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


Integrated civil security solutions for the city of Wilhelmshaven as a defense and maritime location at the interface of urban living spaces

In Wilhelmshaven, the port, industrial facilities, military properties, residential buildings, and municipal infrastructure are closely located to one another. The city has therefore started a research cooperation with the University of Potsdam and several associated partners from the sciences and praxis to investigate how effective and socially acceptable risk and crisis management can be achieved against this background. As a subcontractor, the IZEW is responsible for the ethical support of the project.


Cooperation partners

Project partners:

Associated partners:

  • Wilhelmshaven/Friesland Police Station

  • Wilhelmshaven Community Prevention Association (VKP)

  • State Criminal Police Office of Lower Saxony

  • Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut

  • Fraunhofer Focus, Competence Center ESPRI

  • University of the German Armed Forces, Research Center RISK, Neubiberg

  • Jade University of Applied Sciences Wilhelmshaven, Department of Management Information Technology

  • German Federal Armed Forces, Wilhelmshaven site headquarters

  • Lower Saxony Ports GmbH & Co. KG

  • Bauverein Rüstringen eG

  • Spar und Bau housing cooperative

  • Adler Housing Service GmbH

  • Wilhelmshavener Hafenwirtschaftsvereinigung e. V.

  • Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V.

  • DRK e.V. Wilhelmshaven


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

The project

The ZiSch project primarily focuses on the potential risks that the city of Wilhelmshaven is exposed to due to its proximity to the industrial and port facilities, military properties as well as various residential developments and municipal infrastructure. Due to its spatial arrangement, the city is at risk of being majorly damaged by flooding and industrial accidents, or even terror attacks. For that reason, the ZisSch project aims to develop solutions for effective crisis management as well as implementing extensive protections for the people, places, and buildings. Furthermore, risk and crisis communication are to be developed in a way that involve the interest of the city’s residents.

The innovative nature of this project lies within its holistic risk assessment and the inclusion of all stakeholders from society in finding a solution to offer more security. In addition to authorities, this includes private operators of the facilities and ports as well as members of the German Armed Forces stationed in Wilhelmshaven, along with volunteers and residents. The project aims at developing a concept for overarching risk and crisis management. For this purpose, the project commences by analysing the specific protection needs, participation potentials, and communication structures of the city of Wilhelmshaven. It will then focus on participatory workshops which will generate findings on the following three central fields of action of the project: (1) the protection of people, buildings, and places; (2) the information and participation of residents in the event of a crisis; (3) the existing organisational structures, cooperation, and communication processes that need to be further developed. Lastly, technical and communicative solutions will be considered and an integrative security concept for the city of Wilhelmshaven will be developed.

As a subcontractor, the IZEW accompanies and advises the project consortium during all phases of the project. It will attend to ethical questions and value conflicts that arise from the integrated research approach, the participatory research design, and the innovative research goals of ZisSch. In doing so, the IZEW draws on its existing expertise in the field of security ethics, disaster ethics as well as media, information, and AI ethics. The concrete work of the IZEW in ZisSch includes the provision of expert reports on normative implications of central concepts and value conflicts in the project, the normative reflection of participatory workshop procedures and possible effects on the security perception by the residents. It further includes the formulation of ethical minimum standards such as technology-supported or digital crisis communication (e.g. through social media, algorithmic systems or smart city applications). The cooperation aims to anchor ethical issues in the planned main application for subsequent project funding within the framework of SifoLIFE.