The success of psychotherapy is sustained beyond the end of treatment.

Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider

The path between science and practice is not on a one-way street.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf

Publicly funded research must be accessible to the public.

Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider

Psychotherapy saves more money than it costs.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf

Mental health and mental disorder begin in childhood and adolescence.

Prof. Dr. Hanna Christiansen

Understanding mental disorder requires understanding mental health.

Prof. Dr. Hanna Christiansen

Transparency and reproducibility are a must for meaningful mental health research.

Prof. Dr. Michael Bosnjak

Continuously updated evidence ensures best possible treatment.

Prof. Dr. Michael Bosnjak

We focus too much on disorder and too little on health.

Prof. Dr. Robert Kumsta

It is imperative to accelerate translation between science and practice - in both directions.

Prof. Dr. Michael Nitsche

Successful prevention and treatment requires good cooperation across services.

Prof. Dr. Sabine Walper

Early psychosocial intervention pays off.

Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn

We need to get closer to the action by studying people in their everyday lives.

Prof. Dr. Maike Luhmann

A cognitive system-neuroscience approach helps understanding adaptive and maladaptive behavior.

Prof. Dr. Oliver Wolf

Cross-species learning research uncovers mechanisms of durable behavior change.

Prof. Dr. Dr. H.C. Onur Güntürkün

Sustainable eHealth needs security against large-scale adversaries.

Prof. Dr. Jörg Schwenk

Treating complex mental disorders requires understanding the complexities of the mind.

Prof. Dr. Nikolai Axmacher

The working environment is crucial for mental health.

Prof. Dr. Martin Schütte

Logo life TBT

Integrating Lab-Intervention-Field-Environments with Translation-BackTranslation for Progress in Mental Health

Regional Network Consortium for the Future German Center for Mental Health


The distinctive scientific excellence of the Leading House Ruhr is embedded in a prominent Faculty of Psychology at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), which covers the whole breadth of psychology research relevant to the planned DZP and LIFE-TBT. Crucial aspects of working environments and their impact on mental health are covered along the translational spectrum by the Leibniz Institute IfADo and the Federal Institute BAuA.

The Hesse partners at UMR and the Leibniz Institute DIPF cover the crucial educational environment of the LIFE-TBT framework and complement the focus on Internalizing Disorders of the Ruhr Cluster with a focus on Externalizing Disorders. Together with the Leading House Ruhr, they contribute expertise in the areas of family and life span.

A further unique feature of LIFE-TBT is its network of leading national infrastructure partners, who provide invaluable resources for the systematic collection and integration of information, links to therapeutic practice, youth research, prevention and health promotion.

Common and complementary research emphases: The table shows that the research foci of LIFE-TBT partners cover all aspects of the LIFE-TBT strategy. Their research competencies complement and strengthen each other in an optimal way.


The Mental Health Research and Treatment Center (German abbreviation FBZ) at Ruhr University Bochum's Faculty of Psychology combines research, teaching and treatment under one roof. Since its foundation, it has been dedicated to improve our understanding of the biopsychosocial foundations of mental health in order to develop and test interventions with lasting effectiveness. FBZ has continuously set the pace for innovation in psychotherapy as evidenced by its “history of firsts” shown above.

We consider mental health and disorder over the entire lifespan and across the living environments of family and leisure, school and work. The center includes comprehensive clinical, experimental psychological, psychophysiological and psychometric/biostatistical infrastructures, further boosted in 2020 by the DFG approval of a mobile research lab. About 3000 children, adolescents and adults with the whole range of mental disorders are treated each year in the FBZ outpatient clinics using the latest evidence-based methods. Teaching and training programs cover the entire range from Bachelor and Master to PhD and postgraduate psychotherapy training as well as further education for professionals and specialists.

The continuously growing number of publications by FBZ members currently stands at ~70 peer-reviewed papers annually with three quarters published in journals within the highest quartile of Cite Scores. FBZ explicitly reaches beyond the ivory tower and actively translates findings and experiences between science and practice in a timely manner. The center publishes leading textbooks, treatment manuals, diagnostic tools and dictionaries on mental health for all age groups. It has recently started making these tools available to scientists and practitioners as open access materials on its website.

Laboratories: Baby-Lab – behavioral observation – cognitive – developmental – experimental psychology – psychophysiology – virtual reality

Interventions: Research clinics (adults, children and adolescents) – teaching clinics (adults, children and adolescents) – open consultation services – crisis intervention for adults, children, adolescents and families – specialty treatments (infant regulation problems, refugees, anxiety disorders, female sexual dysfunctions, large group one-session treatments) – clinical trials

Field and Environment Studies: Prospective longitudinal studies (e.g. Bochum Optimism and Mental Health Studies) – macrosocial factors across cultures – social media use and abuse – cross-cultural measurement invariance studies – diagnostic assessment in the field – body image across age groups – clinical trials

Teaching: Bachelor of Science (Psychology, Economic Psychology) – Master of Science (Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Work and Organizational Psychology) – PhD program (scientist-practitioner model) – postgraduate psychotherapy training programs (adults, children and adolescents – Research Training Group (e.g. Situated Cognition)

Translation: Open access diagnostic instruments – text books (e.g. mental disorders, CBT) – books for patients and relatives – public lecture programs – meetings for special groups (e.g. supervisor, mental health professionals, alumni) – annual congress for continuing education in psychotherapy – training for youth welfare offices – annual art award (“Psyche, Kunst und Gesundheit”) – media coverage

Age range of patients in treatment at the FBZ (2015-2019). About 45 % of patients are younger than 21 years of age.

Age range of therapists at the beginning of treatment (2015-2019). About 75% of the therapists are younger than 30 years, which is due to the fact that FBZ is an educational institution.

Patient gender (2015-2019): Although overall more females are treated at FBZ, the proportion of males is higher than in many research samples.

Therapist gender (2015-2019). At 89% of therapists, the proportion of women is even higher than among psychology students in Germany in general.

Diagnoses of adult patients (2015-2019). Two thirds of patients meet the criteria of an internalizing disorder.

Diagnoses of child and adolescent patients (2015-2019). While anxiety disorders are slightly more frequent than in adulthood, depressions are significantly less frequent. At the same time, externalizing disorders play a major role. 

Vocational training of adult patients (2015-2019). Over three quarters of patients are non-academics, showing that treatments reach less privileged patient groups more often than in typical research samples.

Global rating of success by adult patients at end of treatment (2015-2019). About three quarters of patients rate the success of their treatment in the two highest categories.

Mean scores for positive mental health (PMH) before and after treatment of adult patients (2015-2019). Mental health is more than the absence of a mental health disorder: it is a positive sense of well-being with the capacity to enjoy life and deal with its challenges. PMH significantly increases at end of treatment with an effect size of 1.2.

Global rating of success by child and adolescent patients at end of treatment (2015-2019). More than three quarters of the young patients rate the success of their treatment in the two highest categories and not even 1 % state a lack of success or more harm.

Global rating of success by mothers of child and adolescent patients at end of treatment (2015-2019). Almost two thirds of the mothers rate the success of their children's treatment in the two highest categories.

Number of peer-reviewed publications from FBZ and proportion in 2018 Cite Score Quartiles for Clinical Psychology: Already between 2010-2014 two thirds of FBZ publication ranked in the highest cite score quartile of peer-review publications in clinical psychology. This has increased to almost 80 % between 2015-2019, indicative of the high research potential of FBZ.


Founded in 2015, IGE provides a common scientific platform for interdisciplinary research in mental health and life-long development. It combines a multitude of basic and applied research methods, ranging from epi-/genetics and cognitive neuroscience methods, to behavioral and ambulatory assessments and psychotherapy research. IGE provides a unique contribution to the lifespan perspective via research on early learning and memory in infants, linking this to sleep-wake patterns and emotion regulation, and studying the role of acute and long-term environmental stress for cognition and mental health providing an unusually integrated contextual perspective on the crucial early years that is often lacking in both developmental and clinical research.


IKN with its associated €89 million research building THINK, conducts basic and translational research on the impact of stress on learning, extinction and memory, and investigates the interplay of brain functions and neural organization on cognition, intelligence, language, emotions, and motor behavior. This sheds light on the fundamental processes underlying the development and maintenance of mental disorders. IKN has excellent technical infrastructure for behavioral analyses (video-based machine learning tools, eye-tracking, skin-conductance etc), electrophysiology (64 Channel EEG system and 32 Channel mobile EEG in humans, single unit recording in animals), neuroanatomy, and fMRI (3T human scanner and 7T small animal scanner). Being part of the Faculty of Psychology the researchers have multiple collaborations with the IGE and the FBZ.


METHOD conducts thematically important work on determinants of mental health and wellbeing (e.g., loneliness, impact of critical life events, predictors of health behavior, nudging and choice architecture approaches), with a particular focus on how mental health and its correlates fluctuate in everyday life and develop over the life course. To address these kinds of research questions, METHOD uses a wide range of different methodological approaches, including innovative and complex research designs (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, longitudinal panel studies, secondary data analysis) and sophisticated statistical approaches (e.g., mixed linear models, structural equation modeling, meta-analysis). METHOD drives the Open Science Initiative for the Faculty of Psychology, which runs through all research activities and curricula to ensure a culture of high quality research.


NEURO represents the combination of research into the basic mechanisms of cognitive functions and dysfunctions with cutting-edge neuropsychological diagnostics and treatment. NEURO has the only neuropsychological clinic in a German Psychology department, training psychotherapists in clinical neuropsychology. With respect to research, NEURO applies the most advanced methods of cognitive neuroscience – including ultra-high field neuroimaging, combined EEG/fMRI recordings and single-neuron and intracranial EEG recordings in various patient groups – in order to study perception, memory and higher cognitive functions. NEURO has also developed groundbreaking new analysis approaches using tools from artificial intelligence and deep learning and applied them in complex virtual reality environments. Finally, NEURO aims towards establishing a novel generation of mechanistic biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, allowing for closer collaboration with the DZNE.


The Center for Theoretical and Integrative Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (THINK) is a new research facility at the Ruhr University Bochum to be completed by 2024. THINK unites scientists from different disciplines: neurobiology, neurology, psychology, computational modeling, and philosophy. The central goals of THINK are to develop novel integrative theories of cognition and its underlying neural mechanisms, to test them in experiments, and to develop new therapies and technical applications based on these theoretical insights. THINK will focus on five areas of application with high potential for the future: 1. learning processes, 2. industrial workflows, 3. daily living skills of the elderly, 4. psychological disorders and 5. neurorehabilitation/neuroprosthetics.

The core infrastructure of THINK consists of cutting-edge major research equipment that facilitates imaging on overlapping levels of description: from neurons over neural networks in humans and animals to the organism’s behavior. They include a 3T human-MRI, a 9.4T animal-MRI, multiphoton-imaging and live-cell-imaging microscopes, and a high-performance computing cluster. In addition, the facility provides multiple laboratories for electrophysiological and behavioral studies, virtual reality and robotics as well as molecular and cell biology. Bringing together this research infrastructure in a single facility is key to conducting collaborative research in highly interdisciplinary teams that break boundaries between fields and research groups.


Information technology has become a substantial part of our everyday life. This rapid progress opens up many opportunities, but also holds dangers, ranging from internet fraud to large-scale sabotage and data theft. Creating long-term security against such threats is the goal of the the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security at Ruhr University Bochum.

HGI is one of the world's most renowned institutes in the field of IT security, and is particularly distinguished by its breadth of expertise. It hosts more than 200 researchers in interdisciplinary working groups from electrical engineering and information technology to social sciences and psychology, covering all aspects of data security and privacy protection.

HGI has produced 3 ERC Grantees and attracted over 160 grants. It houses two graduate and postgraduate research colleges (NERD, SecHuman), the Cluster of Excellence CASA (DFG), and was instrumental in the establishing the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy in Bochum.


The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is a higher federal authority and research institution within the remit of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). BAuA initiates, conducts and coordinates research and development projects with the aim of improving safety and health at work and designing the world of work humanely. BAuA also promotes the transfer of research findings and proposed solutions into company practice, in particular through campaigns, publications and events. In agreement with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, BAuA participates in national, European and international advisory committees and is involved in the process of regulation and standardisation at the national and EU level.

With work being a meaningful domain of human life, BAuA’s research into healthy working conditions aims to identify both negative and positive factors that play a key role in workers' physical and mental health. BAuA addresses not only the question of direct harm due to work-related factors, but also major public health challenges such as cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Mental impairments due to work as well as work-related resources regarding mental health are two of BAuA’s research priorities. The main aim is to understand the interrelations between work-related factors and other factors having a possible impact on mental health, for example by conducting long-term studies to investigate cause-effect relationships, e.g. the relationship between working time and mental health. In addition, BAuA puts an emphasis on tertiary prevention by exploring workplace (re-)integration and return-to-work approaches to provide early and lasting support to workers returning to work after periods of (mental) ill-health.


The Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) is an interdisciplinary Research Institute affiliated to the Technical University Dortmund, and member of the Leibniz Association. It has about 200 staff members organized in four departments (Psychology and Neurosciences, Ergonomics, Toxicology, and Immunology). The main mission of the Research Centre is to explore the interaction between human factors, and work conditions, to explore the impact of work conditions on wellbeing of the workers, and to develop strategies to improve work conditions, and human wellbeing.

Research foci of primary importance for the consortium include a cohort study (VITAL study). In this study, we explore the impact of living conditions, including work, on health state, including physiological, psychological, and behavioral processes, and diverse medical factors, on extended time scales. The data from this study will help to identify beneficial, and deleterious environmental conditions with respect to mental health, and the interaction of respective factors with individual preconditions. Participants of this study can be selected for participation in studies dedicated to specific scientific questions, e.g. more detailed analyses of conditions fostering or reducing resilience, and also interventional approaches to promote health.

We have furthermore excellent expertise with respect to the exploration of the physiological foundations of psychological, and behavioral processes, including neuroimaging, pharmacological, and non-invasive brain stimulation approaches. This expertise will be used for the physiological characterization of individuals, and the impact of work and environmental factors on mental health, including mechanisms. We are a leading laboratory with respect to non-invasive brain stimulation, and neuropsychopharmacological research in humans. We will develop innovative non-invasive brain stimulation protocols suited as agents to enhance resilience, reduce clinical symptoms in mental disorders, and explore the effects of these protocols in humans exposed to deleterious environmental conditions, and clinical populations.


Family, School, and Work Psychology Research and Treatment Center (FSA-FBZ)

The FSA-FBZ combines research, teaching, and practice on family, school, and work psychological topics under one roof. The focus is on the living environments, family/relevant reference persons, migration and education/school as well as the spectrum from resilience to illness. The core feature is a "bench-to-bedside" approach, i.e. the translation of evidence-based research findings from the university into teaching, care and educational practice and back again (backtranslation). Research focuses on externalizing disorders (e.g., ADHD), comorbid and associated disorders (e.g., dyscalculia) and the life domains family, school, and work. These focal points are reflected in a variety of research activities on these topics in the areas of prevention, diagnostics and intervention (;; and are reflected both in university teaching (; and professional training (psychotherapy:; teacher training:

Central structures of the FSA-FBZ are:

Children and Adolescents University Outpatient Clinic for Psychotherapy (KJ-PAM:; Special Outpatient Clinic for ADHD (; Main Outpatient Clinic for Families with Stress (website currently under construction); Training Institute for Child and Youth Psychotherapy (; Giftedness Diagnostic Counseling Center (BRAIN:; UMR's Center for Teacher Education (ZfL:; UMR Marburg Module (


DIPF is the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. It offers empirical research, information infrastructures, and knowledge transfer and thus contributes to improving access to and quality of education. Important areas of the scientific work are e.g. the further development of school and instructional practice, early childhood education, the history of education, digital education, and the effects of educational reforms. More than 300 employees in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin are engaged in producing, documenting, and transferring knowledge for education. They offer multilateral services to support researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers in order to master challenges in education even more successfully. The institute is a member of the Leibniz Association and funded by Germany’s central and regional governments.


The Leibniz Institute for Psychology (ZPID) is the supra-regional scientific research support organization for psychology in German-speaking countries. It supports the entire scientific work process from gathering ideas and researching literature to documenting research, archiving data and publishing the results, based on an ideal-type research cycle.

It is committed to the idea of open science and sees itself as a public open science institute for psychology. As a research-based support institution, ZPID conducts basic application research in the area of research literacy and user-friendly research support. Further expansions of the research area are in progress around the topics of research synthesis methods and big data in psychology.

The central, free-of-charge services include the search portal PubPsych, the open access publishing platform PsychOpen GOLD and the psychology repository PsychArchives. New services for study planning, preregistration of psychological studies, data collection and data analysis are under development.


Coordination of Data Acquisition at Psychotherapy Research and Teaching Clinics

Psychology is at the beginning of a cooperative revolution. Traditionally, psychological research has been conducted by individual labs, limiting its scope in clinical samples and promoting replication problems. Large-scale collaborations create new opportunities for highly powered studies in this resource-intensive research area.

In 1999 Germany legally established psychotherapy clinics devoted to research and training at university departments of Clinical Psychology. Since 1999, over 50 such clinics were created in Germany. They represent a unique infrastructure for research, training, and clinical care. In 2013, a steering committee initiated a nationwide research platform for systematic coordination of research in these clinics (“KODAP”). Its main goal is to aggregate and analyze longitudinal treatment data – including patient, therapist, and treatment characteristics – across all participating clinics.

A series of studies investigated the feasibility of systematic collaboration: An initial survey (100% response rate) yielded recommendations for improved integration of data collection. Pilot data from 4,504 adult (16 clinics) and 568 child and adolescent patients (7 clinics) proved feasibility of data transfer and aggregation despite different data formats. Affective, neurotic, stress, and somatoform (adults) and anxiety and behavioral (children and adolescents) disorders were most frequent; comorbidity was high. Overcoming legal, methodological, and technical challenges, a common core assessment battery was developed, and data collection started in 2018. To date, 42 clinics have joined.

KODAP shows that research collaboration across university outpatient clinics is feasible. Fulfilling the need for stronger cumulative and cooperative research in Clinical Psychology will contribute to better knowledge about mental health, a core challenge to modern societies.

Steering Committee:

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hoyer, Technische Universität Dresden. Members: Prof. Dr. Tina In-Albon, Universität Koblenz-Landau; Prof. Dr. Tania Lincoln, Universität Hamburg; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz, Universität Trier; Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf, Ruhr Universität Bochum; Prof. Dr. Angelika Schlarb, Universität Bielefeld; Prof. Dr. Henning Schöttke, Universität Osnabrück; Prof. Dr. Ulrike Willutzki, Universität Witten/Herdecke

Office (Ruhr University Bochum):
PD Dr. Julia Velten, research coordinator; Dr. Christian Leson, responsible for database and data protection; Amelie Scupin, research assistant


Research in children, young people and families at the interface between science, politics and professional practice

The German Youth Institute (DJI) is one of the biggest social science research institutes in Europe. For more than 50 years it has conducted research into the life situations of children, young people and families, advising national government, the German federal states and local authorities and providing key stimuli for professional practice.

Founded in 1963, the governing body of the institute is a non-profit association with members from the fields of politics, science and federations as well as child, youth and family welfare institutions.

The institute is mainly funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and to a lesser extent by the federal states of Germany. Additional project funding is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as by foundations, the European Commission and science funding institutions.


BZgA is the federal governmental agency for health communication, prevention and health pro­motion in Germany. One of BZgA´s key aspects is quality development and assurance in order to enhance evidence-based health promotion and prevention. BZgA´s key activities focus on i) planning, implementation and evaluation of multi-level communication campaigns to promote population health, ii) the methodology around development and evaluation of complex prevention and health promotion interventions in everyday life settings, iii) the application of social and digital media and iv) networking and stakeholder capacity building approaches.

Contact: Prof. Dr. med. Freia De Bock, Prof. Dr. Heidrun M. Thaiss


Mental disorders: 38% of the total burden of disease

Modified after Layard, R. The economics of mental health.
IZA World of Labor 2017: 321 doi: 10.15185/izawol.321
Based on Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) calculated by WHO 2004.

A change of direction is urgently needed

*DDD: defined daily dose. Data for Germany taken from: Schürmann J, Margraf J. Age of anxiety and depression revisited: A meta-analysis of two European community samples (1964-2015). Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2018;18(2):102-112. doi:10.1016/j.ijchp.2018.02.002. Margraf J. Diagnostik und Therapie psychischer Störungen... Sucht Aktuell 2019;26(3): 5-28.

Mental health is more than the absence of disorder

Bi-dimensional model of mental health and mental disorder. Positive mental health and mental disorders are related, but relatively independent dimensions with an average of 84% non-shared variance in the cross-cultural BOOM studies (CN, GER, PK, RU, USA, N > 40,000,

Two-way traffic – the comprehensive picture

Bi-dimensional model of mental health and mental disorder. Positive mental health and mental disorders are related, but relatively independent dimensions with an average of 84% non-shared variance in the cross-cultural BOOM studies (CN, GER, PK, RU, USA, N > 40,000,

„From the first cell on“

Mental disorders typically start early and develop over the entire lifespan in the context of the living environments. In three quarters of all people with mental disorders, the first disorder has already begun by the age of 24.
Based on: Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, et al. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):593-602.

Sustainability: Long-term results are paramount

Long-term follow-up over 5-20 years (mean 8 years) after the end of CBT treatment in FBZ ́s adult clinic (N=254). Shown are patients ́ global ratings of success.
Source: von Brachel R, Hirschfeld G, Berner A, ... Margraf J. Long-Term Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Routine Outpatient Care: A 5- to 20-Year Follow-Up Study. Psychother Psychosom. 2019;88(4):225-235.

Already existing: Numerous collaborations between partners

The internal cooperation is underlined by evidence in „hard currency“ publications and third-party funded projects. The figure shows already existing joint peer review publications, 3rd party funding and translational publications/activities by LIFE-TBT partners.

International networking

LIFE-TBT PIs have a multitude of international collaborations as evidenced by a high number of joint international peer review publications
(total number: 2604, 766 in 2015-2019). Source: ZPID.

LIFE-TBT Infrastructures

The participating institutions have outstanding, state-of-the-art research infrastructures and complementary in-depth expertise in the essential fields of mental health research.

© All rights reserved by Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider & Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf

In a Nutshell

Overcoming the barriers to progress in mental health necessitates a comprehensive change of strategy: instead of short-term, non-representative correlative findings and treatments with short-lived success, we need a focus on generating sustainable, reproducible and generalizable results that yield lasting outcomes and allow meaningful causal inferences.

LIFE-TBT is a regional network, headed by a leading psychological faculty, combining excellence in research, training, and clinical translation with psychotherapy clinics seeing 4,300 patients/year across all ages. Its interdisciplinary approach integrates psychology, medicine, public health, social science and cyber security.

The leading house is located in Germany’s largest metropolitan area, the Ruhr region, which is a real-world laboratory with a catchment area of 5 million inhabitants, high diversity, and unique institutions ideally suited for advancing mental health in a biopsychosocial context.

Alongside LIFE-TBT’s novel integrative strategy, major strengths are pooling of critical infrastructures (national research clinic network with 40,000+ patients, longitudinal cohorts with N of 130,000+), cutting-edge in-house and mobile biopsychosocial labs, the national Open Science Institute for Psychology, and a strong network of the nation´s leading translational infrastructure partners. Its assets and multi-award-winning young scientist program attract highly talented young scientists with prestigious funding programs. PIs have exceptionally strong track records as leaders in all national and European excellence funding lines as well as outstanding publications.

With an emphasis on sustainable health outcomes and reproducibility, LIFE-TBT uniquely integrates lab, intervention and field work across all relevant living environments, enabling rapid translation-backtranslation between science and routine practice, and providing the paradigm shift needed for meaningful and sustainable advances in mental health.


LIFE-TBT systematically combines in-depth laboratory, targeted intervention, and high-powered epidemiological field research strategies, based on the bi-dimensional understanding of positive mental health versus mental disorder. The strategy is shown on the right hand side: The left circle shows mutual research integration as a “progress engine” for advancement in mental health, mutual research integration, taking into account lifespan, environments and rapid translation-backtranslation. The left circle shows mutual research integration as a “progress engine” for advancement in mental health, and the right circle the systematic consideration of the relevant living environments. Both domains are connected by constant "real time" translation (from research to practice) and backtranslation (from practice to research) under a common roof. Results are continuously tested under routine practice conditions in the relevant living environments (“real- time” translation) and experiences are fed back into research (“community augmented back-translation”). Innovative Bayesian study designs and systematic Open Science accelerate the efficient utilization of findings.

The identification of causal risk and protective factors requires not only establishing correlative relationships with health outcomes, but also the temporal precedence of suspected causes over consequences, the variability of the factors studied and, finally, proof that changing the factors also changes the outcomes (intervention relationship). Based on the bi-dimensional understanding of mental health and disorder, lab, targeted intervention and epidemiological field research strategies are therefore systematically combined. This is the core of the “progress engine” of the LIFE-TBT concept, which is already established by collaboration of the consortium ́s specialists within SFB 1280 (extinction learning) and joint BMBF trials. It will be further deepened and taken to a new level by the planned LIFE-TBT-Panel, a transgenerational panel of 100,000 households.

The figure shows Research program for the identification of risk and protective factors in mental health. Modified from: Kraemer HC, Kazdin AE, Offord DR, Kessler RC, Jensen PS, Kupfer DJ. Coming to terms with the terms of risk. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(4):337-343.

© All rights reserved by Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider & Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf


In LIFE-TBT, PIs hold exceptionally strong track records as leaders in all national and European lines of excellence funding (e.g. SFB, FOR, EXC, SNF, MRC, ERC, Horizon 2020, research building, BMBF multi-center studies). The LIFE-TBT partners already cooperate intensively and visibly through joint projects and publications and show that they create synergies in the sense of the LIFE-TBT concept.

In addition, PIs have outstanding publications with excellent citation rates (4 “highly cited” Web of Science). They regularly publish in the top 10 international journals in the fields relevant for mental health such as clinical psychology and psychotherapy (e.g. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology), psychology (e.g. Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, Psychological Assessment) medicine and psychiatry (e.g. Lancet, JAMA Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, EMBO Molecular Medicine) and multidisciplinary journals (e.g. Science, Nature, PNAS). Their total number of peer-reviewed publications is 2604 (766 in 2015-2019) with coauthors from 42 countries.

Both PIs and junior researchers are recipients of numerous awards (PIs: >40 major awards, multiple teaching awards incl. best PhD supervisor, junior scientists: >50 awards).

Current Networking, Funding and Additional Links
Planned LIFE-TBT Panel

„A LIFE-TBT panel is planned with a transgenerational panel of 100,000 households and interfaces with existing panels within and outside the consortium (e.g. DZNE Rhineland study, SOEP, NAKO). This panel will deepen our understanding of mental health and take it to a new level.!

A unique feature of the panels within LIFE-TBT is the inclusion of intervention studies in subsamples that systematically target identified potential risk and protective factors, the final stage of the causal research strategy outlined above. In addition, the panel participants form an extremely valuable pool for the recruitment of participants for LIFE-TBT´s lab studies.

Significant added value is provided by the high-quality information on the participants´ histories, their further course and the familial, transgenerational aspects, which are hardly ever available in this quality in standard laboratory research. For this, the outpatient clinics at FBZ (focus: internalizing disorders), FSA-FBZ (focus: externalizing disorders), NEURO (acquired brain injury) and KODAP as well as the school and lab intervention experts from DIPF, FSA-FBZ, and BAuA work together with experts of IfADo, IGE, IKN and THINK.

METHOD contributes innovative tools such as multi-method approaches used to take research from the lab to field. The integration of experimental laboratory research with intervention research, which is translated into real life worlds across the lifespan and backtranslated into lab can be used as a blueprint for a wide range of research questions within the DZP.


The governance structure of the planned LIFE-TBT site draws on the previous experiences of the already existing German Health Centers. It will explicitly provide the structural involvement of stakeholder groups (e.g. patient advocates, relatives respresentatives, representatives of chambers of psychotherapists).

Infografik - Governance Structure of the planned LIFE TBT concept

What difference will it make?

LIFE-TBT stands for a clear, sharp profile in research, education, practice and translation; an established, highly successful cooperation and optimal complementarity of partners with excellent proof of performance and coherence; an exceptionally strong psychological and psychosocial research focus, a complete biopsychosocial model of mental health and disorder, the whole range from biological and psychological basics to clinical application, the importance of learning and memory, sustainability and reproducibility of results and a unique translation-backtranslation concept in living environments beyond traditional WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) samples.

Somatic and mental health are highly interactive, thus close cooperation with the existing six German Health Centers holds great potential. There is strong evidence of the importance of psychological and social factors - LIFE-TBT core competencies - in the development, course and treatment of the most important widespread diseases. Similarly, the majority of age-related disorders are a cumulative result of combinations of noxious as well as protective factors with a high impact of lifestyle choices.

LIFE-TBT uniquely integrates laboratory, intervention and field research in all relevant living environments. Our vision is to create an efficient, dynamic interface between basic research and clinical practice based on innovative methodology and state-of-the-art information technology. Rapid, streamlined translation-backtranslation between science and practice will be the driving force behind this novel approach – one that is urgently needed to advance mental health. The partners in LIFE-TBT join their efforts with the firm conviction that as a team they offer the optimal structure and synergistic potential to meet the challenge of mental health sustainably and efficiently.

LIFE-TBT will make a major difference: (1) High-performance research that requires staying power (e.g. prospective longitudinal studies, large-scale intervention studies with long- term follow-ups) will receive a much needed boost. (2) Innovative approaches and translation will be brought to a new level. (3) A translational paradigm shift will strengthen the focus on health, causality and the integration of previously fragmented lines of research. (4) The crucial resources of time and money will be used more efficiently: sustained support for research structures will avoid detrimental repeated re-establishment and loss of competencies. (5) New structures, space and time will make disciplinary insularity a thing of the past.