Only a few efforts have been made to define competencies for epidemiologists working in academic settings. Here we describe a multi-national effort to define competencies for epidemiologists who are increasingly facing emerging and potentially disruptive technological and societal health trends in academic research. During a 1,5 years period, we followed an iterative process that aimed to be inclusive and multi-national to reflect the various perspectives of the diverse group of epidemiologists. Competencies were developed by a consortium in a consensus-oriented process that spanned three main activities: two in-person interactive meetings in Amsterdam and Zurich and an online survey. In total, 93 meeting participants from 16 countries and 173 respondents from 19 countries contributed to the development of 31 competencies. These 31 competencies included 14 on "Developing a scientific question" and "Study planning", 12 on "Study conduct & analysis", 3 on "Overarching competencies" and 2 competencies on "Communication and translation". The process described here provides a consensus-based framework for defining and adapting the field. It should initiate a continuous process of thinking about competencies and the implications for teaching epidemiology to ensure that epidemiologists working in academic settings are well prepared for today's and tomorrow's health research.