Skip to main content
Study and Career

Population and Social Data Science Summer Incubator Program

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) is inviting applications from qualified and highly motivated students for a Summer Research Visit.

The goal of the Population and Social Data Science Summer Incubator Program is to enable discovery by bringing together data scientists and population scientists to work on focused, intensive and collaborative projects of broad societal relevance.

For a period of 3 months (June 3rd – August 23rd, 2024) participating students will work in small teams, with support from experienced mentors, towards a common research goal. For the summer of 2024, the focus of the program will be on three main areas:

  • “Climate Change and Population Dynamics” mentored by Matt Hauer (Florida State University), Risto Conte Keivabu and Emilio Zagheni
  • “Network and Gender Dynamics on Mobility and Migration” mentored by Aliakbar Akbaritabar, Jisu Kim and Daniela Perrotta
  • “Estimation and Forecasting of Health Indicators in Data-scarce Contexts” mentored by Monica Alexander (University of Toronto), Ugofilippo Basellini and Irena Chen

Participating students will be exposed to best practices across the social sciences and data sciences while contributing to a hands-on project experience that will result in a scientific journal article. All participants will also have access to lectures and will be able to participate in other scientific activities taking place at the MPIDR.

Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral, master’s or undergraduate university program (at the time they visit the MPIDR). Selected candidates must obtain approval to participate in the program by their supervisor/administrator. The Incubator program values research teams that include early-career scientists from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, with complementary skill sets. Priority will be placed on bringing together a diverse pool of students. The total number of attendees will be defined based on resources and the quality of applications. The mentors will provide seed projects and data ideas, with flexibility for students to put forward their own ideas as well.

Successful candidates will have demonstrated ability to work on research projects independently and in interdisciplinary teams, and an interest in research problems related to both data science and the social sciences, broadly defined.  

Applications must be in English and submitted online via this survey and include the following documents in one single PDF:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Cover letter (Max 2 pages)
    - Please state why you are interested in spending the summer at the MPIDR, and in which ways you would benefit from participating in the Incubator program.
    -Please articulate your research interests and briefly describe a project you have worked on, the motivation for it and your contribution.
    -Please describe your technical skills, as well as what you would like to learn over the course of the Summer visit.
  3. Copies of academic transcripts for undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate education
  4. Names and contact information for 2 academic referees (no recommendation letter is required at this step)

In order to receive full consideration, applications should be received by January 10th 2024. Notifications will be sent out by March 2024. This will be an in-person summer program, and students will be expected to be in residence at the MPIDR in Rostock for the period of the research visit and to devote most of their working time to the collaborative research project during that period. Selected students enrolled in a PhD program will be offered reimbursement for travel costs to/from Rostock, and a stipend. Selected students who are not enrolled in a PhD program will be offered reimbursement for travel costs to/from Rostock, lodging in Rostock, and a per diem.

The Max Planck Society values diversity and is keen to employ individuals from minorities.

We are committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities at our institutes and therefore encourage applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

More information

You can find more information on previous program participants, projects and publication outcomes on the program webpage.

In addition, please consult the FAQ document for further details.



For remaining administrative questions, please get in touch with Kathrin McCann ( For scientific questions please contact Risto Conte Keivabu [Climate change] (, Daniela Perrotta [Mobility] ( or Ugofilippo Basellini [Health] (

Additional Information






Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research