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Rostock Retreat

Jun 21 2021 - Jun 23 2021

Rostock Retreat

The Rostock Retreat is organized annually by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. The Retreat is an experimental format for a scholarly exchange designed to encourage communication and collaboration on specific themes in a relaxed atmosphere. After three successful Retreats on visualization, causality, and simulation, the fourth Retreat will focus on visualizing uncertainty. Given the current travel and gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Rostock Retreat will take place online, offering the opportunity to discuss and learn from different parts of the world. This three-day event brings together theorists, practitioners, methodologists, and applied researchers from across the social sciences and beyond to stimulate discussion of best practices and new proposals on how to communicate uncertainty in various contexts and their application in demography and population studies. The Rostock Retreat is built on interaction, collaboration, and creativity to inspire new ideas and hone skills. To this aim, the event will include both keynotes and short lectures, interactive challenge sessions for participants to tackle a specific DataViz problem as a team, and networking sessions to exchange ideas and feedback, present ongoing work, and learn from others participants’ research.

Selected applicants interested in improving technical and conceptual skills in data visualization will also have the opportunity to attend the MPIDR course on Data Visualization that will take place the week before the Retreat (14–18 June 2021).


Location: online event (further details will be provided to participants)

Dates: 21–23 June, 2021

Tuition: there is no tuition fee for this event



Each day consists of the following activities, in total 4-5 hours per day. Exact times will be decided based on participants’ time zones.

Keynote speeches

Day 1 and Day 2 only. Live sessions attended by all participants.

Dataviz challenges

During the challenge sessions, participants are divided into small groups of around five people (adjusted to participants’ time zones) to discuss and propose a visual solution to a challenge (uncertainty visualization) that is provided to them by the organizers. Dataviz challenge teams will present their project at the end of the event.

Short lectures by special guests

Live sessions for those who could attend according to their time zones. Recorded versions will be provided to all participants.

Networking sessions

Participants will have the chance to present ongoing work, exchange ideas, and learn from others participants’ research.



A maximum of 20 participants will be admitted. Applicants should either be enrolled in a PhD program or have received their PhD. Basic knowledge of data visualization tools (such as R) and good English communication skills are required. The selection will be based on applicants’ scientific qualifications.

How to apply

Please upload your application via

The application should be a single PDF-file in English including:

  1. One-page CV
  2. A short proposal of a dataviz challenge that the candidate would like to advance and/or solve by participating in the Retreat (related to visualizing uncertainty)
    1. The proposal must use open access data and the participant should agree with sharing the challenge with other members of the Retreat.
    2. (optionally) The proposal should include a visualization containing an aspect of uncertainty, with a paragraph describing it (or critiquing it)
  3. A short motivation letter for participation, including skills with programming languages (e.g. R, python), familiarity with spatial and/or temporal dataset, or any other relevant details related to the event.
  4. Please indicate if you are interested to participate in the Data Visualization course to be held online before the Retreat (14–18 June 2021).
  5. Please indicate your availability in participating to the challenge sessions, whether first block, second block, or both, according to your time zone
    First block: 09:00-12:00 Rome/ 03:00-06:00 New York / 17:00-20:00 Sydney
    Second block: 15:00-18:00 Rome/ 9:00- 12:00 New York / 23:00-02:00 (next day) Sydney

The application deadline is 26 May 2021. Applicants will be informed of their acceptance by 4 June 2021.

Questions or Suggestions? Feel free to contact the organizing committee by – anytime from anywhere.


Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research