January 06, 2023 | News | Doctoral School

The Fourth IMPRS-PHDS Annual Academy was a Great Success, with nearly 100 Participants Attending


For three days in December 2022, the PhD students of the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS) exchanged ideas, presented their work, and networked with other researchers at the Annual Academy. After two years of virtual meetings due to the pandemic, this Annual Academy was the largest gathering since the doctoral school's inception in 2019.

In freezing temperatures and traces of snow, Managing Director Emilio Zagheni welcomed the students on a Monday morning in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock and summarized the past year. He also took a look back at the first Annual Academy in 2019, the only one held in-person until this year. He proudly pointed out that some of the students in the group photo from then were already alumni today. For many participants, this year's Academy was the first opportunity to meet in person since they started the doctoral program.

Four students - Nicholas Campisi, Liina Junna, Josephine Jackisch, and Shuye Yu - defended their doctorates in 2022, and two others, Lauren Bishop and Muhammad Naeem, have already submitted the written part of the thesis and will defend their work in the coming weeks. In addition, PHDS doctoral students published, or had accepted for publication, nearly 40 research papers in prestigious journals in 2022, including Demography, Population Studies, and Epidemiology.

The three-day Academy offered a diverse program ranging from academic speed dating and poster presentations to social evening activities such as a visit to the Rostock Christmas market.

In addition to  the students, the PHDS Faculty presented their current projects. Hill Kulu (University of St Andrews) reported on fertility trends in the UK, Christiaan Monden (University of Oxford) explained the impact of children's education on their parents' health and longevity, and Alyson van Raalte (MPIDR) explained why it is difficult to do cohort profiles using period data. Jennifer Dowd (University of Oxford), who presented her online science communication project thosenerdygirls.org, received many questions and enjoyed lively participation.

The poster award winners: Jasmin Abdel Ghany, Lara Bister and Ricarda Duerst. © MPIDR

One of the highlights of the event was the award ceremony for the best posters at the end of the Annual Academy on Wednesday afternoon. The awards went to Jasmin Abdel Ghany (MPIDR), Lara Bister (University of Groningen) and Ricarda Duerst (MPIDR). 

The award committee comprised of Anna Oksuzyan (Bielefeld University), Josephine Jackisch (Stockholm University), and Aliakbar Akbaritabar (MPIDR) gave the following reasons for awarding a Poster Award to Jasmin Abdel Ghany: “For choosing an extremely timely topic, presenting it in an engaging lightning talk, and telling a great story during the poster walk.” Lara Bister also received a Poster Award for putting a complex study into an outstandingly clear design and coherent narrative. Ricarda Duerst's poster impressed the committee by presenting and illustrating a complicated topic about statistics in an outstandingly accessible and understandable way.

After a successful event this year, the PHDS team is already looking forward to the Annual Academy 2023, which is expected to take place from December 13-15.


Dean of the International Advanced Studies in Demography

Heiner Maier


+49 381 2081-152

Research Scientist & Research Coordinator

Christina Westphal


+49 381 2081-196

Foreign Language Secretary

Peggy Bohl


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Foreign Language Secretary

Juliane Langner


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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.