Research at PFH

PFH Göttingen

Research institutes and activities

With its research institutes and activities, the PFH continuously enhances its expert knowledge and thus distinguishes itself not only in teaching, but also in the overall academic environment. Not only are various projects organized and publications made available, but also numerous conferences and lectures by professors and their academic staff are held throughout the year. The unceasing expansion of these research services is an absolute priority on the university´s development agenda.

I Research concept - Department of Psychology

The interdisciplinary research profile of the Department of Psychology interlinks methodologically rigorous (experimental) basic research with theory-based and generalisable practical research in order to contribute to both the scientific acquisition of knowledge and the scientifically informed management of individual, social or societal challenges. In addition to the research activities specific to the Chair, competences and expertise are combined into four innovative research foci that span the entire department.

1) Diagnostics and intervention

A major part of the research carried out in the department is concerned with the development of instruments for diagnostics, their use in the study of various target groups, and the research-based development of interventions for various target groups. In many cases, new digital technologies are made use of.


Psychology of Digital Diagnostics and Intervention

Virtual Reality in Psychology

In the research area "Virtual Reality in Psychology", we use immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to implement or support psychological interventions. Focal points include the therapeutic modification of dysfunctional cognitions using avatars in virtual reality, the modification of problematic behaviour in anxiety disorders (for example, arachnophobia), and the use of VR to promote embodiment in patients with phantom limb pain. The focus is equally on basic scientific research into the underlying mechanisms and the development of applications.


Presiding professors:


App development & evaluation

In "App Development & Evaluation", we develop and evaluate digital applications for various target groups (e.g., refugees, premature babies, inpatients in child and adolescent psychiatry, children with obsessive-compulsive disorders or diabetes patients) focusing on psychological diagnostics/screenings and intervention.  Close attention is placed on applications for the detection and treatment of psychological problems and abnormalities, on resilience factors, for support with illness-related challenges in everyday life, and on the recording and development of competences in the field of education.


Presiding professors:


Markers and predictors of mental health

The area of "markers and predictors of mental health" is concerned with the recording and description of psychological and somatic makers of mental illness and of influencing environmental variables. This makes it possible to find mechanisms that explain the development of mental illness and can also act as predictors. These findings offer an approach for improved diagnosis and therapy of mental illnesses and for preventive approaches. Entire lifespans are taken into consideration.


Presiding professors


Test development

In the field of test development, we construct, validate and adapt instruments that measure psychological constructs from contrasting areas. These range from aptitude, personality and emotion diagnostics to clinical and gerontological psychology. Some of the procedures are also used across multiple disciplines.


Presiding professors: 


2) Dealing with change and crises

The focus here is on the psychological consequences of changes during crises. Close attention is given to the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population as a whole and, specifically, on children and families. In addition, specific groups such as health care workers, professional musicians and flight attendants are also studied. Stress management is a further aspect we address, for example, by applying the Stress Active programme and other relevant projects.




Stress management


Presiding professors:


3) Self, emotion and action

Self, emotion and action are inseparable concepts in both philosophy and contemporary empirical psychology. Different types of self-representations have been distinguished in the literature, such as the so-called minimal self, which is characterised by momentary embodiment in any given situation, and the integrative self, which includes integrated autobiographical memory contents, concepts about oneself, preferences, values, attitudes and ideals. Both the minimal and integrative selves are related - albeit in different ways - to emotions and actions. In the research area "Self, Emotion and Action", we examine different aspects of the self.

Major aspects of this research area are the exploration of external conditioning factors and underlying mechanisms of cognitive action control, learning and the subjective experience of control or self-determination and what the factors are which "naturally" influence aspects of the integrative self in action control, or absorbing new knowledge which makes us feel alienated to a certain extent. We are also concerned with individual differences in these processes, i.e., with the question of how persons differ in their stress management, needs, cognitive styles and volition (self-control), how these differences are reflected in (neuro)physiological processes, and to what extent these processes can be supported by coaching, among other things, so that a person's personality can "grow", e.g., after painful life events (

Another focus in this field of research is on the investigation of the conditions and mechanisms of the so-called minimal self.  Here we are concerned with the study of the Sense of Agency and Embodiment as important building blocks of the Minimal Self. Sense of agency refers to the subjective experience of being the author of one's own actions and controlling events in the world through them. We also want to understand how and under what circumstances illusions of control arise and what consequences they have.


Presiding professors: 


4) Human-Technology Interaction

In the field of Human-Technology Interaction, the focus is on the design, development and evaluation of user interfaces that are tailored to the needs of the user depending on the situation and context. We strive to contribute to a better understanding of how theoretical and technological knowledge can be combined with user needs to develop effective, innovative and user-friendly applications. With the help of e.g., eye-tracking, video analysis, behavioural observations, in-depth interviews, surveys, user interaction and special analysis software, conclusions about the user's experience and behaviour become conceivable.


Presiding professors:  

II Research Papers and Studies in the Field of Economics

The projects in the research area Emerging Economies shed light on the development of emerging markets, former socialist as well as Central Asian countries.

The research papers and studies document the PFH's research activities in the field of economics. In this way, the university creates an attention-grabbing and high-calibre platform for its academic activities and can communicate the results quickly and comprehensively to its research-relevant target groups.

Governance in Emerging Economies

The research project "Governance in Emerging Economies" aims to take a differentiated look at the role of the state in promoting economic development in emerging markets. The research project thus responds to the globally observable, increasing state influence in the respective national economies.

The analysis focuses on the specific governance services of the state. In various studies, state activities are examined in the context of the institutional and administrative framework, specific economic policy measures, as well as the socio-political embedding of the economic models.

Within the framework of this project, the PFH cooperates with the University of Groningen, Javakhshivili University, Tbilisi and KIMEP University Almaty. The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Further information:


Competence Network KomPost (Institutions and Institutional Change in Post-Socialism)

Research teams in interdisciplinary networks investigate the interactions of political, economic and social developments in the field of conflicting interests between historical traditions and globalisation in former socialist countries.

As part of KomPost, the PFH is a member of a competence network which, in addition to Prof. Dr. Joachim Ahrens (PFH), brings together numerous renowned Eastern European researchers from all over Germany.

In the context of this project, the PFH researchers, under the leadership of Professor Dr. Joachim Ahrens, are shedding light on political and economic developments primarily in Central and East Asia. This is an excellent complement to the project "Emerging Markets in Central Asia", which has been running since 2008, and is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Further information:


Emerging Market Economies in Central Asia

The research project "Emerging Market Economies in Central Asia" focuses on the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The wealth of oil and gas in this region places these countries in the global spotlight. However, they have received little attention in the economic and political science debate so far. The research work, therefore, deals specifically with the institutional reforms made while moving towards a market economy system.

On 25 and 26 September 2008, an international conference on "Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance in Central Asia" was held at the PFH Göttingen in cooperation with the University of Groningen and the Volkswagen Foundation.

Further information:


Circular Entrepreneurship Education (CEE) Plus/Sustainable Entrepreneurship Education (SEE)

The project, which is funded by the state of Lower Saxony for three years as part of the Skilled Workers' Alliance, builds on the one-year pilot project CEE, which was carried out in Southern Lower Saxony from 2021 to 2022 by the Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZE). The aim of the project is to implement a systematic Circular Entrepreneurship Education programme as a supplementary offer for schools. For this purpose, four consecutive workshop modules were developed with the involvement of the regional economy and start-ups, which are offered at the participating schools. The programme is aimed at classes 9-13 of general education and vocational schools. The project aims to raise awareness of the topics of start-ups, innovation and sustainability and to teach entrepreneurship as a competence.

The programme is being implemented in a similar form in the Elbe-Weser region as Sustainable Entrepreneurship Education (SEE) within the framework of the skilled labour alliance there. The accompanying research examines the development of competencies with the help of tests and develops recommendations for action for future entrepreneurship education programmes at schools.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Vollmar

Further information: and



The aim of the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)-funded project, led by Prof. Dr. Bernhard H. Vollmar, was to stimulate and support cooperation between companies, universities and research institutions in the Elbe-Weser region and beyond, and to develop a concept for building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Wind energy, agricultural machinery and lightweight construction sectors, between which cross-industrial transfer innovations were to be stimulated, were the first sectors which were focussed on.

Through new workshop formats, events, consulting and strategic interaction management, innovative ideas were generated between the companies in a co-creation process. Among the cooperating companies were 

  • Claas KGaA mbH
  • Bernard Krone Holding SE & Co
  • Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research - IFAM

The entire process and the impact of the offers were scientifically examined and evaluated.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Vollmar


PFH Crowd Innofinance (Crowd Innofin)

This European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)-funded project of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZE) aimed to offer an advisory and support service for crowdfunding innovative projects in the transition region (Elbe-Weser Triangle). In coordination with economic development agencies and regional partners, an instrument was established in the region that, by facilitating access to financial and other intangible resources in the early stages, promotes the development of (low threshold) innovations by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), thus encouraging the founding of new companies and positively influencing the climate for innovation.

On the one hand, the project was able to build on the experience of a previous ZE project in Southern Lower Saxony and, on the other hand, use its own crowdfunding platform "Ideenbeweger", which was also originally initiated for Southern Lower Saxony. Thereby, the entire advisory process and the impact of the offer were scientifically examined and evaluated.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Vollmar


SNIC Innovation Academy - Innovation Activation and Qualification

As part of the "SNIC - SüdniedersachsenInnovationsCampus" (Lower Saxony Innovation Campus) project of the four regional universities, funded by the state of Lower Saxony, the ZE Centre for Entrepreneurship is responsible for the operational area, "Qualification". The SNIC Innovation Academy, therefore, forms the framework for a series of needs-based qualification formats for innovation or entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship education, which links and supplements the existing range of courses offered by the universities.

The spectrum ranges from the "Innovation and Start-ups" certificate programme to future and project workshops to a Bachelor's degree course at the PFH. The groups targeted by the offer are students, alumni and academics, as well as specialists and managers from regional companies. Thus, the SNIC Innovation Academy represents a classic transfer project in which the research results from ZE's Entrepreneurship Education research are translated into practice-relevant content or in which practical experience is scientifically examined and reflected upon.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Vollmar

Further information:

Using self-learning algorithms for indoor positioning in retail (DEEP NAV).

The objectives of this project are, on the one hand, to offer customers indoor navigation in the form of an app with which they can locate products or exhibits in shops, shopping centres and public buildings. On the other hand, the system should offer retailers a tool with which to analyse the behaviour of customers on the premises. Since GPS positioning is not possible in closed rooms, iBeacons, augmented reality and other sensor data as well as deep learning methods are to be integrated in order to achieve sufficiently precise navigation.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Riekhof

Further information:


Hendrik Junge, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Autokauf der Zukunft − Eine Darstellung und Analyse des gegenwärtigen und zukünftigen Kaufentscheidungsprozesses von Automobilen unter Berücksichtigung aktueller Trends in der Automobilindustrie



Lea Ohrenberg, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Der kommunalwirtschaftliche Nutzen von Technologie- und Gründerzentren



Kimberly Waldhoff, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Zur Glaubwürdigkeit von Influencern im Influencer Marketing



Christoph Albrado, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Analyse der wesentlichen Änderungen des IDW QS 1 mit Blick auf die Qualitätssicherung in der Wirtschaftsprüferpraxis – Das Potential von Audit Quality Indicators



Markus Ahlborn, Rainer Schweickert:
Economic Systems in Developing Countries – A Macro Cluster Approach



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Teresa Jacobi:
Content-Marketing-Strategien in der Unternehmenspraxis



Markus Ahlborn, Rainer Schweickert:
Public Debt and Economic Growth – Economic Systems Matter



Yergali Dosmagambet:
Optimal Policy for Secondary Education in Developing Countries



Markus Ahlborn, Joachim Ahrens, Rainer Schweickert:
Large-Scale Transition of Economic Systems – Do CEECs Converge Towards Western Prototypes?



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Stefan Brinkhoff:
Absatzprognosen: eine empirische Bestandsaufnahme der unternehmerischen Praxis



Alexander Wolters:
The state and islam in central asia: Administering the Religious Threat or Engaging Muslim Communities?



Christian Timm: 
A liberal developmental state in Georgia? State dominance and Washington Consensus in the post-communist region.


Lisa J. Dostmann, Bernhard H. Vollmar: 
Frauen in der Unternehmensführung von Familienunternehmen – eine kritische Reflektion


Quentin Hirche, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Der Six-Sigma-Ansatz und dessen Implementierung aus Sicht einer Sparkasse: eine Darstellung und Analyse


Christina Schrader, Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Green Controlling: ein wesentlicher Schritt auf dem Weg zur nachhaltig orientierten Unternehmensführung


Christian Timm:
Economic Regulation and State Interventions. Georgia’s Move from Neoliberalism to State Managed Capitalism



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Frederik Wurr:
Steigerung der Wertschöpfung durch intelligentes Pricing: Eine empirische Untersuchung



Alexander Wolters:
Islamic Finance in the States of Central Asia: Strategies, Institutions, First Experiences



Joachim Ahrens, Manuel Stark:
Unabhängige Organisationen in autoritären Regimes: Widerspruch in sich oder effektives Instrument von Developmental States?



Tobias Fuchs, Manfred Peter Zilling, Hubert Schüle:
Analyse des Spillover-Effekts in Suchketten anhand des Google Conversion Tracking



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Marie-Catherine Riekhof, Stefan Brinkhoff:
Predictive Markets: Ein vielversprechender Weg zur Verbesserung der Prognosequalität im Unternehmen?



Hanno Kortleben und Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Crowdinvesting – eine Alternative in der Gründungsfinanzierung?



Manuel Stark & Joachim Ahrens:
Economic reform and institutional change in Central Asia: towards a new model of the developmental state?



Christian Danne:
Commitment Devices, Opportunity Windows, and Institution Building in Central Asia



Dario Colosio & Bernhard H. Vollmar:
Die deutsche Healthcare-Branche im Jahr 2015: Zukunftsszenarien mit strategischen Implikationen



Hans-Christian Riekhof & Philipp Wacker:
Pricing-Prozesse für Komponentenhersteller im Maschinen- und Anlagenbau



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Frank Albe, Berit Düvell & Ulrike Gauler:
Eine empirische Untersuchung zur Akzeptanz und zu den wahrgenommenen Umsetzungschancen des Kirchhof-Steuermodells 2011 aus Sicht von Studierenden und Alumni der PFH Göttingen



Joachim Ahrens, Rainer Schweickert & Juliane Zenker:
Varieties of Capitalism, Governance and Government Spending – A Cross-Section Analysis



Bernt R. A. Sierke & Frank Albe:
Bericht zur Studie "Arbeitswelten 2020"



Hans-Christian Riekhof & Franziska Werner:
Pricing Prozesse bei Herstellern von Fast Moving Consumer Goods



Hans-Christian Riekhof & Benedikt Lohaus:
Wertschöpfende Pricing-Prozesse. Eine empirische Untersuchung der Pricing-Praxis



Joachim Ahrens:
The politico-institutional foundation of economic transition in Central Asia: Lessons from China



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Tobias Schäfers und Immo Eiben:
Behavioral Targeting – ein effizienter Einsatz des Online-Werbebudgets?



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Tobias Schäfers & Sebastian Teuber:
Nischenartikel – Wachstumstreiber für den Versandhandel?



Dominik F. Schlossstein:
Adaptive Efficiency: Can it Explain Institutional Change in Korea’s Upstream Innovation Governance?



Joachim Ahrens & Patrick Jünemann:
Adaptive efficiency and pragmatic flexibility:characteristics of institutional change in capitalism, Chinese-style



Inna Melnykovska & Rainer Schweickert:
Analyzing Bottlenecks for Institutional Development in Central Asia - Is it Oil, Aid, or Geography?



Martin Spechler & Dina Spechler:
Is Russia winning in Central-Asia?



Richard Pomfret:
Turkmenistan after Turkmenbashi



Martin Schlosser:
Standarddeckende Patente als strategisches Instrument



Joachim Ahrens:
Transition towards a Social Market Economy: Limits and Opportunities



Lukas Breustedt, Hans-Christian Riekhof
Pricing-Prozesse in der unternehmerischen Praxis



Leon Reutel, Hans-Christian Riekhof
Wie setzen Unternehmen inflationsbedingte Preiserhöhungen um? Differenzierte Preiserhöhungen als strategische Herausforderung



Mathieu Grüneklee, Leon Reutel, Hans-Christian Riekhof:
Instore Navigation im deutschen Einzelhandel



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Marc Scholz:
Customer Insights: Connected Car Services in Deutschland



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Janina Wille:
Pricing-Prozesse in der unternehmerischen Praxis



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Maximilian Mitschke:
Pricing-Prozesse in der Automobilzulieferindustrie



Bernt R. A. Sierke, Joachim Algermissen, Stefan Brinkhoff:
Digitalisierung in Bildungsprozessen. Eine Studie im deutschen Mittelstand



Hans-Christian Riekhof, Teresa Jacobi:
Content-Marketing-Strategien in der Unternehmenspraxis



Bernt R. A. Sierke, Joachim Algermissen, Stefan Brinkhoff:
Digitalisierung in Bildungsprozessen. Eine Studie im deutschen Mittelstand (Kurzfassung)



Bernhard H. Vollmar: 
Tradition matters! Studie zum Traditionsbewusstsein in Familienunternehmen


Hans-Christian Riekhof, Stefan Brinkhoff: 
Ergebnisse eines empirischen Forschungsprojektes:
Location-based Marketing für den Finanzdienstleistungsbereich eines Automobilkonzerns


Bernt R.A. Sierke, Joachim Algermissen, Stefan Brinkhoff: 
Studie (Zusammenfassung):
Outsourcing des Controllings


Hans-Christian Riekhof, Anton Ha: 
Empirische Studie (Zusammenfassung):
Pricing-Prozesse in der unternehmerischen Praxis


Hans-Christian Riekhof, Marco Buhleier, Steffen Mix: 
Studie: Online-Marketing im B2B Geschäft


III Research in the field of technology

Innovative projects are a characteristic of research in the technological study programmes at the PFH. The research projects deal with topics from the fields of Healthcare Technology or Composites or both.

The EU is funding the project "Prosthetic and Orthotic Specialist Modules for Higher Education Training in Europe" as part of the "Erasmus+ 2020 / Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education" programme.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), of the more than 500 million inhabitants of the European Union, at least 2.5 million people live with disabilities. These people, including 850,000 children, are dependent on orthopaedic aids. In order to meet this need, and in line with WHO standards, at least 25,000 trained orthopaedic technicians will be needed in the future. Under the leadership of the PFH, a consortium of three European universities and two educational institutions are now investigating academic training needs in orthopaedic technology in Europe with the PROMOTE project.

More about the PROMOTE project.

Contact person:  Prof. Dr. med. Frank Braatz

Mobility is the dominant issue for physically handicapped people. Aids or vehicles that are adapted to the needs of physically disabled people are a prerequisite for independent mobility. The project "EMOB-REHA" is concerned with the development of a suitable vehicle concept for the physically handicapped, i.e., one which meets the most diverse requirements in terms of control, drive, operability as well as ergonomics and, last but not least, costs.

More about the EMOB-REHA project.

Contact person: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Marc Siebert

The project "Be Fas" (Evaluation of Interacting Defects in Fibre Composite Structures) is about evaluating relevant defects in aerospace structures.

The complaint process in the production of aerospace structures entails considerable financial expenditure, as well as time commitment. The aim of the project is to develop and experimentally validate a new calculation method for the evaluation of manufacturing defects in fibre composite structures together with the cooperation partners Airbus and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

More about the Be Fas project.

Contact person: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Richard Degenhardt

The ESIRA project develops and validates a new design guideline as well as a new safety assessment concept for real space structures consisting of the material Controlled Free Radical Polymerization (CFRP).

More about the ESIRA project.

Contact person: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Richard Degenhardt

Quick links to the pages of the research projects