from qualified and highly motivated students for a 3.5 year St Andrews–Max Planck PhD studentship in Population Health. The PhD studentship is funded by the University of St Andrews and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR). The PhD student will be working on mortality from substance abuse in high-income countries. The project involves analysis of aggregate data from the WHO mortality database and of individual-level administrative data from the UK (e.g. ONS LS and/or SLS). The project will be part of International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS) The PhD student will be supervised by the following team: Dr. Enrique Acosta (MPIDR), Prof. Mikko Myrskylä (MPIDR) and Prof. Hill Kulu (St Andrews).

In the first two years (more precisely 1.75), the successful applicant will be working in the Laboratory of Population Health at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, one of the leading centres for demographic research in the world. Please see:

In the third and fourth year, they will be working at the University of St Andrews. They will become a member of the Population and Health Research Group at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development (SGSD), which combines expertise in advanced techniques of demographic, longitudinal and spatial analysis. For further details about the research group, please see:  

During the period in the UK, the St Andrews–Max Planck PhD studentship will cover: 1) A maintenance grant of £15,560 per year (in the 2021/22 academic year, subject to increase annually according to the ESRC rules and regulations); 2) A research training support grant (RTSG) of £750 per year; and 3) Full tuition fee waiver. During the period in Germany, the PhD student will be paid according to the MPIDR rules and regulations. This includes: 1) A contract amounting to a gross salary of about €33,688 per year, including a Christmas bonus (Weihnachtsgeld); and 2) Financial support for travel, research training, and data acquisition. 

Students with an excellent master’s degree (distinction or merit in the UK) or the equivalent national qualification in any area of social and health sciences including statistics and applied mathematics who are interested in this opportunity must submit an application by 31st August. Please see the advice on applying for research degree programmes at: Please apply to the programme “PhD Geography (Science)”. Please include a covering letter outlining your interest in population and/or health and in applying advanced quantitative methods in population and/or health science research. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in the first half of September. The University of St Andrews and the Max Planck Society strive for equal opportunities. Applications of any background are welcome.  

This is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to work in an international team of researchers on a cutting-edge population and health science topic and applying advanced quantitative methods and statistical modelling. The student is expected to use the opportunity of preparing a PhD thesis as a collection of research articles according to the PGR regulations of the University of St Andrews. The studentship is available from January 2022.  

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr. Enrique Acosta (, Prof. Mikko Myrskylä ( and Prof. Hill Kulu ( Please include ‘St Andrews–Max Planck PhD studentship’ in the subject line of your email. 

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.