BFH Centre for Social Security

BFH Centre for Social Security

The BFH Centre for Social Security generates fundamental knowledge of social risks and ways and means of safeguarding against them as well as practical expertise regarding working with vulnerable groups.


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Economic and social change represent considerable challenges for the social security system. Not only extensive knowledge but also social innovation are necessary in order to generate sustainable welfare.

By developing and extending our knowledge of the effects of social security systems, organisations and interventions, the BFH Centre makes a contribution towards an effective and efficient overall system of social security.

The BFH Centre for Social Security is distinguished by its multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary view of the social security system, the organisation of social services and enterprises as well as specific social and nursing care intervention on the part of the stakeholders. Among other things, this includes:

  • Progression analyses between social security systems
  • Collaboration between different organisations in terms of social and health care provision
  • Organisational and business concepts for social enterprises
  • Analyses of social and health care issues
  • Development and evaluation of integrative measures

The BFH Centre for Social Security is always open to projects and collaborations with further partners and will be pleased to receive your enquiry.



The BFH Centre for Social Security brings together a unique combination of expert knowledge from a wide range of different disciplines. The ideal team and appropriate concepts and methods are chosen for each individual research project.
The BFH Centre for Social Security works in the following subject areas:

Generational relationships: The ageing demographic, new family models coupled with changed mobility, and gainful employment patterns have long-term effects on the relationships between the generations and in particular on the availability of care and support within family networks.
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Work, equal opportunities and diversity: Social security and work are closely related. Fairness in the job market and responsible employers contribute towards securing the life plans of individuals. Particular attention is paid to equal opportunities and diversity in companies, education and training, and career paths. 
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Safeguarding of livelihoods and integration: The focus in this thematic area is on the role of social security systems in safeguarding against risks in life. The core issues of this research area are further development of social welfare systems and the dynamics of poverty.
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Organisation of social services: Issues dealt with include governance, quality management and quality assurance, as well as collaboration and networking in a range of research and development projects.
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Health opportunities and life situations: Although the social security system covers health risks such as sickness and disabilities, it is not always immediately clear which intended and unintended effects result from reforms of social policy and measures. The research into this area thus deals with the effects and implications of new social policy programmes.
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Development opportunities and risks in childhood and youth: As a result of protecting and supporting children and young people during their development, they acquire the abilities and freedom enabling them to organise their own lives, allowing them to lead a socially integrated and independent life on the right side of the poverty line. The focus is on the fields of activity of child and youth protection and of the juvenile justice system.
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Reference projets

The following current reference projects give an idea of the breadth of the areas covered and the services provided by the BFH Centre for Social Security.

Generational relationships
Future of willingness on the part of relatives and volunteers to provide care

Maintaining care and the associated cost development represents a considerable challenge, particularly in view of the ageing demographic of the Swiss population. Data available from Germany give rise to concerns that in the future a diminishing willingness of family members to care for relatives is to be anticipated in Switzerland as well. 
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Safeguarding of livelihoods and integration

Analysis of benefit histories and risk profiles of persons drawing unemployment insurance benefit

During the research project, analyses were compiled showing the history of persons drawing unemployment benefit. The progression analysis covers the first six years of drawing benefit. The focus was on the interaction between unemployment benefit and social welfare. How frequently does drawing social welfare follow drawing unemployment benefit? How great is the proportion of persons who subsequently draw unemployment benefit again – which population groups are disproportionately represented by these 'commuters'? 
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Organisation of social services
Quality and performance check: an analysis and consultation tool for social services departments

The Bernese system for sharing social security burdens results in unintentional system effects such as too few incentives for greater cost awareness on the part of municipalities. That is why policies introduced in 2012 incorporated new incentives during a partial review of the process of balancing financial resources and burdens. A bonus and penalty system is intended to reward social services departments which operate efficiently and to impose sanctions on those with high social security costs. In 2013, BFH was commissioned by the Health and Care Directorate (GEF) to develop an analysis and support tool designed to analyse those factors of a social services department which can be influenced.

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Health opportunities and life situations
Panorama of health care professions 2030: Future research project on the development of health care professions

Health care is set to change over the next few years. The number of persons in need of care will rise, cost pressure will increase, technical developments will provide new possibilities. The project, commissioned by the GEF (Health and Welfare Administration) of the Canton of Bern, generated fundamental knowledge regarding the education and further training of non-university health care professions in the future.
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Research and development
The BFH Centre for Social Security brings together a unique combination of expert knowledge from a wide range of different disciplines.The team at the BFH Centre for Social Security offers solutions tailored to particular research questions in line with the latest standards of empirical social research.


  • A special field of the BFH Centre is evaluation of large-scale administrative databases, facilitating for example the generation of findings regarding the interaction of social insurance schemes or the risk factors associated with beneficiaries of such schemes.
  • Mixed-method designs systematically combine qualitative and quantitative methods. A research question can, for example, simultaneously be investigated both on a broad basis and in depth (triangulation).
  • Evaluations examine the impact of both intended and unwanted effects of a measure in targeted fashion.
  • Cost-benefit analyses measure and analyse all elements of costs and benefits, before drawing conclusions from the resulting data in terms of efficiency.
  • Comparative analyses are a helpful instrument for examining the effects of contextual factors and regulations.
  • Action research is a flexible research method which focuses on the solution of specific practical problems. Those affected in the field of investigation are involved in the problem-solving process.


Reference projects


Services and consultancy
The staff at the BFH Centre for Social Security provide a wide range of services, including:

  • Analyses, consultancy, evaluations
  • Concept development and implementation, project management
  • Moderation and organisation of workshops and events

Degree and further training courses
Current research results are integrated in the teaching of bachelor and master students as well as in the range of further training courses.


Bachelor degree courses

Business management

Nutrition and dietetics


Nursing care


Social work

Business information technology

Master degree courses

Business Administration

Nursing care


Social work

Business information technology

Further training courses

Health Professions
Social Work
Institute on Ageing



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Bern University of Applied Sciences

BFH Centre for Social Security

Hallerstrasse 10

CH-3012 Bern

T +41 31 848 36 80


Prof. Dr Martin Wild-Näf

Head of the BFH Centre

T +41 31 848 36 52



Prof. Tobias Fritschi

Deputy Head of the BFH Centre

T +41 31 848 36 84