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PhD student positions

at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR)
International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science


We invite applications 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 research and 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, Data Science, Computer Science/ Informatics, Applied Mathematics, Economics, Sociology, Public Health, or related disciplines.

1. Mikko Myrskylä’s department is recruiting for the following two research themes:

Family Dynamics, Health and Well-being
Family members can provide social support and resources that are beneficial for health. At the same time, certain family contexts can be characterized by stress and conflicts that may be harmful. Understanding how health and well-being are associated with family dynamics is crucial to understanding and reducing health inequalities. We are interested in longitudinal approaches that focus on the intersection of family and health, and their interrelationships and institutional contexts. This project will be supervised by Mine Kühn from the Lab of Population Health. For questions, please contact her at

Fertility and Global Challenges
Joshua Wilde from the Lab of Fertility and Well-being is looking for candidates with interests in the intersection between fertility and global challenges, broadly construed. Possible topics include – but are not limited to – linkages between fertility and climate change; fertility and disease (such as COVID-19, malaria); fertility and gender discrimination (such as sex-selective abortion); fertility decline and macroeconomic outcomes, or other issues surrounding the Demographic Dividend; fertility in the context of economic and social crises; in utero shocks and birth/health outcomes. Research in both high-income and low- and middle-income setting is welcome. For questions, please contact Joshua at

2. 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. The successful candidates would complement or further develop projects in the Lab. While the search is not restricted to specific projects, currently we are particularly interested in strengthening the following themes:

  • Statistical modelling, estimation and forecasting of migration flows, including how they vary by demographic characteristics and for specific subpopulations (e.g., high-skilled migrants, scholars, at the subnational level). 
  • Assessing and predicting inequalities in kin availability, in the lived experience of mortality and in other demographic outcomes, at the macro and micro levels, using a combination of formal methods, microsimulation and machine learning techniques.
  • Understanding and characterizing gender gaps and other demographic inequalities in access and use of information and communication technologies, as well as the differential demographic impact of technological change on social relations, well-being and the way we spend our time.

For questions, please contact Emilio at or the Research Area Chairs of the thematic area you are interested in. For a description of the Lab and research areas, as well as current projects and contact information, please see

These PhD studentships offer an excellent opportunity for motivated students to work with a highly international team of researchers, 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 take part in the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS) that merges demography, epidemiology and data science. IMPRS-PHDS 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’). 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. For more information on the IMPRS-PHDS curriculum please see

How to apply

Please apply using the form below, by 9 May 2021, include as a single pdf file, in English:

  • Curriculum Vitae, including a list of your scholarly publications.
  • A two-page motivational statement explaining whether you are applying to work with Kühn, Wilde, or Zagheni; how your planned PHD project fits with their research area; how MPIDR could foster your career development; and describe your technical skills and areas of expertise.
  • Copies of transcripts of undergraduate and, if applicable, master’s degrees. Applicants should hold a master’s degree or equivalent at the time of starting the PhD.
  • Names and contact information for 2 academic references.
  • One writing sample.

Virtual interviews are between 7 and 18 June 2021. Starting date is flexible, but no later than 1 November 2021. The PhD students are offered a 3-year contract with remuneration based on the salary structure of the German public sector (Öffentlicher Dienst, TVöD Bund) and will be expected to be in residence at the institute. Email inquiries concerning the application process, the MPIDR, and IMPRS-PHDS should be sent to

The MPIDR 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. Our institute values diversity and is committed to employing individuals from minorities. Individuals with severe disability are especially welcome to apply. Our Institute and the Max Planck Society also seek to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply.


Data protection information 

The Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (MPG) takes the protection of your personal data very seriously. In this privacy policy we inform you about the most important aspects of data processing in our recruitment and appointment process. 

1. Contact details of the individuals responsible 
The entity responsible within the meaning of the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Federal Data Protection Act is the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (MPG) 
Hofgartenstrasse 8, D-80539 Munich, Telephone: +49 (89) 2108-0, Internet:  

2. Contact details of the Data Protection Officer 
The Data Protection Officer at the entity responsible is Heidi Schuster, Hofgartenstrasse 8, D-80539 Munich, Telephone: +49 (89) 2108-1554, 

3. Purpose and legal basis of data processing 
The personal data provided to us by you in the application process will be stored and processed solely for the purposes of the application and appointment process of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. If you do not provide us with this information, you will not be able to participate in the application process. The legal basis for processing is Art. 6 para. 1 lit. b DSGVO (contractual basis) or § 26 BDSG 2018 (data processing to establish an employment relationship). 

4. Recipients of data or categories of recipients 
Employees of the hiring department have access to the data. Those forward the data to the selection committee formed for the respective application procedure and, if appropriate, to the Equal Opportunity Officer and the local works council. The selection committee may also include external reviewers to whom the data may be transmitted. A transfer to other third parties does not take place.  

5. Storage duration 
Your data will be stored until the end of the recruitment process or in the case of an unsolicited application until the end of the exploratory and, if applicable, appointment process. A longer storage takes place only if you have given us your consent. 

6. Your rights 
You are in principle entitled to information (Article 15 GDPR), rectification (Article 16 GDPR), erasure (Article 17 (1) GDPR), restriction of processing (Article 18 GDPR), data portability (Article 20 GDPR) and withdrawal of consent (Article 7 (3) GDPR). 

To claim your rights, please contact the 
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research 
Karolin Kubisch 
Konrad-Zuse-Straße 1 
18057 Rostock 

If you believe that the processing of your personal data violates data protection law or your data protection claims have otherwise been violated in any way, please contact the Data Protection Officer of the Max Planck Society at The supervisory authority responsible for the Max Planck Society is the Bayerisches Landesamt für Datenschutzaufsicht, Postfach 606, 91511 Ansbach.