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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

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
Institut für Interkulturelle und Internationale Studien - InIIS
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Uwe Schimank
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58564
E-Mail: uwe.schimank@uni-bremen.de

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

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Wolf-Ostermann
Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research
Department: Health Care Research
Phone: +49 421 218-68960
E-Mail: wolf-ostermann@uni-bremen.de


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

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.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58559
E-Mail: gglaeske@uni-bremen.de

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)


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Magnus Brosig: Das Wissen der jungen Generation über öffentliche Alterssicherungsprogramme

Surveying the knowledge of social policy schemes has not yet become a developed field of social policy research. This contribution summarizes the results of an exploratory study aimed at gaining first insights into the knowledge that 25- to 35-year-olds have of the German public pension system, of public subsidies for private pension saving (“Riester-Rente”) and of the social assistance scheme for the elderly (“Grundsicherung im Alter”). All in all, structured interviews with twenty persons showed rather good knowledge of the basics and of pivotal concepts of these schemes, while accurate information on the specific provisions and more marginal aspects was clearly less common. Only a few interviewees showed comprehensive knowledge and clearly wrong “knowledge”, respectively, while the “unconcerned” group situated between those extremes proved to be largest in numbers: These persons considerably overestimated the benefit level and the degree of redistribution within the public pension scheme and might thus run the risk of building up insufficient pension entitlements in the long run.

Download: ZeS Working Paper 04/2015

Prof. Dr. Heinz RothgangProf. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
Grant Awarded for Project on the Needs-Based Provision of Medical Care to Nursing Home Residents.

This year, the German Innovation Funds has provided research funding to the tune of € 300m. Of that money, € 225m. have been awarded for the implementation of new healthcare models, and €75m. for research on health services research. Around 600 applications for research funding were submitted; 62, that is one in ten, projects were approved. One of the grants was awarded to SOCIUM.

The primary aim of the project submitted by Professor Rothgang (SOCIUM) and his team is to gain a better knowledge of needs-based medical care by general practitioners and medical specialists to nursing home residents with a view to improving the needs-based provision of medical care in that setting.

The three-year project, with a total funding volume of € 854,905, will be conducted by SOCIUM in cooperation with the Institute of Public Health and Nursing Research (IPP), the Competence Center for Clinical Trials Bremen (KKSB) and the Scientific Institute of the AOK Health Insurance Fund (WidO), and with the participation of the AOK Health Insurance Fund Bremen/Bremerhaven, the Bremer Heimstiftung (a foundation that runs over 20 residential/nursing homes in Bremen), the Federal Association of Private Providers of Social Services (bpa), the Bremen Association of Social Welfare Organisations (LandesArbeitsGemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege Bremen/LAG) and the Bremen Association of General Practitioners (Hausärzteverband).

In a first step, routine data from the statutory health insurance funds will be examined to compare and identify differences between medical care provided by GPs and specialists to (i) nursing home residents, (ii) people in need of long-term care who are cared for in a community setting and (iii) patients not requiring long-term care. Any differences in provision will then be assessed in terms of over-, under- and misprovision by means of standardised assessment using primary data. Appropriate (or inappropriate) medical care provision is explained on the basis of a record linkage and retrospective analysis of routine health insurance data and primary data, as well as case reconstructions. In focus group discussions, potentials for improvement and possible solutions are then extrapolated from this unprecedented survey and analysis of deficits in medical provision. Building on this, the Delphi method is then applied to develop and pilot a model project. Altogether, the project should contribute to an improvement in the needs-based provision of medical care in nursing home residents.

More information about the projekt:
Needs-Based Provision of Medical Care to Nursing Home Residents (MVP-STAT)


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Ruud Koopmans at the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

On Monday, 14th November 2016, Ruud Koopmans from the Berlin Social Science Center, was a guest at the Jour Fixe lecture series of the SOCIUM. Koopmans reported on his recent study which included interviewing 7000 people in six European countries (France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland). His result, a hotly debated topic: The problems of employment of Muslims and its lacking integration into the labor market have less to do with social discrimination but more with social and cultural factors.

First of all, Koopmans pointed out the lack of language skills, traditional religiously-defined values and fewer interethnic contacts, which complicate the participation in the labor market for Muslim immigrants in Europe. The most obvious is the labor market participation of Muslim women, where the traditional understanding of gender roles is opposed.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Céline Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

This year's winners of the Berninghausen Award (from left to right): Natascha Ueckmann, Julia Borst, Ansgar Gerhardus, Heinz Rothgang and Michael Claridge. © Harald Rehling/University of BremenThis year's winners of the Berninghausen Award (from left to right): Natascha Ueckmann, Julia Borst, Ansgar Gerhardus, Heinz Rothgang and Michael Claridge. © Harald Rehling/University of Bremen
Berninghausen Prize for excellent teaching awarded to Heinz Rothgang.

Often the daily routines of university campus life fall short of the Humboldtian ideal of an interdependence between excellent research and excellent teaching. Too many students, too much expense, too little time - there are enough reasons why even at universities students are experiencing too much teacher-centred teaching. With their concept for a three-semester long research/teaching project in the Master of Public Health Programme, Heinz Rothgang and Ansgar Gerhardus have succeeded in changing that. The Master in Public Health is intricately related to practice and interdisciplinary as well, but presupposes a profound knowledge of theories and methodology. Since many students have practical experience and are headed back to practice the research part of their Master often falls short of expectations.

In the three-semester long research/teaching project therefore, students are organizede into small groups which set out to develop scientifically sound concepts of intervention and evaluation based on a health issue of their choice. But that is not all. In cooperation with partner institutions such as health insurers or clinics the students also implement their ideas in the real world. Research becomes tangible, research results are authentic, and students are especially motivated. The Master in Public Health Programme already converted its full teaching concept to projects. The student feedback clearly endorses this change. The interdependence of research and teaching, theory and practice, instruction and independent work, university and external partners is well received.

The Berninghausen Prize has been awarded yearly since 1992 by the Society of the Friends of the University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen and is endowed with 2.000 Euros.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Team of authors at SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy at the University of Bremen draws up Long-Term Care Report for BARMER GEK.

The ninth BARMER GEK Long-Term Care Report was presented to the public today at the Federal Press Conference. The report examines especially the effects of the most recent reforms in long-term care on the provision of care to those in need of it. The team, headed by Professor Heinz Rothgang and including Thomas Kalwitzki, Rolf Müller, Rebecca Runte und Rainer Unger, also scrutinized the regional differences in terms of long-term care requirements and provision structures. The data base for the report is primarily long-term care statistics for around 2.6 m. people in need of care, the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and routine insurance data from BARMER GEK, which covers approx. 10 percent of the population.

Main results of the Report:

  1. The reform measures taken so far are taking effect. Under the LTC Redirection Act (PNG, 2012) and the First Act to Strengthen Long-term Care (PSG I, 2015), specifically services for people with dementia were improved, and the provision of respite and part-time care was made more flexible. Figures show a marked increase in the utilization of these services in particular. Also dental care in care homes, which was also the subject of various new regulations, has been improved.

  2. The introduction of the new definition of the need for long-term care under the Second Act to Strengthen Long-term Care (PSG II, taking effect as per 1.1.2017) is a very generous, and hence very expensive, reform. It is calculated that additional expenditure will amount to more than 7 bn. Euros compared to the status quo. An increased contribution rate will generate more revenue from contributions; however, this will not suffice to cover the additional costs, even taking the surplus funds currently generated by care insurance into account. For 2017 a structural deficit of more than 3bn. Euros is anticipated.

  3. In nursing homes, the increased costs mean financial relief for those in need of long-term care and their families, and also indirectly for welfare agencies; however, nursing home revenues will not increase to the same degree. Thus, the reform does not mean that nursing homes will be better staffed. If we want higher staffing rates, further reforms will be necessary in the coming years.

  4. Immense differences can be observed from state to state in terms of the increased number of people in need of long-term care but also with regard care arrangements and the capacities within the formal care sector, and the extent of future gaps in the care workforce. It is clear from these discrepancies that long-term care must be conceptualized and planned at a regional or local level. 


Downloads (in German only):
BARMER GEK Long-Term Care Report 2016
Statement from Prof. Rothgang at the Press Conference on 24.11.2016
Presentation given by Prof. Rothgang at the Press Conference on 24.11.2016


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Dr. rer. pol. Rolf Müller
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58554
E-Mail: rmint@uni-bremen.de

Keith Banting lecture in the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

Until the 1990s Canada was a typical re-distributive welfare state unlike to its southerly neighbor. But ever since the 2000s, together with the USA and Switzerland, the country belongs to the countries least redistributing in the OEDC-world. Keith Banting from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario/Canada has not only proved a surprising development but he also offered an explanation: In the last 25 years, the redistribution of party political weights has, until recently, had the consequences that social inequality has not become an important topic of public interest.

Banting pointed out that in recent years liberals as well as conservatives and the new democratic social policy in a larger sense were defined as "protection of the middle class", which permitted all three to combine very different contents with such policies. Inequality was just one topic among many, so that the Canadian debate is much more diffuse than would be in the case of continental Europe.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Céline Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de