International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)


Integrated research: A critical analysis and practical dissemination for the research area "Human-technology interaction"

Re-thinking technology development

There is broad agreement that ethical, social, legal and economic aspects should be taken into account in the development of new technologies. By integrating those aspects, innovations are supposed to become more attuned to ethical and societal concerns, more confirm to the law and economically more promising. However, it is anything but clear how ethical, social scientific, legal and economic aspects are supposed to be implemented in the everyday work of individual development projects.

Context: Difficulties of interdisciplinary technology development

In practise, it often proofs to be difficult to bring technology developers in productive cooperation with ethicists, social scientists, jurists and economists. This is not only due to the interdisciplinary challenge of bringing together very different forms of knowledge and practise – often with little conceptual clarity and academic recognition. In the case of “integrated” technology development matters are complicated further by the asymmetric motivation and power relations built into the funding structures.

Aims: Critical analysis, methodological elaboration & dissemination

Accordingly, an elaboration of integration methods alone is not sufficient. It should be embedded in critical analyses of aims, structures, quality criteria and limits of interdisciplinary technology development. Moreover, systematic dissemination in the relevant scientific communities is necessary to insure that methods of integration are actually applied in practise.

Results of the project

Based on the project partners’ interdisciplinary discourses, the project INTEGRAM achieves the following results:

Academic research

Interdisciplinarity does not emerge from a dissolution of disciplines. It rather lives from researchers, who translate their discipline’s perspectives in a way that they become compatible with other disciplines. Therefore, for all disciplines represented in INTEGRAM – ethics, social sciences, law, economics and interdisciplinarity – the current state of research is compiled and further studies are carried out. The guiding question is: What does the integration into technology development mean from the respective perspectives and what should it mean?

A guidebook for project staff

INTEGRAM develops a guidebook, to help interdisciplinary teams in the field of technology development to integrate their perspectives systematically, based on the academic states of research and with reasonable effort. The guidebook comprises tools and background information on four focal integration tasks:

The guidebook is developed from the project partners‘ interdisciplinary discourse. It is based on the academic research carried out in the project as well as on three practical tests with technology development projects in the fields of 1) affective computing, 2) quantified self and 3) augmented reality.


The academic discussion as well as the guidebook on interdisciplinary technology development are disseminated into the relevant knowledge communities. Therefore, each project partner is associated with a dialogue partner. Furthermore, the publication of project results is accompanied by a spring school for PhD students (2018, Tübingen) and a workshop for entrepreneurs (fall 2018, Tübingen).


  • Period: 1.3.2016 to 28.2.2019