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Study and Career

PhD Student Positions at IMPRS-PHDS

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) is inviting applications from qualified and highly motivated students for PhD student positions in the Labs of the MPIDR Directors Mikko Myrskylä and Emilio Zagheni.

The MPIDR is one of the leading demographic centers in the world. It is part of the Max Planck Society, a network of 86 institutes that form Germany’s premier basic-research organization. Max Planck Institutes have an established record of world-class, foundational research in the sciences, technology, social sciences, and the humanities. They offer a unique environment that combines the best aspects of an academic setting and a research laboratory.

We are looking for candidates with a background in Demography, Statistics, Data Science, Computer Science/ Informatics, Applied Mathematics, Economics, Sociology, Geography, Public Health, or related disciplines.

Director Mikko Myrskylä is looking for candidates who will work in one of the research groups Population Health, Labor Demography, or Fertility and Well-Being. Interested candidates are encouraged to send an inquiry to Mikko at sekmyrskyla [at] or to the deputy heads of the research groups they are interested in. For a description of the research groups and contact information please see

Director Emilio Zagheni is looking for candidates who will work in one of the research areas of the Lab of Digital and Computational Demography: Migration and Mobility; Aging and Generational Processes; Social and Environmental Dynamics. For a description of the Lab and research areas, as well as current projects and contact information, please see

The successful candidates should have strong quantitative skills and are expected to conduct cutting-edge research that is thematically relevant and produces methodological advances in one of the research areas above.

These PhD studentships offer an excellent opportunity for motivated students to work with a highly international team of researchers at different levels of seniority, and to take advantage of the interdisciplinary intellectual environment at MPIDR, as well as substantial financial support for travel, research training and data acquisition.

Admitted students will be expected to take part in the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS), a training initiative hosted at MPIDR that merges demography, epidemiology and data science. The IMPRS-PHDS school equips 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’). Possible dissertation topics are not limited to health, but cover all areas of demographic research, including mortality, fertility, migration, mathematical and social demography, as well as the impact of population aging on changing life courses, intergenerational transfers, and economic activity within populations. PHDS supports strong interdisciplinary research training and exchange within a network of universities in Europe and the US. The research school offers a core training program in Rostock, extensive networking opportunities across partner sites, and high-quality supervision across at least two institutes. More information on the IMPRS-PHDS curriculum is available on the school’s website at

Applicants must hold a master’s degree or equivalent (as a prerequisite the next intended academic degree must be a doctoral degree).

How to Apply

  • All applications must be made in English.
  • Applications have to be submitted online via and must include the following documents, all integrated in *a single pdf file*:
    1. Curriculum Vitae, including a list of your scholarly publications.
    2. A two-page Letter of Interest
      • Please state why you are interested in joining MPIDR, how MPIDR could foster your professional development and career trajectory, and in which ways your research interests fit the research areas described above. Please explain how your doctoral research relates to the IMPRS-PHDS. Please also describe your technical skills, areas of expertise, as well as future research projects.
      • At the very end of your letter of interest, in a separate paragraph, please indicate whether you apply to the Department of Director Myrskylä (research groups: Population Health; Labor Demography; Fertility and Well-Being), or to the Department of Director Zagheni (research areas: Migration and Mobility; Aging and Generational processes; Social and Environmental Dynamics), or to both Departments. If you apply to both Departments, please indicate a preference.
    3. Copies of transcripts of undergraduate and, if applicable, master’s degrees
    4. Names and contact information for 2 academic references
    5. One writing sample
  • Application deadline is 10 May 2020. Interviews will be scheduled for May and June. Applicants will be informed of their acceptance by 15 July 2020.
  • The starting date is flexible, but no later than Fall 2020.
  • All admitted students are expected to attend the IMPRS-PHDS core training courses starting on 2 November 2020.
  • All admitted students are expected to attend the IMPRS-PHDS Annual Academy on 7-9 December 2020 at the MPIDR in Rostock, Germany.

Successful applicants will be offered a 3-year contract with remuneration based on the salary structure of the German public sector (Öffentlicher Dienst, TVöD Bund). The Institute has an excellent work environment and offers family-friendly work arrangements (flexible working hours, teleworking, and guaranteed places at day-care centers for children), occupational health promotion, and opportunities for continuous further training.

More information
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Email inquiries concerning the application process, the MPIDR, and IMPRS-PHDS should be sent to phds [at]