January 09, 2019 | News | IMPRS

New Doctoral School for Population, Health and Data Science

Martin Stratmann, President of the Max-Planck Society, has announced the launch of a new International Max Planck Research School  focusing on Population Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS). The school will be hosted at the MPIDR and the University of Rostock and will be supported by eight affiliated institutions. From 2019 onwards, the school will admit about 20 doctoral students per year.

Martin Stratmann explains the decision of the jury as follows: “I am particularly pleased that an International Max Planck Research School can now be set up that combines a substantial training program on site with the possibility of networking with outstanding international partners. The aim is to create added value for all people that are involved.”

“The PHDS school aims at training the next generation of modern population scientists who are prepared to address the grand challenges that we face in order to advance the well-being of people and populations,” says MPIDR director Mikko Myrskylä, spokesperson of the school.

Myrskylä explains the idea of the school: “The dominant demographic trend of the 21st century is population aging. Virtually all countries of the world are getting older, creating pressure to transform the ways in which societal and economic structures as well as individual life courses are arranged. Understanding these challenges requires deep demographic knowledge combined with interdisciplinary expertise in epidemiology and population health, and proficiency with econometric, statistical, data science and computational methods. Existing doctoral programs usually train students in only one or two of these aspects.” According to him, there is a need for a doctoral program that merges demography, epidemiology, and data science. Therefore, the PHDS school will equip doctoral students not only with advanced knowledge of the theory and methods of demography and epidemiology (broadly defined as ‘population health’), but also with strong technical skills in statistics, mathematical modeling, and computational and data management methods (broadly referred to as ‘data science’).

The school will be run by the two core partners, the MPIDR and the University of Rostock, and eight renowned institutions that have complementary strengths (University of Greifswald, University of Groningen/NIDI, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, University of Helsinki, Oxford University, University of St Andrews, Stockholm University, and University of Washington).

The curriculum is targeted at pre-doctoral students entering the school with a Master’s or equivalent degree. The PHDS school will admit about 20 doctoral students per year: about 10 “core” students placed in Rostock and about 10 affiliated students placed at the partner institutions. The students will have an enhanced training experience, including, among other things, advanced coursework, an apprenticeship model guided by an interdisciplinary team of mentors, and mechanisms for exchange and professional development for students and scholars across leading international institutions.

“As one of the leading research institutions in demography, we are committed to supporting early-career researchers and preparing them for their professional future in academia, politics, or industry. With the PHDS school, we are continuing a strong tradition of doctoral training here at the MPIDR, providing PhD candidates with the best possible supervision and guidance from experts in a broad field of disciplines,” says MPIDR Chief Research Coordinator Beatrice Michaelis.

The school will start in January 2019 and will accept applications from January on. More information about the application procedure will be published soon on the MPIDR’s website.

More Information

A state-of-the-art degree in research - Information about the IMPRS on the website of the Max Planck Society



Head of the Department of Public Relations and Publications

Silvia Leek


+49 381 2081-143

Science Communication Editor

Silke Schulz


+49 381 2081-153

What next?

To the Home Page

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.