PhD Position (Early Stage Researcher): Patient Safety and Optimal Communication (m/f/d)

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    Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
    Psychological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    06/04/2021 23:00 - Europe/Athens
    Germany › Bremen


Jacobs University is a private, state-recognized, English-language research university in Bremen. It offers bachelor, master and PhD programs in the focus areas health, mobility and diversity and is involved in the professional development of specialists and managers and in the transfer of knowledge. The guiding principles include the highest standards in research and teaching, interculturality and systematic cross-disciplinary cooperation. The aim is to optimally prepare talents from all over the world for responsible tasks in a globalized world of work. More than 1,600 people from over 110 nations currently live and learn on campus.

The department „Department of Psychology & Methods” invites interested candidates to apply for the next possible date as a


PhD Position (Early Stage Researcher): Patient Safety and Optimal Communication (m/f/d)

(Full-time, limited for 3 years)


Job ID 21-08


What is the project about?

  • Integration into EU-MSCA-funded Innovative Training Network’s research project “Health CASCADE”, and Jacobs University Bremen’s research group health psychology and behavioral medicine under the experienced PhD supervision of Prof. Sonia Lippke and Prof. Margrit Schreier.
  • Full participation in the research project TeamBaby to conduct a PhD project on the co-creative evaluation of an app as the main researcher.
  • Engagement with 14 other Early Stage Researchers and experts across Europe in the ITN, and exceptional training and exchange options through the TeamBaby project and Fundació Blanquerna with Dr. Carme Martin-Borràs and Dr. Maria Giné-Garriga as second supervisory institution (with a stay there for 2 months).
  • Mobility within Germany enabling you to gain hands-on experience in a clinic (Paracelsus Klinik in Bremen for 1 month) and with the German Coalition for Patient Safety (Aktionsbündis Patientensicherheit Berlin, for 4 months).

Your responsibilities:

  • 1) Conduct EU-MSCA-funded PhD research in Health Psychology, focusing on the evaluation of a digital intervention (see long project description below*).

    Within the dynamic research project TeamBaby, an app to train healthcare workers and pregnant women/ their partners in good communication was developed and now is ready for a co-creative evaluation.

    2) Collaboration with the ITN and the TeamBaby research group at JUB regarding theoretical background of the project, data management of the app and evaluation.

    3) Collaboration with different European partners so you will be both part of a multi-disciplinary, transnational and highly attractive project, and get hands-on experience in a clinic and the German Coalition for Patient Safety.



Long project description:

In this project, you as Early-stage researchers (ESR) are part of both the EU-MSCA-funded Innovative Training Network’s research project “Health CASCADE”, and Jacobs University Bremen’s research group Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine under the experienced coordination and supervision of Prof. Sonia Lippke. The app that you will evaluate and improve was developed in the TeamBaby project, and you will become an integral part of the TeamBaby group as well. Currently, three other PhD students work in the TeamBaby group at Jacobs University and several other experts all over Germany. In addition, you will find various Post-docs, PhD, Master and Bachelor students conducting research – including in other ITNs – on the Jacobs University campus as well as within the adjacent Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), one of Germany’s leading schools of doctoral training in the social sciences.


The supervisory team consists of Prof. Dr. Sonia Lippke and Prof. Dr. Margit Schreier at Jacobs University Bremen, Dr. Martina Schmiedhofer at the German Coalition for Patient Safety in Berlin and Dr. Maria Giné-Garriga at Fundació Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona. At Jacobs University you will find many options for vibrant academic exchange and many social opportunities at the culturally diverse campus with approx. 1400 students from more than 100 countries. You will be studying in an international community and obtaining a qualification to work on responsible tasks in a digitized and globalized society. Learning, researching and teaching across academic disciplines and countries are part of the experience as well as strengthening people and markets with innovative solutions and advanced training programs. This is what Jacobs University Bremen stands for. Established as a private, English-language campus university in Germany in 2001, it is continuously achieving top results in national and international university rankings. Its more than 1,500 students come from more than 110 countries with 80% having relocated to Germany for their studies.


The purpose of the TeamBaby project is to improve communication between all parties (healthcare workers, expectant mothers and their partners) involved in the birth process in order to increase sustainable patient safety. The project contributes to reduce the frequency of preventable adverse events (pAEs) in obstetrics and to thereby increase patients’ safety and satisfaction with the birth process. Within the TeamBaby project, clinical staff, expectant mothers and their partners as well as relatives are trained in personal intervention sessions. The aim is to improve their ability to communicate optimally and confidently with each other. In addition, an innovative WebApp is developed to support all participants in their communication with each other and in overcoming difficulties in everyday hospital life. All interventions are theory-based and informed by the Health Action Process Approach, a very prominent and well-researched theory in health behavior change.


Data is collected in three study phases of the TeamBaby project:

1. Implementation phase: Observations, interviews and questionnaire data are collected in order to inform a newly developed face-to-face intervention for obstetric healthcare workers at two German university hospitals. Additionally, hospital data is analyzed to establish a baseline concerning the frequency of preventable adverse events.

2. Effectiveness study with randomized controlled study design for newly developed online interventions for pregnant women and their partners. Questionnaire data is collected, qualitative interviews are conducted.

3. Implementation of the progressive web application (PWA, WebApp). In this phase, there are two studies: In the first study, we recruit healthcare workers, pregnant women and their partners at the two obstetric university hospitals and compare this group to the control- and intervention group of Phase 2 (Effectiveness study with randomized controlled study design) regarding primary (pAE) and secondary (communication behavior) outcomes. In the second study, we recruit a Germany-wide sample to get a more in-depth understanding of the secondary outcomes (communication behavior).



In the third phase with both studies you will mainly work in and you will collect your own data as well as  use the data already collected so far: Questionnaire data for baseline assessments as well as single items during the app training (i.e. after every third lesson). In addition, there will be plenty of different tasks and qualitative open fields as well as technical data to analyze. Your tasks include monitoring qualitatively the recruitment and maintenance process at the two University hospitals and analyze as well as integrate data from the WebApp. Additional data in form of qualitative interviews enlightens the process evaluation of the app, its feasibility, functionality and usability – and this will be your main task in a co-creative design. You work together in a supportive group located at both Jacobs University as well as at the university hospitals and the German Coalition for Patient Safety. Another project partner is an insurance company involved in the project and especially in the marketing of the app, and you may get to know the different work approaches, perspectives and interests.



Extensive options for mixed method approaches, collecting your own qualitative data and integrating different data sets exist. Your main focus is the development of a better understanding of patient safety, optimal communication and innovative digital solutions. This should enable you to identify how such an app works and how a co-creation approach can be applied to the improvement process. With a participatory approach you are co-designing an improved version of the intervention to ensure patient safety and optimal communication in health care settings on the basis of an already existing app and newly collected data.



The objectives of your work will be:

1) To co-create an improved intervention to ensure patient safety and optimal communication in the health care setting.

2) To give suggestions from this co-creative process for ensuring patient safety and optimal communication in health care setting.

3) To increase the theoretical understanding of communication, communication trainings as well as how such an app works by means of co-creation and how according methods can be used.

More Information


Your application:

For further information regarding this position, please contact Prof. Dr. Sonia Lippke, phone +49 421 200-4730.

Please send your application stating your availability and your salary expectations as a pdf document by using the attached form.

The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until 6 April 2021.

Jacobs University is an equal opportunity employer.

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent


Your qualifications:


  • MA/MSc in Psychology or Health Sciences which qualifies to obtain a PhD at Jacobs Univ.
  • Experience / training with mixed methods
  • Proficiency in German and English



Recruiting is in accordance with the European rules for MSCA-Innovative Training Networks:

  • You can be of any nationality.
  • You must be, at the time of recruitment by us, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. The research career starts after the degree that enables a student to proceed with a PhD (usually, the Master degree).
  • You should not – at the date of recruitment –have resided Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment, and not have carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany.

Ideally, you are an open-minded and talented PhD candidate …

  • …interested in patient safety, communication and innovative digital solutions.
  • …aiming at understanding of how such a WebApp works and how an improvement process should use a participatory co-creation approach.
  • …willing to co-create suggestions for future improved interventions to ensure patient safety and optimal communication in health care settings on the basis of an already existing app and newly collected data.
  • …who has prior experience and interest in mixed-methods approaches and qualitative research, especially participatory approaches

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Campus Ring 1

EURAXESS offer ID: 609841


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