Academy Kursus
© TU München

DZIF Academy

Educating and training the next generation of researchers in infectious diseases is the aim of the DZIF Academy. Highly attractive educational programmes for students and postgraduates are fundamental for excellent basic, translational and clinican scientists.

Using a multidisciplinary training approach, the Academy programmes are designed to promote career opportunities for young scientists in the fields of clinical infectious diseases, microbiology, virology, immunology and molecular medicine. It also supports female scientists and young parents during critical phases of their career.

„All of those funded by the DZIF Academy so far have gained a permanent foothold in infection research.“
Jan Rupp
Jan Rupp
Coordinator DZIF Academy, Lübeck

At the same time, Academy programmes allow trained clinicians to sharpen their scientific profile in parallel to specializing in infectious diseases and to qualify for an academic career. For this, the DZIF Academy closely collaborates with the German Societies for Infectious Diseases (DGI) and Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) and will award the DZIF certificates “Excellence in Infectious Diseases” and “PhD in Infection Research”.

Programmes for the promotion of young scientists

With its funding programmes, the DZIF Academy aims to inspire young researchers for infection research and offer them long-term research perspectives.

Applications for the MD programme are made via the PhD programmes at the DZIF sites. Laboratory rotations can be applied for throughout the year. Applications for the Maternity Leave Programme may be submitted any time during maternity- and/or extended parental leave or, at the latest, three months after returning to work.

The next deadline for applications for the other programmes is the 15.09.2024.

More information and the calls for the programmes can be found in the following overview of all DZIF Academy programmes:

Clinical Leave Programme

The overall goal of the DZIF Academy is to close the gap of multidisciplinary training approaches within infection research in order to master the biological complexities associated with infectious diseases. The DZIF Academy will fund up a 1 or 1.5-year clinical leave of absence for doctors in their clinical training. Those funded in the last application period can each apply for a one-time, six-month extension. The DZIF-funded clinical leave should be used to conduct an experimental or clinical research project at a DZIF site, to publish projects and/or to apply for an additional grant (e.g. DFG).

Call for Clinical Leave Applications

Programmes for medical students (MD Programme)

The DZIF Academy supports the overall DZIF objective of attracting young students into infection research by sponsoring up to six MD students per DZIF partner site and year. The purpose of the DZIF MD Programme is to support medical students interested in performing an experimental study and joining a structured doctoral programme to obtain their MD. Because of the individuality of their programmes, all DZIF sites have established their own structured doctoral programmes that enable medical students to complete a doctoral thesis in infection research.

The DZIF MD Programme grants funded students twelve to eighteen months of release from the routine medical curriculum in order to achieve full-time dedication to thesis-related research in a DZIF project. Interested candidates should please contact their local DZIF site manager or the DZIF Academy in order to receive more information.

MD/PhD Programme

Reflecting its dedication to training next-generation Clinician Scientists, the DZIF Academy annually awards full-time funding for three years (in exceptional cases as part time with a longer duration) in order to enable MDs the opportunity to obtain an additional doctoral degree at one of the DZIF partner sites.

Call for MD/PhD Applications

Programmes for Advanced Clinician Scientists

The aim of the programme is to establish a structure after specialist qualification that enables the successful combination of tasks in research, teaching and patient care in university medicine. The target group is research-oriented medical specialists who have already successfully embarked on an academic career path with the intention of taking on a management function or professorship in the future. The 50% release from clinical work is intended to enable the sponsored persons to develop in a science-oriented manner.

Call for the Advanced Clinician Scientist Programme

Maternity Leave Programme

To facilitate the re-entry of female scientists after maternity leave or extended parental leave, the DZIF Academy has established the Maternity Leave Programme. The programme encourages female DZIF project leaders or staff in DZIF-funded projects to continue their career in infection research part-time or full-time.

Call for Maternity Leave Applications

Laboratory Rotations

High quality research in infectious diseases requires the combination of classical (protein chemistry, molecular genetics and medical microbiology) and advanced state-of-the-art technologies (imaging methods, proteomics, structural biology, next generation sequencing, RNAi based high throughput approaches, systems biology, bioinformatics etc.). The DZIF Academy will fund laboratory rotations in order to foster a deeper understanding of these methods and help master targeted applications. 

Call for Laboratory Rotations

DZIF Academy Travel Grant

The DZIF Academy finances participation in national and international workshops and conferences for young researchers who wish to present their research at scientific events outside the DZIF network. Only the first or last authors of the presentation of a current DZIF-funded project can apply. The DZIF Travel Grant is not intended for internal DZIF events. Under the following links you will find more information and the application form for the grant.

Are you a DZIF Academy fellow or alumni?

Join our “DZIF Academy fellows” LinkedIn group and be a part of the community! This group offers the opportunity to network and exchange ideas. Ask questions, share your successes, express your opinions and give each other tips!


The DZIF awards annual scientific prizes to raise the visibility of infection research in Germany. The DZIF Prize for Translational Infection Research honours special scientific contributions in the field of translational research. The prize is endowed with 5,000 euros. The DZIF also sponsors doctoral prizes, which are awarded jointly with professional societies. They are endowed with up to 1,500 euros.

Applications for the DZIF Prize for Translational Infection Research 2024 can be submitted until 6 October 2024.

More info

DZIF Prize for Translational Infection Research

Prize winners

2023: Ralf Bartenschlager, Heidelberg University Hospital

2022: Gérard Krause, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

2021: Ulrike Protzer, Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Munich

2020: Stephan Becker, Universität Marburg, and Gerd Sutter, LMU München

2019:  Gülşah Gabriel, Heinrich Pette Institute, Hamburg, and Stefan Niemann, Research Center Borstel

2018: Volker Lohmann, Heidelberg University Hospital, and Marylyn Addo, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2017: Andreas Peschel, Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT)

2016: Florian Klein, University Hospital Cologne

2015: Markus Gerhard, Technische Universität München

2014: Stephan Urban, Heidelberg University Hospital

DZIF/DGI Dissertation Prize

The German Society for Infectiology e. V. (DGI), together with the DZIF, is offering three dissertation prizes. The prizes are endowed with 500 euros each and are awarded once a year.

Prize winners

2023: Maria Pfefferkorn, Maja Reimann, Lukas Weiß

2022: David Martin, Thomas Müller, Lara Thieme

2021: Jenny Lam, Sebastian Theobald, Melanie Wittner

2020: Felix Köhler, Elena Muscolino, Yassir Adam Shuaib

2019: Ramona Businger, Juan Ruiz-Moreno, Till Omansen

2018: Daniel Todt, Surabhi Goyal, Florian Lempp

2017: Johanna Galaski, Steffen Wiegand, Shuting Xu

2016: Stephanie Pfänder, Jan Naujoks, Angelique Hölzemer

2015: Jara Joedicke, Stephanie Jung and Zuguang Wu

2014: Jan-Moritz Doehn

DZIF/DGHM Dissertation Prize

Prize winners

2024: Elias Eger

2023: Christine Dunker

2022: Anne Kathrin Lößlein

2021: Manuela Tietgen

2020: Jennifer Rebecca Richardson

2019: Tom Zortel

2018: Tobias Dietsche

2017: Sandrine Brugiroux, Angela Kling and Viktoria Liss

2016: Wiebke Behrens and Alexander Westermann

2015: Anna Müller, Irma Haben and Matthias Merker

2014: Ivo Finsel

DZIF/GfV Dissertation Prize

Prize winners

2024: Ombretta Colasanti

2023: Rayhane Nchioua

2022: Lorenz Ulrich

2021: Kevin Ciminski und Alexander Lercher

2020: Boris Bogdanow

2019: Manuel Albanese

2018: Étori Aguiar Moreira

2017: Florian Lempp

2016: Stephanie Pfänder

2015: Michaela Gerlach

2014: Yuchen Xia

Training & Coaching

The Academy additionally supports scientific progress and the training of next-generation scientists by enhancing scientific exchange and collaboration between partner sites through workshops, schools and coaching.

Schools and Workshops

Excellence in International STEM Communication, Productivity & Career Skills (EISC) with our coach Paul Charlton

Coaching programmes for professionals working in science, technology, engineering and medicine

Paul offers a Zoom-based masterclass level “Excellence in International STEM Communication (EISC)” programme, three times per calendar year:

Individual coaching programmes

  • Individual coaching preparation & rehearsal for grant (e.g. ERC) interviews, PhD defences, job interviews, conference talks, keynotes etc.
  • Individual coaching in career skills e.g. networking (in person and online), negotiating, self-awareness, cross-cultural competency and personal productivity with work/life balance.

    Download Paul Charlton's DZIF Academy coaching portfolio

Articles on infrastructure