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Postgraduate Training for Applied Epidemiology (PAE) at the RKI

German Field Epidemiology Training Programme, FETP

Dr. Katharina Alpers
phone: +49 (0)30 18754-3690
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).

Connection to EPIET/EUPHEM

The PAE is a "field epidemiology training programme" and as such closely linked to the ECDC Fellowship Programme (EPIET/EUPHEM, cf. link below). 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, cf. link below). 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.

In line with the current situation, some of these will be 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)

PAE Training Sites

The PAE offers two types of training sites for their participants: either a unit within the Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Robert Koch Institute (units 32-37) or a public health authority of one of the federal states (cf. table below).

In either case, the participant is formally employed by the Robert Koch Institute. A decision about the training site will be made individually shortly after a successful interview.

Federal Public Health AuthorityContactFurther Infor­mationAvail­able in 2021
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
Homepageto be deter­mined
Hessisches Landes­prüfungs- und Unter­suchungs­amt im Gesundheits­wesen (HLPUG), GießenDr. Anja Hauri,
Tel. +49 2771 3206-36;
Dr. Helmut Uphoff,
Tel. +49 2771 3206-32
Homepageto be deter­mined
Landesamt für Arbeits­schutz, Verbraucher­schutz und Gesundheit Brandenburg (LAVG), ZossenDr. Claudia Siffczyk,
Tel. +49 331 868-835
Homepageto be deter­mined
Landesamt für Ge­sund­heit und Soziales (LaGeSo) BerlinDr. Daniel Sagebiel,
Tel. +49 30 90229 2400
Dr. Dirk Werber,
Tel. -2421
Homepageto be dete­rmined
Landes­amt für Ver­brau­cher­schutz Sachsen-An­halt (LAV) MagdeburgHanna Oppermann,
Tel. +49 (0) 391 53 77 190
Homepageto be deter­mined
Landes­gesundheits­amt Baden-Württemberg, (LGA) StuttgartDr. Christiane Wagner-Wiening,
Tel. +49 0711 90435060
see also:
to be deter­mined
Nieder­sächsisches Landes­gesundheits­amt (NGLA), HannoverDr. Elke Mertens,
Tel. +49 511 45 05 303
see also:
to be deter­mined
Landes­gesund­heits­amt Rheinland Pfalz (LUA), LandauPD Dr. Philipp Zanger,
Tel. +49 6341 43 31 050
Homepageto be deter­mined

In either case, the participant is formally employed by the Robert Koch Institute. A decision about the training site will be made individually shortly after a successful interview.

It is also 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 PAE.

Training Period

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

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 March 2021 on the RKI homepage.

Starting in 2020, we plan to conduct a written test as part of the application procedure. As preparation we recommend the following book:

 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: 01.09.2020