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

Current Projects

Current projects at the Department of Society, Culture and Technological Change in alphabetical order. Completed projects are listed in the archive section.

AITE (2020-2023)

Artificial Intelligence, Trustworthiness and Explainability

AITE investigates which epistemological and scientific standards Artificial Intelligence must meet in order to be considered explainable and which ethical standards it should fulfill in order to be considered trustworthy.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Trustworthiness and Explainability

Project website

AUPIK (2020-2023)

Maintaining infrastructures for home care in times of crisis

AUPIK therefore starts at the intersection of the work of home care services and structures of disaster control. Ultimately, AUPIK aims at strengthening the resilience of home care infrastructures in situations of crisis and disaster.

Keywords: resilience, home care, disaster management, security studies

Project website

BuildERS (2019-2023)

Building European Communities' Resilience and Social Capital

The research project BuildERS aimsat identifying approaches to improve societal resilience by increasing social capital. By enhancing social networks, local communities are to be strengthened and supported in disasters. The project focusses particularly on especially vulnerable societal groups.

Keywords: Resilience, disaster research, security ethics, social capital

Project website

DAMA (2020-2023)

Transparent data autonomy Meta-Assistant

In the DAMA project, a meta-assistant is being developed to enable users to control their smart homes. The aim of DAMA is to create transparency of shared data and increase the autonomy of the users.
Keywords: Privacy, Autonomy, Data Sovereignty, Smart Home, IoT

Project website


Society in digital change – digitalisation in dialogue

Digitalisation is changing social coexistence in a diverse, in some cases fundamental way. The aim of digilog@bw at the Ethics Centre is to identify the influence of digitisation on individuals and society from an ethical point of view and to contribute to responsible problemsolving. Thus, the foundations for value-oriented digital change will be developed on the basis of public dialogue events and in an inter-disciplinary network.

Project website

EKAMED (2020-2022)

Ethics in disaster medicine

Development, communication, implementation and establishment of an ethical guideline for members of the medical care units of the German national government in the context of the preparation and execution of disaster medicine missions.

Project website

ESTER (2021-2024)

Ethical and Social Aspects of Integrated Research. A project of the BMBF Cluster Integrated Research, Subcluster 2: Collaborative Interventions.

In technology development projects, a process-accompanying investigation of ethical, legal and social issues should take place, according to the basic idea of the BMBF's Integrated Research funding concept. The ESTER project of the Integrated Research cluster deals with this research mode and analyzes the ethical and social aspects that it entails. Together with representatives of relevant disciplines, practice partners from targeted fields of application, users and funding agencies, proposals are being developed on how these aspects can be included in the further development of integrated research.

Keywords: Responsible Innovation, ELSI, Interdisciplinarity, Transdisciplinarity, Governance

Project website

Forum Privacy (2013–2020)

Forum Privacy and Self-Determination in a Digital World

In modern societies with widespread usage of digital media, private information can be disclosed on many occasions. The co-development of technical possibilities like data mining and genetic diagnostics, and political regulation (e.g. data retention, biometric databases, body scanners) on the one hand, and the individual use of social networking sites, online shopping, or location based services on the other hand establish a tight mesh of information. This enables the ever more encompassing and detailed tracking of individuals’ lives. The “Forum Privacy and Autonomy in the Digital World” considers these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing together scholars from Law, Sociology, Computer Science, Psychology, Economics and Ethics.

Keywords: privacy, self-determination, digital transition, media

Project website

HEIMDALL (2017–2020)

Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building

The project aims at improving the preparedness of societies to cope with complex crisis situations by means of providing integrated tools to support efficient response planning and the building of realistic multidisciplinary scenarios. The project will design and develop a system for improving response planning strategies and scenario building and facilitating organisational coordination among many actors (firefighting units, medical emergency services, police departments, civil protection units, command and control centres). The Ethics Centre will provide a human factors analysis, a societal acceptance and ethical acceptability analysis and an ethical issues analysis in cooperation with the end users involved in the project.

Keywords: security ethics, human machine interaction, crisis situation, civil protection, first responders

Project website

HIVE-Lab (2018–2021)

Social, ethical and legal aspects of Mixed Reality in the context of health technologies and the possibilities of participatory technology development

In the HIVE-Lab (Health Immersive Virtual Environment - Lab) project, new technical developments in the field of immersive health are tested in Living Labs and further developed together with users. VR-AR technologies are being used in the Living Labs. Cooperation in the Living Labs takes place on an interdisciplinary basis in a common room of experts and users. The subproject "Social, ethical and legal aspects of mixed reality in the context of health technologies and the possibilities of participatory technology development" accompanies the Living Labs (NOSTRESS of the HSD and IDeA of the LMU) in the form of an integrated research design and, in addition to research ethical questions, also works on the issues of "technology assessment", "participatory research: co-design" and "coordination of external project networks".

Keywords: VR/AR technologies, living labs, participatory research, ELSA, technology assessment, human-technology interaction

Project website 


Integriertes Diagnose- und e-Assistenzsystem für Patienten mit altersbedingter Makuladegeneration

The BMBF project IDeA is developing a diagnosis and assistance system for elderly people with visual impairments. By combining mixed-reality techniques and eye tracking, the aim is to improve visual function testing and thus ophthalmological diagnoses. On the other hand, the data glasses should support elderly people with macular degeneration in their daily life. It is our task in IDeA to introduce ethical and social aspects into the development process through interdisciplinary dialogue and scientific analysis. In addition, we have subcontracted for a legal opinion that will shed light on data protection and liability issues.

Keywords: mixed reality, age, ELSA, human-machine interaction, interdisciplinarity, technology development

Project website 


Learning Model for Multidimensional Quantitative Movement Analysis

LOUISA (Learning Model for Multidimensional Quantitative Movement Analysis) is a project funded by the German federal ministry for research and education (BMBF). Musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases represent one of the main health risks in the workplace that result in chronic pain that significantly reduces the quality of life to those affected and can lead to disabilities. The aim of LOUISA is to motivate and support people in the workplace. Employers actively prevent and improve employees' MSK health in order to keep people healthy.


Project website

migsst (2018–2021)

Ethnic segregation and crime

The separation of ethnic groups in some urban neighbourhoods is regarded as a safety-relevant risk factor. The migsst project will review this assumption through a comprehensive and interdisciplinary research approach.

The subproject at the IZEW questions the so-called "parallel societies" and investigates the potentials of modern communication in multi-ethnic cities.


Project website

NIKA (2018–2021)

User-centred interaction design for context-sensitive and acceptable robots

The NIKA project is aimed at the development of generic interaction patterns for social robots in the home of elderly people. These patterns can be used across different robot platforms to support elderly people in an active, self-determined lifestyle in their own home environment. A library of interaction patterns will be designed, implemented and tested, from which the appropriate pattern for the respective situation will be selected according to the user's needs profile, support needs and context.

Keywords: Assistive Robotics, Social Robotics, Human-Machine-Interaction, Robot Ethics, Ethics of Old Age

Project website

PEGASUS (2020-2023)

The PEGASUS project deals with the use of machine learning based software solutions in the fight against organised crime. The aim of the project is to carry out ethically informed accompanying research in close cooperation with technical and legal partners in order to define normative guidelines and framework conditions for an acceptable use of technology.

Project website

PODESTA (2017–2020)

Populism Democracy City

The joint research project PODESTA aims at formulating democratic answers to populism. Populism in this framework is understood as an expression and reinforcement of a crisis of representative democracy. The factors contributing to social division are empirically analysed by taking into account existing conflicts in the context of urban development in Leipzig and Stuttgart. The ethical substudy at the IZEW aims at discussing existing strategies of anti-populism and the complex factors contributing to their success or failure.

Keywords: populism, city, democracy, crisis of democracy, public sociology

Project website

RESIK (2020-2023)

Resilienz und Evakuierungsplanung für sozioökonomische Infrastrukturen im medio-sozialen Kontext

RESIK is obliged to the notion of planning for that, which can’t be planned for. The project is meant to be a contribution to the building and assuring of hospital functionality in times of crisis. One of its tasks is to lay the foundations for temporary decentralisation of medical and caring structures in case of emergency. In this context the hospital is regarded as a node in a network of miscellaneous public health and security organizations. For the model region Krefeld RESIK analyses the complex structure, identifies existing vulnerabilities related to crisis and develops strategies to enhance the resilience of hospitals as central parts of public health infrastructure.

Keywords: resilience, Security, Health, Hospital, Ethical acceptability

Project website  

WeNet (2019-2022)

The Internet of Us

The project WeNet deals with diversity-aware artificial intelligence and tries to improve computer-mediated social interaction by developing new methods and algorithms. The goal is to develop an online platform, which is based on this diversity-aware computer-facilitated mediation of communication. Within the project, the IZEW investigates ethical aspects of privacy and data protection and develops a conceptual framework of diversity to inform the development algorithms.

Keywords: ethics, artificial intelligence, algorithm, human-computer interaction, communication

Project website