The German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE) is a national documentation and information centre for the entire field of ethics in the biomedical sciences in Germany.

The DRZE is a Central Research Institute of the University of Bonn. Upon the discontinuation of the BMBF’s funding of the project “Ethics in the Life Sciences”, the DRZE applied to be part of the “Akademienprogramm”. The project was admitted into the research programme of the German Scientific Academies on 1 January 2004, as a research project of the Project of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.

It has the task of:

  • to scientifically elaborate the normative foundations of qualified judgement formation and to make them available in various formats;
  • to prepare and make available information from a wide variety of fields on the current bioethical discussion in science, society and politics;
  • to promote scientific networking and thus advance the German, European and international discourse.

The Rediscovery of Bioethics

Die Wiederentdeckung der Bioethik

Symposium to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the DRZE

The founding of the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE) in 1999 was a milestone for bioethical research in Germany. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the DRZE is organizing an international scientific symposium in German and English.

In Focus

The short information In Focus enables interested non-specialists in particular to get a quick overview of the debate on a current bioethical topic.

© Unsplash, Accuray Khaj

Imaging in Neuroscience

© Unsplash, Alfred Schrock

Research with Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Expert Reports

The aim of the series Ethics in the Life Sciences - DRZE Expert Reports is to prepare ethical problem areas from the field of the life sciences in a scientifically sound manner for interdisciplinary and societal discourse by comprehensively presenting the respective state of research and discussion.

SB 26 - Cut
© Verlag Karl Alber

Climate Justice

Marius Bartmann / Aurélie Halsband / Andrea Schapper

SB 25 - Cut
© Verlag Karl Alber

Die Generierung von künstlichen Keimzellen
(The Generation of Artificial Gametes)

Eva Mall / Stefan Schlatt / Ulrich M. Gassner / Tade Matthias Spranger / Robert Ranisch / Vasilija Rolfes


Here you will find news on current topics, projects and events of the DRZE.

Soziale Roboter in Medizin und Pflege
© KI-generiert mit Adobe Illustrator

DRZE Journal Club: Social robots in medicine and healthcare

The sixth edition of the DRZE Journal Club examines the extent to which the deduction of ideal characteristics or capabilities that social robots should exhibit can meaningfully guide the ethical evaluation of their use.

Universität Bonn bei Nacht
© Unsplash, Carolina Nichitin

PRACC at Dies Academicus and the Bonn Science Night

The BMBF-funded project PRACC will take part in the Dies academicus on 15 May 2024 with a lecture and a panel discussion entitled “What kind of diversity should we protect? An interdisciplinary perspective on nature conservation” (programme of the Faculty of Arts, 11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m., lecture hall VIII).

On 16 May 2024, it will attend the Bonn Science Night with a booth on the Münsterplatz.

© Pixabay

DRZE Journal Club: Ethical perspectives on surrogacy

In the fifth issue of the Journal Club, Sandra Scholl provides an overview of the various areas of discussion in the ethical debate.

Dirk Lanzerath
© Johannes-Rau-Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V.

Dirk Lanzerath elected Chairman of the JRF Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee of the Johannes Rau Research Foundation (JRF) has elected Prof. Dr. Dirk Lanzerath as Chairman on 11 April 2024.

© Volker Lannert

Biodiversity in the Anthropocene

The videos of the Ethik-Forum “Biodiversity in the Anthropocene – Restore or Design?” are now online.

Third-party funded projects



The DRZE is coordinating an EU-funded project on climate and environmental ethics in research and innovation.

© Christine Siefer


The DRZE is coordinating an EU-funded project on research ethics in the context of new and emerging technologies.

© Barbara M. Hasenau


The DRZE is coordinating a BMBF-funded project on challenges of climate change in the context of intergenerational justice and freedom.



The DRZE is involved in a BMBF-funded project developing an ethical framework for the use of AI in neuromedicine.

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