Research departments

AIM Employment – Inclusion – Mobility

The focus of AIM's research is labour market mobility. Thus, various forms of labour market transition and their consequences for employability, employment opportunities, and social protection are the principal areas of investigation. Individuals move into and out of the labour market or from one job to another, but transitions are shaped by institutions. In addition, opportunities and risks in the labour market are shaped by labour market policy. The level and the degree of risk varies depending on the institutional framework. One of AIM's research priorities is analysis of those institutional frameworks, including an international comparative perspective. Critical analysis of active labour market policies is a characteristic element of the unit’s work.

Current research topics:

  • Labour market policy: instruments, organisations, actors and the causes, manifestations and consequences of activating labour market policies;
  • Older workers and the transition into retirement: opportunities and risks associated with longer working lives;
  • Mobility processes in the labour market and in firms: analysis of the dynamics and stability of employment relationships and the facilitation of transitions.

Head of Research: Prof. Dr. Martin Brussig
Phone: +49.203.379-3931
Fax: +49.203.379-1809

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AZAO Working Time and Work Organisation

The Working Time and Work Organisation research unit (AZAO) investigates the design, organisation, and regulation of work and working time. The ultimate aim of the unit’s analyses is to strengthen socially and economically sustainable working and employment conditions. AZAO seeks out opportunities to improve employees’ operational resources, to maintain and further develop individuals’ capacity for work, and to use and promote the employment potential within society. At the establishment level, the unit investigates the factors that either hinder or facilitate efforts to organise and regulate working and employment conditions that foster learning and good health with a particular emphasis on the implications of digital technologies. At the meso level of the collective bargaining system, the unit examines employment regulation and the system actors who grapple with the conflicting trends of erosion and renewal. Finally, at the macro level of the state and society, AZAO analyses the social institutions and state regulatory mechanisms that play a significant role in employment policy.

Current research topics:

  • Sustainable HR management and work organisation arrangements in digitalised working  environments;
  • Individualised working time decisions, welfare  state institutions, and new forms of working time regulations over life course;
  • The opportunities for action of collective actors in national and transnational industrial relations.

Head of Research: Prof. Dr. Thomas Haipeter
Phone: +49.203.379-1812
Fax: +49.203.379-1809

BEST Education, Development, Social Participation

Education creates opportunities for development - for the individual, for organisations, for society and the economy. Educational institutions have to respond to social and economic structural change and should contribute to economic competitiveness, to coping with demographic change and to social cohesion. In order to give all individuals the opportunity to contribute, use and develop their potential, the design of the education system must be linked to a policy geared towards social participation. The work of the research department thus focuses conceptually on an opportunity-oriented education policy and a preventive social policy, as well as on linking them.

  • Vocational training in companies, schools and academia: structures, links, training paths
  • Digitalisation as a design task: linking work, qualification and organisation
  • Preventive social policy: prevention strategies, cooperation between players of different policy fields, local educational landscapes
  • Integration as a cross-cutting task: potentials and success factors of cross-policy cooperation

Head of Research: Prof. Dr. Sybille Stöbe-Blossey
Phone: +49.203.379-1805
Fax: +49.203.379-1809

PreRA Precarization, Regulation, Job quality

Precarization, Regulation, Job quality research seeks to identify the factors that influence change in the world of work and to ascertain where the options for establishing a new balance between the needs for flexibility and social equity might lie. The tension between flexibility and security is a fruitful starting point for empirical research questions on the development of employment systems. This tension also serves as a normative category by means of which changes in institutional and corporate framework conditions and their effects can be captured and evaluated. Of particular interest in this regard are the reasons for and consequences of the increase in low pay and precarious employment and the points at which leverage can be exerted in order to improve working and employment conditions at various levels (firms, industries, institutions).

Current research topics:

  • The statutory and collectively-negotiated regulation of and compliance with minimum working and employment conditions;
  • Institutional leverage points for improving the practical implementation of minimum wages and labour standards;
  • Changes in low-skill activities in the wake of the increased demand for skilled labour and digitalisation, including the challenges facing firms, collective actors and social protection systems.

Head of Research: Dr. Karen Jaehrling
Phone: +49.203.379-2635
Fax: +49.203.379-1809

DIFIS German Institute for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research

Connecting research, politics, and society – such is the mission of the German Institute for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (DIFIS), newly founded in 2021. The DIFIS acts as a focal point, independent think-tank and service centre for social policy research, teaching, and consultancy in Germany. High-quality social policy research provides expertise, offering options and recommendations for action to the public, politics, and administration. Furthermore, it reacts swiftly to societal challenges, initiating and conducting cutting-edge research on the history, importance, and evolution of the welfare state.

The DIFIS is run jointly as a scientific institute by the Institute for Work, Skills, and Training (IAQ) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and the Research Centre on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) at the University of Bremen (UB). The DIFIS is headed by Prof. Ute Klammer (IAQ), while Prof. Frank Nullmeier (SOCIUM) is Deputy Director. It is funded through the Support Network for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS) of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). After the initial funding phase (2021-2026), the DIFIS aims to become an independent Institute for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research.