On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the EHFG conference, in 2007, the Young Forum Gastein scholarship was initiated. It started as a joint project of the Gastein Forum and the European Commission (DG Health and Consumers and DG Research) aimed at young, promising researchers and officials from around Europe and beyond who work in the field of health, to introduce them to the Gastein process – bridging the gap between research and policy-making and facilitating learning and networking. Throughout the past ten years the network significantly developed. Young Gasteiners do not simply attend the conference any more, but are actively involved in the programme by acting as speakers and rapporteurs.
In the framework of an engaging and stimulating dedicated YFG-programme, the scholarship offers a unique opportunity to:

  • Learn about the latest health developments in Europe and across the world;
  • 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, inter-cultural and inter-professional peer group as well as senior experts in the sphere of health;
  • Have privileged access to senior policy-makers and academics in special closed workshop sessions;
  • Participate in tasks related to the EHFG, such as undertaking interviews, writing session reports, social media activities, compiling the Gastein Outcomes or acting as a speaker or session rapporteur.

Each year a number of Young Forum Gastein scholarships are awarded.

To strengthen the network several activities are organised throughout the year, such as:

  • Participation in summer schools and conferences
  • Participation in various skills-building workshops
  • Participation in institutional workshops
  • Study trips to Brussels
  • Participation in EC Open Health Forums, Digital Futures Workshops, Young Health Imitative
  • Participation in virtual working groups


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.



Young Forum Gastein 2018

Task Force

Young Forum Gastein Task force is composed of five active YFG Network members. They are elected for a three years’ term. They provide content and organisational support to the year-round network activities and together with the European Health Forum Gastein they develop the YFG strategy.

Felix Gille, PhD

Felix Gille, PhD

Postdoc at Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Chair of Bioethics, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Damir Ivankovic, MD, MBA

Damir Ivankovic, MD, MBA

PhD Candidate / HealthPros Project Fellow, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Karolina Mackiewicz, MSc

Karolina Mackiewicz, MSc

Development Manager, Baltic Region Healthy Cities Association, Finland

Damiët Onderstal, MSc

Damiët Onderstal, MSc

Policy adviser for public health at the Ministry of Health, The Netherlands

Sofia Ribeiro, MD

Sofia Ribeiro, MD

Consultant, WHO Representation to the European Union External PhD candidate, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands

This year's Young Forum Gastein was made possible by funding from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

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