Robert Koch Institut - EUPHEM

acknowledged by EUPHEM
Nordufer 20
DE-13353 Berlin

Contact person:

Astrid Lewin

Tel: + 49 30 18754 2370/-2112


Description of the institute

The Robert Koch Institute is one of the central institutions for health protection in Germany. It serves the Federal Ministry of Health as a central scientific institution in the field of biomedicine. The Institute combines risk research with political advice. Its most important tasks include protection against infectious diseases and the analysis of the health situation in Germany.

The classical work area of the Robert Koch Institute is research into infectious diseases. Various teams use molecular biological methods to examine, for instance, the traits and transmission routes of specific bacteria, the HI virus or the BSE pathogen. Furthermore, on the basis of the new Protection against Infections Act - which strengthens the position of the Institute as a central institution in the health system - the incidence of numerous infectious diseases is recorded and evaluated nationwide.

The Robert Koch Institute prepares recommendations for regional authorities and doctors - for instance what vaccinations should be given or how infections can be avoided in hospitals. It has a "rapid task force" in order to investigate regional outbreaks of epidemics. Furthermore, under its aegis epidemic alarm plans have been prepared for extraordinary situations - for instance the import of Ebola or Lassa viruses. For various bacteria and viral diseases there are National Reference Centres and advisory laboratories within the Robert Koch Institute which are the central contacts for the identification and control of disease. The Institute cooperates with various institutions in Germany and around the world, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Main public health functions in the area of infectious diseases are:

  • Study of bacterial and viral pathogens, the inactivation of microorganisms and immunological defence mechanisms against infection with focus on:
    - Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Legionella
    - Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Viruses Affecting Immunocompromised Patients
    - Nosocomial Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistances
    - Hospital Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Control
    - Viral Gastroenteritis and Hepatitis Pathogens and Enteroviruses
    - Mycotic and Parasitic Agents and Mycobacteria
    - Influenza Viruses and Other Respiratory Viruses
    - HIV and Other Retroviruses
    - German Centre for Cancer Registry Data
    - Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
    - Health of Children and Adolescents, Prevention Concepts


  • Infectious diseases epidemiology: - Collection, analysis, evaluation and dissemination of data about epidemiology of infectious diseases - Surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases - Collection, analysis and interpretation of anonymous reports of infection with HIV/AIDS, STI and blood-borne infections - Surveillance, outbreak investigations and other epidemiological studies on gastrointestinal infections, zoonoses and tropical infections - Surveillance, monitoring, epidemiological research and development of preventive concepts for respiratory infections with focus on influenza, tuberculosis and legionellosis - Surveillance in antimicrobial resistance and consumption and healthcare-associated outbreaks
  • Identification of unusual biological events with highly pathogenic agents (virus, bacteria, toxins) that might be used with bioterrorist intent; preparedness, information and response for such incidents


Training opportunities

Participation in:

  • outbreak investigations,
  • research in the fields of bacteriology, virology, parasitology and mycology
  • epidemiological investigations
  • activities of reference laboratories (e.g. diagnostics, strain typing, phylogenetic studies)


Training supervision

Astrid Lewin, Matthias Niedrig 


Language requirements

English, eligible German


Training history

Number of EUPHEM fellows trained at the RKI: Three

  • 1 Cohort 2009 (2009 – 2011)
  • 1 Cohort 2011 (2011 – 2013)
  • 1 Cohort 2013 (2013 – 2015)