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Postgraduate Training for Applied Epidemiology (PAE) at the RKI

German Field Epidemiology Training Programme, FETP

Dr. Jan Walter
phone: +49 (0)30 18754-3212
email: please use the contact form

PAE in a Nutshell

Since 1996 the Robert Koch Institute has provided the Postgraduate Training for Applied Epidemiology (PAE). The programme aims to train scientists in the field of infectious disease epidemiology and places a particular focus on applying epidemiological methods for the prevention and control of infectious diseases when working in the German public health service (ÖGD). Currently, five applicants are accepted each year. They should be motivated to work on projects with public health (PH) relevance and should aspire to a career in the PH sector in Germany or abroad.

A central feature of the PAE is the "learning by service" approach, i.e. only about 10% of the training consists of classical academic forms of education (lectures, seminars and case studies) while the emphasis lies on the independent use of the acquired techniques under close expert supervision at the training site (see below).

PAE Training Sites

The PAE participants are trained in a unit within the Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology (units 32-38) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and are formally employed by the RKI for the duration of the training.

Participation in the program is also possible for staff already employed in infection control in the federal states. Employers in the federal states would have to bear the costs and provide the people concerned for the training. Federal states interested in this model can contact [email protected]

The table below contains a list of the cooperating state offices that have already trained PAE participants.

Federal Public Health AuthorityContactFurther Infor­mation
Bayerisches Landes­amt für Gesund­heit und Lebens­mittel­sicher­heit (LGL) Ober­schleiß­heimProf. Dr. Dr. Andreas Sing,
Tel. +49 (0) 9131 6808-5814,
Dr. Katharina Katz, MPH Tel. -5251,
Dr. Merle Böhmer, MPH,
Tel. - 5634
Hessisches Landes­prüfungs- und Unter­suchungs­amt im Gesundheits­wesen (HLPUG), GießenDr. Anja Hauri,
Tel. +49 (0) 2771 3206-36;
Dr. Helmut Uphoff,
Tel. +49 (0) 2771 3206-32
Landesamt für Arbeits­schutz, Verbraucher­schutz und Gesundheit Brandenburg (LAVG), ZossenDr. Sascha Jatzkowski,
Tel. +49 (0) 331 868-830
Landesamt für Ge­sund­heit und Soziales (LaGeSo) BerlinDr. Daniel Sagebiel,
Tel. +49 (0) 30 90229 2400
Dr. Dirk Werber,
Tel. -2421
Landes­amt für Ver­brau­cher­schutz Sachsen-An­halt (LAV) MagdeburgHanna Oppermann,
Tel. +49 (0) 391 53 77 190
Landes­gesundheits­amt Baden-Württemberg, (LGA) StuttgartDr. Christiane Wagner-Wiening,
Tel. +49 (0) 711 9043 5060
see also:
Nieder­sächsisches Landes­gesundheits­amt (NGLA), HannoverDr. Elke Mertens,
Tel. +49 (0) 511 45 05 303
see also:
Landes­gesund­heits­amt Rheinland Pfalz (LUA), LandauPD Dr. Philipp Zanger,
Tel. +49 (0) 6341 43 31 050

It is however possible to extend the program to personnel already employed in the infection protection of the federal states. The employers in the federal states would have to bear the costs and second the assigned people to the training. Federal states interested in this model can contact [email protected]

Training Period

Each year, the training starts on the 15th of September and continues for two years.

Connection to EPIET/EUPHEM

The PAE is a "field epidemiology training programme" and as such closely linked to the ECDC Fellowship Programme (EPIET/EUPHEM, see link at the bottom). The curriculum and most of the integrated training modules are framed in cooperation with the ECDC. Thus, the participants of the PAE are part of the EPIET/EUPHEM network and are regularly in close contact with their European colleagues.

Connection to other international training programmes:
The PAE is member of the "Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network" (TEPHINET, see link at the bottom). TEPHINET is a professional alliance of field epidemiology training programs located in thirty-two countries around the world.

Training Curriculum

All aspects of the training are practice-oriented and aimed at finding and implementing appropriate action for the prevention and control of infectious diseases. The programme places a particular focus on the investigation of outbreaks in cooperation with the respective authorities of the ÖGD, the analysis of infectious disease surveillance data, the evaluation of surveillance systems as well as the development and implementation of application-orientated epidemiological research projects.

The results of the projects are presented at the annual European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE, cf. link below).

In addition to the practical training, theoretical knowledge is communicated through different training modules. Most of these modules are offered in cooperation with the ECDC Fellowship Programme and take place in different member states of the European Union.

Due to the ongoing pandemics most of the modules are currently being offered as online-seminars.


  • Introductory Course (3 weeks)
  • Outbreak Investigation (1 week)
  • Multivariable Analysis (1 week)
  • Rapid assessment and response in complex emergency situations and sampling methods (1 week)
  • Time series analysis (1 week)
  • Vaccinology (1 week)
  • Project Review (2x 1 week)

In addition, the PAE offers two modules that take place at the Robert Koch Institute:

  • Introduction to the German notification system and the tasks of the Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology at RKI (1 week)
  • Introduction to laboratory methods for epidemiologists (1 week)

Prerequisites for admission

Basic requirements:

  • University degree in human or veterinary medicine (in justified individual cases also similar careers)
  • Knowledge in the field of public health or epidemiology
  • Professional experience of at least one year in a field that is relevant for the PAE training (e.g. clinical work, experience with the ÖGD)
  • Experience with standard software programmes (MS-Office, statistical software)
  • Excellent knowledge of German and English (CEFR-level)

    • German: C1 or higher
    • English: B2 or higher

Any of the following would be assets:

  • Knowledge in the field of microbiology and infectiology
  • Experience in research and publishing

Applicants are expected to work for the public health service nationwide or abroad after completing the qualification. In cases of equal qualification, applicants already working for the public health service who would be released by their employer for the duration of the training will be preferably employed.

Application Procedure

The job advertisement for next year’s positions will be posted in February/ March 2022 on the RKI homepage.

Since 2020 we are conducting a written test as part of the application procedure and recommend the following book for preparation:

Bonita, Ruth, Beaglehole, Robert, Kjellström, Tord & World Health Organization. (‎2006)‎. Basic epidemiology, 2nd ed. World Health Organization

Master of Science in Applied Epidemiology (MSAE)

In the winter term 2009/2010 a Master of Science programme in Applied Epidemiology was newly established in cooperation with the Charité in Berlin and the Berlin School of Public Health (BSPH). The two-year fulltime course (120 ECTS credit points) is integrated into the PAE and EPIET training programmes.

Further information

Date: 16.03.2022