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Information on press releases, publications and SOCIUM-related news.

Draft Proposal for a Cluster of Excellence submitted.

In collaboration with social scientists from the InIIS, the Universities of Hamburg, Hanover, Oldenburg and Osnabrück and with Jacobs University, members of the SOCIUM have worked out a research program on "Contested Inequalities". Currently the draft proposal is being evaluated. In September 2017, the Committee of Experts will decide which initiatives will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Summary of the draft proposal:

In the 21st century, various inequalities - economic, political, ethnic, gender, age - drive the socio-political agendas of the OECD world. While these inequalities are not new, their increasing variety, cumulation, and interweavement have become a pressing and potentially dangerous issue. Inequalities shape the lives of people, and how they experience and react to them crucially affects the social cohesion and democratic legitimacy of OECD countries. The sustained or felt insecurity of large parts of the middle classes and the precarization of the lower classes are expressions of this dawning mega-problem of our times, as shown by recent populist shifts and authoritarian political "involutions" in many countries.

These troubling prospects make our Cluster of Excellence "Contested Inequalities (COIN)" ask: What follows for societal and political dynamics when the traditional dominance of economic inequalities is complemented by other kinds of inequality? More specifically, we want to know:

  • How do people cope individually with entangled inequalities in their conduct of life?
  • How do people respond collectively to perceived inequalities?
  • How do state authorities react to the increasing salience of inequalities?

Urgently necessary new and better answers call for a sophisticated understanding of the settings of multi-dimensional inequalities, the practices which individuals, collective actors, and states adopt as they react to inequalities, and the intended and unintended effects of these reactions. COIN focuses on the contested nature of inequalities and the circular dynamics of interrelated responses. While in the first funding period we concentrate on countries and country comparisons, in the second period we will shift towards the international embeddedness and consequences of contested inequalities - that is to the changing qualities of international relations between OECD societies and with the Global South.

COIN builds on the strengths of the Bremen social sciences in cooperative, theory-driven, and comparative empirical research on social stratification and social policy in the OECD world. It is based on a theoretical framework tailor-made for COIN's research programme with three closely linked Research Areas (Individual, Collective, and Policy Reactions) and a Data and Methods Centre. Bremen sociologists and political scientists will work together with pertinent colleagues from other, mostly nearby, universities, and national and international cooperation partners to provide the academic community and general public with illuminating results on contested inequalities as one of the grand challenges of our times and to establish a world-class research center dedicated to this issue.

Principal investigators (women) / Maßgeblich beteiligte Wissenschaftlerinnen:
Barlösius, Eva - University of Hannover 
Drobnič, Sonja - University of Bremen
Gottschall, Karin - University of Bremen 
Hollstein, Betina - University of Bremen
Hornidge, Anna-Katharina - Bremen / ZMT, University of Bremen 
Lippke, Sonia - Bremen / Jacobs University 
Martens, Kerstin - University of Bremen
Schmidt, Susanne K. - University of Bremen 
Schmitt, Carina - University of Bremen
Teney, Céline - University of Bremen

Principal investigators (men) / Maßgeblich beteiligte Wissenschaftler:
Botzem, Sebastian - University of Bremen 
Engel, Uwe - University of Bremen 
Groh-Samberg, Olaf - University of Bremen
Haunss, Sebastian - University of Bremen 
Manow, Philip - University of Bremen
Neckel, Sighard - University of Hamburg
Nonhoff, Martin - University of Bremen
Nullmeier, Frank - University of Bremen 
Obinger, Herbert - University of Bremen
Rothgang, Heinz - University of Bremen
Schäfer, Armin - Osnabrück University 
Schimank, Uwe - University of Bremen 
Tepe, Markus - University of Oldenburg 
Windzio, Michael - University of Bremen 
Wonka, Arndt - University of Bremen

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
Institut für Interkulturelle und Internationale Studien - InIIS
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schimank
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58564

Prof. Dr. Heinz RothgangProf. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding research on new technologies in care.

The care sector will face key challenges over the next years and decades. Due to the demographic change the number of people in need of care will increase significantly. At the same time the number of people in hospitals who are over 80 years of age will increase. Care will become more complex and due to shorter periods of rest, the subsequent after-care care at home will become more challenging. At the same time, a growing demand for care faces a decreasing proportion of employed persons, which can provide professional care. The refore the lack of skilled workers in the care sector will become even more intense. The contribution of digital technologies to reduce the workload of professional carers and caring relatives alike is by no means currently used to a full extent.

"Showrooms" for the expert audience
The "Care innovation center", a five-year-project with the participation of the University of Bremen will be financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with four Million Euro. The project is part of the ministries' program "The future of care: Human-technology-interaction for use in practice". The institute for information technology in Oldenburg (OFFIS) will be coordinating the "Care innovation center". The following professors of the University of Bremen are strongly involved in the project: Professor Karin Wolf-Ostermann for the Institute for Public Health and Professor Heinz Rothgang from the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy.

The aim is to create a center of competence for innovation and care which develops technical innovation to support health and nursing care according to demand, to test products on the market and in research projects as well as making results accessible in laboratories and "showrooms" for the expert audience but also for training and further education.

Bremen research objectives
While a large number of technological solutions have been developed in recent years, the integration of these developments to daily care has only been applied successfully to a small extent. The implementation into the daily routine of the carers has often not been taken into account from the very beginning. The objective of the "Care innovation center" is to include the concrete demands from the perspective of carers and people in need of care right from the start of the development process. Existing reservations as well as rejection of an increasing mechanization and digitalization in care have to be considered during the development of technical innovations. The evaluation of effectiveness and efficiency of the newly developed technical innovation are another tasks of the Bremen researchers.

Setting up realistic laboratories
Within the project, four realistic laboratories will be set up for different care situations (home care, care in nursing homes, care in hospitals, mobile care service/ central communication center) in which technologies are on the one hand tested and on the other hand used for demonstration and further education. Technical innovations pose new qualification requirements on carers. In this project qualification modules for care training will be developed and tested.

Further information:
Press release N. 056/2017 of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 01.06.2017:
Pflege von Angehörigen und Patienten erleichtern. BMBF fördert neuen Cluster "Zukunft der Pflege" und bundesweit erstes Pflegeinnovationszentrum

Prof. Dr. Karin Wolf-Ostermann
Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research
Department: Health Care Research
Phone: +49 421 218-68960

Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557

Lehrbuch VersorgungsforschungLehrbuch Versorgungsforschung
Gerd Glaeske (SOCIUM, University of Bremen) is a co-publisher of the updated guide for health services research and the optimization of health care.

In cooperation with Professor Holger Pfaff (IMVR, University of Cologne), Professor Edmund Neugebauer (Medical University of Brandenburg) and Professor Matthias Schrappe (University of Cologne), the "Lehrbuch Versorgungsforschung" is published by Schattauer. The second edition is completely revised and provides a comprehensive and systematic overview of the methods and possibilities of health care research. It represents an important transfer of science in practice.

Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58559

Prof. Dr. Heinz RothgangProf. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
New research project focuses on the oral health of people in need of long-term care.

Following the approval, in December 2016, of €854.905 research funding for the healthcare research project "Needs-Based Provision of Medical Care to Nursing Home Residents (MVP-STAT)", funding for a further SOCIUM project has been approved by the Innovation Committee of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) to the tune of €850.702. This project, applied for by Professor Rothgang in the second application phase for projects on new forms of health care, focuses on maintaining and improving oral health in non-residential long-term care dependents with a view to enhancing quality of life relating to oral hygiene by achieving freedom from pain, improving the ability to chew and swallow food and to speak, and thus improving social inclusion.

The three-year project will be conducted by SOCIUM in cooperation with the umbrella association of company health insurers (BKK Dachverband e.V.),  and the Competence Center for Clinical Trials Bremen (KKSB), with the participation of the dentists’ associations of Bremen and Lower Saxony, the Federal Association of Private Providers of Social Services (bpa), the Bremen Association of Social Welfare Organisations (LandesArbeitsGemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege Bremen/LAG), the German Society for Gerodontology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Alterszahnmedizin, DGAZ), and seven  sickness funds.

This pilot project comprises a pro-active dental survey of the oral health status of non-residential long-term care dependents, and the provision, by specially qualified dental employees, of prophylactic measures, including training and advice to carers.

At the University of Oldenburg this new form of health care provision will be evaluated, under the direction of Professor Falk Hoffmann, in a two-armed, randomized controlled study (RCT) using routine company health insurance data including primary and secondary data linkages.

From 2016-2019 the Innovation Committee of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA - the highest decision-making body of the joint self-government of physicians, dentists, hospitals and health insurance funds in Germany) is awarding €300m. in funding per year, that is, €225m. p.a. for research on new forms of health care and €75m. for healthcare research.

More information about the project:
Oral health in people in need of long-term care (MundPflege)

Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557