On December 8, 2017 the 6th Graduate Symposium of the Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research took place in the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. This festive event takes place annually to celebrate the graduation of those students that have successfully completed their graduate school curriculum. This year, twelve graduate students presented their work in different areas of ageing research such as metabolism research, mitochondrial functions and disorders as well as regulation of protein homeostasis. Each session was accompanied by a key note lecture given by an invited, international renowned expert in the ageing research field: Hayley Nicholls (Weill Cornell Medical College, USA), David Tollervey (Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology, UK) and Marina Mapelli (Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, Italy). The one-day Symposium was financially supported by Eppendorf, New England Biolabs, Promega and Techniker Krankenkasse.