What is Young Forum Gastein (YFG)?

The YFG initiative enables promising young health professionals to become part of an inspiring network which offers support to over 550 members (Young Gasteiners) working in various health-related fields in Europe and beyond. In 2021, 55 scholars were selected to become part of the YFG 2021 cohort. Besides coming together at the annual EHFG conference, YFG offers unique opportunities year-round to participate in workshops, webinars and conferences.

How to join?

Each year a number of YFG scholarships are awarded to promising young professionals working in the field of health.

The next call for applications opens in spring 2022.

If you would like to learn more about the application criteria, please consult the YFG factsheet, or get in touch with us.


The YFG initiative was established in 2007 as a collaboration between the EHFG and DG SANTE (at the time DG SANCO), with a vision to introduce young, promising, health researchers and officials to the Gastein way – bridging the gap between research and policy-making and facilitating cross-sectoral learning and networking. Over the past fifteen years the network has developed further, now providing Young Gasteiners opportunities to shape the EHFG conference programme by undertaking active speaking and rapporteur roles.

In the framework of an engaging YFG programme, the scholarship offers a unique opportunity to:

  • Learn about the latest health developments in Europe and beyond;
  • Develop important public health competencies such as the ability to build alliances and partnerships, learn advocacy and persuasion skills and develop presentation and communication skills;
  • Network and make new contacts with an enthusiastic, young, international and cross-sectoral peer group, as well as senior experts in the sphere of health;
  • Have closed discussions with senior policymakers and academics;
  • Participate in tasks related to the EHFG, such as undertaking interviews, compiling EHFG conference outcomes, perform social media activities, and acting as a speaker or newsroom rapporteur.

To engage the YFG network throughout the year, various activities are organised. Some examples of the recent activities include:

  • Career Talks on current issues defined by young professionals;
  • Discussion Circles to deliberate thematic conversations;
  • Speaking opportunities in webinars and other health-related events;
  • Participation in virtual working groups;
  • Participation in various skills-building and institutional workshops.


2007: YFG initiative kick-off

34 Young Forum Gasteiners build the fundament of the network. Closed meeting with EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou took place.

2010: Growing strong – 160 members

71 young researchers & officials from 28 European countries attend the conference. A Young Forum Gastein networking workshop & specific working groups took place. Scholars met with the EU Commissioner John Dalli and the Director General for Health and Consumers Paola Testori Coggi.

2011: 5th anniversary!

As part of a pilot project the WHO Europe joined, sponsoring several scholars form eastern Europe and central Asia. The initiative expanded not just in numbers and countries represented, but also in their tasks and responsibilities during the conference.

2012: 30 countries represented

Young professionals from 30 countries were awarded the scholarship. The mix was 43% policy-makers and 57% researchers. 60% alumni vs. 40% newcomers.

2013: the initiative develops further

For the first time a number of NGO representatives joined as YFG scholars, covering the third of the EHFG participation pillars.

2015: the new mix

76 scholars, representing 23 countries. 60% newcomers - 40% alumni. 46 females & 30 males. 32% policy-makers, 48% researchers, 8% working for NGOs, 12% classified themselves as “others” :)

2016: 10th anniversary!

The Young Forum Gastein offered its scholars a tailor-made progamme including a skills-building workshop and a topical session on the future of public health training in Europe. Young Gasteiners had an informal meeting with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis as well as the opportunity of careers talks and mentoring sessions.

2020: First online conference

The YFG adapts to the current situation by employing advanced communication tools replicating the YFG experience online, while allowing for an even greater flexibility and interactivity. 38 scholars from 23 countries, including 12 scholars from public sector, 14 scholars from science and academia, 8 civil society representatives and 4 private sector participants join the YFG 2020 cohort.



Young Forum Gastein 2021

Task Force

The Young Forum Gastein Task Force is composed of four active YFG Network members. They are elected for a two years’ term. The main function of the Task Force is to provide content and organisational support to the year-round network activities and to the YFG Programme at the EHFG Conference.

Sara Barragán Montes, MSc, MA

Sara Barragán Montes, MSc, MA

Technical Officer, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization, Switzerland

Michele Calabro’, MA

Michele Calabro’, MA

Policy Adviser, European Patients’ Forum, Belgium

Anna Prokůpková, MA

Anna Prokůpková, MA

Health and Cancer Policy Advisor, Greens/EFA Group, European Parliament, Belgium

Mateusz Zatoński, PhD

Mateusz Zatoński, PhD

Research Fellow at the University of Bath, UK, and vice-president of the Polish Health Promotion Foundation

Alumni Coordinators

The YFG Alumni Coordinators have previously made outstanding contributions to the work of the YFG Task Force and will provide advisory support in developing the YFG Alumni Network further. With this new initiative, the EHFG wants to strengthen the communication with alumni and emphasise the importance of the network.

Damir Ivankovic, MD, MBA

Damir Ivankovic, MD, MBA

HealthPros PhD Fellow, University Medical Centers, Amsterdam UMC

Damiët Onderstal, MSc

Damiët Onderstal, MSc

Public Health Attaché, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union

get in touch

If you would like to know more about the Young Forum Gastein Network, please contact:


EHFG News & Updates

EHFG Headquarters

EHFG Vienna Office