DFG's "GeroPlan: Perspectives for interdisciplinary ageing research" academy for young researchers launches

In 2024, the German Research Foundation (DFG) will launch an academy for young researchers called "GeroPlan: Perspectives for interdisciplinary ageing research". This academy is designed to help young scientists start their careers in ageing research. Gerontology, the science of ageing, is an important and topical field of research, especially as the world's population continues to age.

The academy is intended to help ensure that young female researchers are well trained to tackle the challenges of an ageing society and take advantage of the opportunities presented by ageing. After completing their doctorate, they should be able to develop independent research projects that are both scientifically and practically relevant and be able to collaborate with other female scientists.



The Young Investigator Academy is looking for research projects that focus on how people age and how this affects their bodies, minds and social interactions. The projects can use different methods, such as laboratory experiments, studies on animals or humans and computer-assisted analyses. The scientists can come from different fields, such as natural and life sciences, medicine, psychology, sociology or computer science, as long as they are interested in ageing. The Academy wants research to help older people to age healthier and happier.


Course of the junior academy

The young talent academy consists of four phases:


  1. Once the 20 participants have been selected, the first phase will begin with a one-day kick-off meeting, which will take place in Rostock from September 2 to 3, 2024. Here, the participants will be informed about the central requirements for a research project with regard to the quality of the project idea, the methodological development of this idea and its implementation in a research proposal. The researchers then have twelve weeks to formulate their own draft proposal for the one-year pilot project and submit it to the academy week.


  1. The second phase consists of an academy workshop lasting several days, which will take place from January 13 to 17, 2025 in Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Halle (Saale). Here, participants will deal with specialist topics and questions from the field of ageing research. In lectures and discussions, experts will provide insights into the theories (and methods for analyzing) aging processes as well as advice on the practical implementation of projects and the drafting of research proposals. In addition, the scientists present their project ideas, receive further personal advice on their draft proposals and are supported in the project team. They are individually assigned mentors as experienced supervisors who support them until the proposal is completed.


  1. The third phase of the academy offers participants time to finalize their own applications based on the findings of the academy week. The assigned mentors from the academy week will continue to provide support. The final proposal must then be submitted via the DFG's elan portal by April 30, 2025. With a maximum duration of twelve months and a funding volume of up to 65,000 euros, this proposal enables pilot studies to be conducted and preliminary work to be carried out with the aim of creating the basis for a more extensive follow-up project outside the Young Investigators Academy.


  1. All participants in the young talent academy whose applications receive funding are also supported by the mentors during the pilot project and are given the opportunity to intensify the newly established contacts. A further workshop takes place after six months of funding.


Note: Participation in all workshops is mandatory. The costs for participation, accommodation, meals and travel are covered by the DFG. The cost price is 100 euros per person.


Application - criteria, documents and deadlines

The academy is aimed at academics who meet the follwing criteria:

- University degree

- Doctorate awarded no more than eight years ago (periods of parental leave and childcare are taken into account)

- Habilitation not yet completed

- Involvement in a working group through which structures and support are available at the location to carry out the proposed project

- Availability of at least one own publication related to ageing research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal

- Declaration of release from the clinic or institute management (see below)

- For fixed-term employment contracts: Statement from the clinic or institute management that the employment contract will be extended accordingly if the application for third-party funding is approved.


A project outline must be submitted in order to take part in the Young Talent Academy. This outline must describe the study idea, basic concept and implementation of a research project from which the subsequent application can develop.


A positive evaluation of the outline by a panel of experts is a prerequisite for invitation to the Academy. Applicants will receive a binding decision from the Academy's coordinator by August 15, 2024 regarding their admission to the Academy for Young Researchers.


The following documents must be attached to the application documents
- Letter of motivation (max. 1 page)
- Project outline for a one-year research project with an outlook for a subsequent three-year overall project (max. 2 pages)
- Curriculum vitae (see DFG information sheet 53.200)
- Copy of the doctoral certificate

- Declaration from the clinic or institute management stating that, if the project application is approved, at least 50 percent of the time off will be granted.


Criteria for selection:

- Classification of the outlined project in the subject matter (suitability)

- Support from/embedding in the institution; suitability of the scientific environment

- Perspective and potential links of the topic in relation to the academic career
- Innovative content of the project; suitability and originality of the methodological approach; feasibility of the project
- Scientific qualification of the person


Please send your application for participation in the Young Researchers Academy in electronic form (as one PDF document including cover letter; only the attachment of your e-mail will be processed) to marion.kroebel@uk-halle.de and andreas.simm@uk-halle.de by July 14, 2024.



Further information


Organization of the junior academy:

Professor Dr. Andreas Simm, University Hospital Halle (Saale), University Clinic and Polyclinic for Cardiac Surgery, Ernst-Grube Str. 40, 06120 Halle (Saale), Tel. +49 345 557 2647, andreas.simm@uk-halle.de


Professor Dr. Georg Fuellen, University of Rostock, Rostock University Medical Center, Institute for Biostatistics and Informatics in Medicine and Aging Research, Ernst-Heydemann-Str. 8, 18057 Rostock, Tel. + 49 381 494-7360, fuellen@uni-rostock.de


Associate Professor Dr. Anne Navarrete Santos, University Medicine Halle, Medical Faculty of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Große Steinstraße 52, 06108 Halle (Saale), Tel. +49 345 557 1718, a.navarrete-santos@medizin.uni-halle.de

Last Modification: 11.04.2024 - Contact Person: Webmaster