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Head of Division "Clinical Epidemiology of Early Cancer Detection"

German Cancer Research Center in the Helmholtz Association (DKFZ)
Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg (DE)
Closing date
27 Jun 2024

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Job Type
Head of Department
Employment - Hours
Full time

Job Details

Reference number 2024-0171

The German Cancer Research Center is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. With more than 3,000 employees, we operate an extensive scientific program in the field of cancer research.

We are looking for a highly distinguished scientist with outstanding international reputation who is a recognized leader in clinical cancer epidemiology. The ideal candidate is expected to pursue highly original and innovative research at the frontiers of early cancer detection with a strong complementarity to the wide portfolio of our research program (

Candidates have previously demonstrated the ability to direct a program of highly innovative and original research which addresses fundamental questions related to epidemiology and early cancer detection.

The successful candidate will initiate interdisciplinary collaborations on a national as well as international level to conduct large scale epidemiological studies, including interventional trials. The new division head will develop and enhance methods in epidemiological research to find new avenues of more cost-effective, risk-adapted as well as population-based early detection programs. The portfolio will include, for example, the evaluation of risk factors and risk markers, early detection markers and prognostic factors for cancer as well as state-of-the-art methodology of cohort studies and interventional trials. The successful candidate will work closely together with other interdisciplinary teams in the fields of epidemiology, primary cancer prevention, oncogenesis research, biomarker development, imaging, and cancer survivorship research, thereby focusing on questions of high relevance to the implementation of early detection programs at the population level. The candidate must have a strong desire to work cross-sectional and cross-institutional.

The division will be established in the program "Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention" at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the National Cancer Prevention Center (NCPC) in Heidelberg, which is currently being established in a partnership between the DKFZ and the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). Research, relevant for early detection, is also performed by a number of DKFZ research divisions and groups in the fields of cancer biology, data science, physics and biomedical engineering, and clinical translation. The successful candidate will build cooperations with such groups and benefit from the rich research environment at DKFZ together with its clinical and research partners, which will give her:him excellent access to clinical data, large epidemiological cohorts and cancer registries. The ideal candidate will bridge her:his research program to the University Hospitals in Heidelberg and Mannheim, the NCPC, the DKFZ Hector Cancer Insitute at University Medicine Mannheim, the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) with its sites over Germany, the network of Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC) of the German Cancer Aid, the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), and other research alliances at the national and international level.

The tenured position at the level of a DKFZ division head (German W3 score equivalent) will be provided with attractive core funding for personnel, consumables and investments. In addition, access to competitive intramural funding programs of the DKFZ and the Helmholtz Association will be provided. This offers an exceptional opportunity to lead a division dedicated to advancing the mission of the DKFZ by early detection research. We are looking for a candidate with proven leadership skills, capable of mentoring and supervising junior researchers, fostering a stimulating and inclusive research environment and assuring leadership roles in comprehensive strategic programs.


Recruitment requirements include an MD and/or PhD in life sciences. We encourage candidates to apply who have outstanding academic qualifications (habilitation or equivalent academic qualifications) with an internationally visible, high-impact publication record, successful acquisition of competitive third-party funding, including consortium projects, and teaching activities.

In consultation with the DKFZ, the successful candidate is expected, if applicable, to submit a proposal for the current call for applications of the Helmholtz Distinguished Professorship Program, a funding instrument for the recruitment of leading international female scientists. The purpose of this program is to attract top-level exceptionally qualified, experienced, internationally recognized female scientists at the W3 professorship level to the Helmholtz Association. To be eligible for this program, applicants should have international research experience, documented as continuous research stay of at least three years, or preferentially, are currently conducting research at institutions abroad. Although the Helmholtz W3 professorship program exclusively applies to female scientists, who are currently underrepresented at DKFZ, the advertized division head position is open to all qualified applicants.

Interested candidates should submit a single PDF file containing a cover letter, curriculum vitae, copies of certificates and degrees, a list of publications, summary of past research and future plans (max. 3 pages), an overview of international experiences and third-party funding, and contact information for three references to the Chairman of the Management Board and Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Michael Baumann, via the applicant portal ( by 27.06.2024.


We offer:

  • A highly supportive research environment at the DKFZ, the National Cancer Prevention Center (NCPC) and the wider scientific community including Heidelberg University as well as opportunities for national and international networking at the highest level
  • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure and core facilities
  • Compensation according to German W3 score equivalent
  • 30 days of vacation per year
  • Possibility of mobile work and part-time work
  • Family-friendly working environment, e.g. parent-child room and advisory services
  • Sustainable travel to work: subsidized Germany job ticket
  • Administrative support for extramural grant application
  • Our Corporate Health Management Program offers a holistic approach to your well-being

Earliest Possible Start Date: as soon as possible

Contract duration: The position is unlimited.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Michael Baumann, phone +49 (0)6221/42-2850

Important notice:

The DKFZ is subject to the regulations of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). As a consequence, only persons who present proof of immunity against measles may work at the DKFZ.

Application Deadline: 27. June 2024

We are convinced that an innovative research and working environment thrives on the diversity of its employees. Therefore, we welcome all talented applicants, regardless of their gender, cultural background, nationality, ethnicity, sexual identity, physical ability, religion and age. People with severe disabilities are given preference if they have the same aptitude.

Please apply preferably via our online application tool (, quoting the reference number.

We kindly ask for your understanding that applications by email cannot be accepted.



About the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute and a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. Over 3,200 staff members from 88 nations are dedicated to performing and driving cutting edge research for a life without cancer. Organized in more than 100 divisions and research groups, the focus of our 1,400 scientists is to unravel the causes and mechanisms of cancer development and progression, and to develop novel strategies for the diagnosis, early detection, prevention and treatment of cancer though innovative translational research.

Scientists at the DKFZ have received the most prestigious academic awards, including Prof. Harald zur Hausen, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for his pioneering work on Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV),and Prof. Stefan Hell, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on super-resolution imaging.

The DKFZ core site is located in Heidelberg, the “City of Science”, which is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany with a highly international community: An estimated 56,000 of Heidelberg’s 160,000 inhabitants have an international background – many of whom are scientists or students.


Research Topics and Scientific Collaborations

The DKFZ is an international leader in a number of research areas including stem cell research, bioinformatics and systems biology, cancer genomics, neurooncology, pediatric oncology, cancer prevention, tumor immunology, virology, radiooncology and medical image analysis. The interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment at the DKFZ also results in excellent opportunities for computational and data scientists with interest in biomedical applications.

Research at the DKFZ is organized into six research programs:

On the mission for a life without cancer, the DKFZ collaborates with renowned clinical and research institutions at the local, national and international level. A key goal is to continuously strengthen translational research activities with the aim of sustainably advancing state-of-the-art clinical cancer research in Germany and thereby improving the treatment outcomes and quality of life of cancer patients. Together with University Hospital partners across Germany, the DKFZ established the National Centers for Tumor Diseases (NCT) as leading Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Germany, as well as the Hopp Childrens’ Tumor Center (KiTZ) in Heidelberg with a specific focus on pediatric oncology. Within the German Cancer Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), research institutions and university hospitals at eight partner locations collaborate with the DKFZ, the core center of the DKTK, to speed up the transfer of successful cancer research into clinical practice. Furthermore, the HI-TRON in Mainz is a cooperative effort to make full use of the potential of individualized immunotherapy.


Training Programs and Career Development

Talent management and career development are central parts of DKFZ’s mission to maintain scientific excellence. The DKFZ places strong emphasis on the international recruitment and comprehensive training of excellent scientists, specifically welcoming diverse and international backgrounds.

Dedicated programs train young scientists and clinicians and prepare them for their next career step:

The DKFZ has developed programs to support the reconciliation of family and careers at all levels and international employees are supported by the International Staff Services in the planning, preparation and realization of their stay in Heidelberg.


Innovation Management

The DKFZ builds on strong Innovation Management to foster the development of innovative preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic products for maximum societal benefit. It facilitates technology transfer through licensing and support of spin-off companies. Recent examples include iOmx Therapeutics, Apogenix and mtm laboratories. The DKFZ also has strong collaborations with industry partners, such as Bayer Healthcare, Bosch, SAP and Siemens.

Company info
+49 (0) 6221 420
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280

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