About


The BURDEN 2020 Project - The Burden of Disease in Germany and its Regions

Under the leadership of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), this research project is dedicated to the development of a national Burden of Disease study for Germany. Cooperation partners are the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and the Scientific Institute of the AOK (WIdO).

Demographic change poses major challenges for the German healthcare system. Regional aspects as well as the increasing care needs of citizens are important elements of information that should be considered when planning actions. This task requires a reliable data basis to comprehensively and comparably map the burden of disease in the population on a national and regional level. To fill this gap, the BURDEN 2020 project developed a Burden of Disease study for Germany and its regions, that include the health measures Years of life lost (YLL) and Years lived with disability (YLD). This population-based information on mortality and morbidity can be combined into the overall Burden of Disease to the summary measure DALY (Disability adjusted life years).

In the area of mortality, the project includes all ICD-10-coded causes of death; in the area of morbidity, it is initially limited to a selection of important diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or cancer. The data analyses are based on existing primary and secondary data, supplemented by additional surveys. In addition to causes of death and diseases, risk factors are also considered to identify prevention and treatment needs. The result is a transparent information system that is intended to help decision-makers in politics and the health care system to plan in a demand-oriented, expedient and economical manner.

The method for calculating the burden of disease is based on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, which originated with the WHO. The GBD study is conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).


Duration: April 2018 – Juni 2021

Client/Funding: Funding of the research project by the Innovation Fund at the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), funding code: 01VSF17007.

Cooperation partners: Scientific Institute of the AOK (WIdO), Federal Environmental Agency (UBA)

International networking: BURDEN 2020 is part of the European Burden of Disease Network der WHO Europe (EBoDN) and within the COST Action Burden-EU (CA18218) and cooperates with the following organizations:

The project is accompanied by a scientific advisory board: Prof. Dr. Hajo Zeeb (chair); Prof. Dr. Gabriele Doblhammer (vice chair); Prof. Dr. Reinhard Busse; Conrad Franke; Henk Hilderink, PhD; Prof. Dr. Tobia Lakes; Dr. Odile Mekel; Prof. Dr. Ralf Münnich; Prof. Dr. Annette Peters; Dr. Enno Swart; Prof. Dr. Susanne Wurm


Collaborators of the project

Robert Koch Institute

Dr. Aline Anton (project coordination); Tim Fleckenstein (website and visualization); Janko Leddin (data managemen); Dr. Elena von der Lippe (methodological management); Michael Porst (morbidity analyses, modeling); Dr. Alexander Rommel (project management); Dr. Annelene Wengler (mortality analyses, modeling); Dr. Thomas Ziese (project management)

Federal Environmental Agency

Heike Gruhl (environment-related risk analyses); Dr. Dietrich Plaß (project management UBA)

Wissenschaftliches Institut der AOK (WIdO)

Dr. Jan Breitkreuz (secondary data analyses); Dr. Katrin Schüssel (secondary data analyses); Gabriela Brückner (secondary data analyses); Helmut Schröder (project management WIdO WIdO)


Data sources Mortality

Causes of death: Official cause of death statistics Destatis for 2017, own calculations after redistribution of non-informative ICD-10 codes
Life expectancy: own calculations based on mortality tables 2016-2018, Destatis
Population: average of populations at year-end 2016 and 2017, by age groups and counties (aggregated to spatial planning regions), Destatis