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Current projects

project start: 01.01.2021

project duration: 4 years

Duration of work packages involving Bielefeld University: 3 years

Total subsidy amount: approx. 4.7 million Euros

Funding: German Gouvernment Innovation Funds

The objective of the project NEO-Milk is to contribute to supporting the access of every premature baby under 1500 gram to breast milk for from the first day of live to increase their chance of survival. In Germany alone there are approximately 10,500 such children every year, who are notably affected by complications that can lead to health impairments or even death. The provision with breast milk, and thus, the promotion of nursing behavior and/or the support by human milk banks is essential, especially for premature babies, to prevent life-threatening infections such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and, at the same time, support the imprinting of the immune system. To achieve this goal, a concept for promoting and maintaining breastfeeding will be developed, established, and evaluated in German perinatal centers for test purposes. The project designs training courses for care personnel and physicians and develops an app for mothers of premature babies. Social psychological and behavioral economics aspects of the transfer of knowledge are considered for the training courses and the app development.

The work group “Applied Social Psychology and Gender Research” under the direction of Prof. Dr. Friederike Eyssel contributes the social psychological perspective to the project in cooperation with Dr. Ricarda Wullenkord. They empirically investigate which individual attitudes and/or other psychological factors can predict the breastfeeding intention and behavior. On this basis they will collaborate on the development of the app to inform mothers of premature babies about breast feeding, and support them in their nursing behavior, e.g., with reminder functions.

In the app development process social psychological aspects supporting users to be aware of their own self-efficacy will be taken into account. Furthermore, as part of the NEO-Milk project, legal aspects are investigated and evaluated to create a general framework for future breast milk banks. The Institute for Medical Sociology, Health Services Research, and Rehabilitation Science (IMVR) of the University of Cologne under the direction of Dr. Nadine Scholten operates as the consortium leader. In addition to a variety of scientific and clinical cooperating partners, health insurances are also involved in the project.


Project partners


Bielefeld University: Center for Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)

Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn: University Hospital (Neonatology); Institute for Patient Safety (IfPS)

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf: Chair of Private Law and Civil Procedure

University of Cologne: IMVR (consortium leader); University Hospital Cologne (Neonatology); Institute of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics (IMSB); Behavioral Management Science Mainz: University Medical Center (Neonatology)

University of Wuppertal: Chair of Health Services Research and Health Economic Evaluation


TAKEPART Media, Cologne

Women Milk Bank Initiative (German: Frauenmilchbank-Initiative e.V. (FMBI)), Hamburg


Health Insurances:

AOK Rhineland/Hamburg, DAK Gesundheit, TK, pronova BKK


Advisory Board:

National Breastfeeding Committee, German Midwifery Association (DHV),

Federal association “The premature child” (German: Bundesverband “Das frühgeborene Kind” e.V.), German Corporation for perinatal medicine (German: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Perinatale Medizin (DGPM))


Further details:


duration: 4 years

funding: European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (No. 955778)

project websites:

The objective of the project European Training Network on PErsonalized Robotics as SErvice Oriented applications – PERSEO ­ – is to structurally train a new interdisciplinary generation of PhD students with a competence profile that allows them to overcome social and technical challenges in research on a developing market of assistant robots for everyday use. These challenges exist primarily in the development of functionalities (distributed via cloud services) enabling the robots to serve as companions, but also be used in rehabilitation, education, and entertainment.

The focus of the subproject within Prof. Dr. Friederike Eyssel’s work group “Applied Social Psychology and Gender Research” will be the role of personalization of social robots. We investigate, inter alia, the influence of robot personalization on cognitive and affective trust in social robots. Furthermore, user characteristics such as gender, fear of robots or prior experiences with technology, as well as robot characteristics such as reliability, predictability of behavior, and adaptivity will be included.


© Universität Bielefeld

Projektstart: 01.09.2018

Projektlaufzeit: 3 Jahre

Projektträger: BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung)


Das Ziel des Projekts VIVA ist die Entwicklung eines vertrauenswürdigen, lebendigen sozialen Roboters, der von Nutzer*innen im privaten Umfeld als attraktive Bereicherung empfunden wird. VIVA soll das persönliche psychische Wohlbefinden der Nutzer*innen verbessern und sie bei der Pflege von Sozialkontakten unterstützen.

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