Research Projects

The German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences is engaged in numerous German, European and international research project in the field of ethics in the Life Sciences. Please find more information through the respective project descriptions.



The research ethics process is facing increasing challenges at a global level: new and emerging technologies present challenges to ethics reviewers who may be unskilled in the relevant fields; increased internationalisation of research has led to fears of ethics dumping; and there is a lack of standardisation across Europe and the world. A key objective of national and EU research policy is to ensure compliance with the highest standards of research ethics. Given the impact of research on society, in terms of potential to generate innovative solutions to problems, and yet with the associated risk of harm, rigorous ethical research conduct is essential to ensure public trust in the scientific endeavour. iRECS will address these problems in four ways. First, it will scan and map existing needs raised by new and emerging technologies in European and global research ethics communities. Second, it will produce and implement training materials for European and global audiences in research ethics communities. Third, it will conduct and permanently establish training programmes. Fourth, it will propose adaptations to the research ethics process in Europe. Through a unique blend of expertise, global partners and the involvement of European research ethics networks as partners or members of the Stakeholder Advisory Board, iRECS will develop a fresh awareness of research ethics and sustainable, multi-purpose, multi-language interactive training programmes for different users. The project thus extends ENERI and the Embassy of Good Science into a horizontal community of research ethics practitioners, policy makers and other key stakeholders. [more]

© Barbara M. Hasenau


Practical Challenges of Climate Change: Intergenerational Justice and Freedom

The interdisciplinary research project “Practical Challenges of Climate Change: Intergenerational Justice and Freedom” (PRACC) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the context of its funding program “Ethical, legal, and social aspects in the life sciences” (ELSA). The overall objective of the project is to develop an ethical and legal framework for policy recommendations regarding climate change, based on the fundamental concepts of intergenerational justice and freedom. This will serve as a guideline for the delineation of adapted production and consumption patterns informed by a bioeconomic analysis and for the assessment of conservation priorities against the backdrop of biodiversity loss induced by climate change. [more]



The joint project FRAIM is part of the BMBF funding measure "Research on Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects (ELSA) of Digitalisation, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Health Research and Care". The aim of this measure is to investigate the effects of the new technologies on science and society and to work towards a socially accepted and responsible framework for their use. The aim of the FRAIM network is to provide an evaluation framework for the assessment of AI procedures used in medical diagnostics and decision-making. To this end, detailed ethical and legal analyses are being conducted on the acceptance of and trust in AI-based procedures in the field of neuromedicine. [more]

Klausurwoche Bioökonomie

Conference week: Bioeconomy

Conference week: Bioeconomy and modern biotechnologies. Ethical, legal and social aspects.

The conference week, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), was prepared and conducted by the DRZE. Young scientists from different scientific disciplines were given the opportunity for an open exchange. The contributions of the participants were complemented by lectures of renowned experts. The aim was to explore the opportunities, risks and challenges of modern biotechnological processes for a sustainable and knowledge-based bioeconomy in intensive collaboration. In the context of a public panel discussion: "Bioeconomy - Great opportunity for sustainable economic activity or new aberration?" on 26.9.2019, the conference’s subject was also made accessible to interested citizens. The results of the conference will be published by Springer Nature in an anthology. [more]



Biodiversity Network Bon

The BION Biodiversity Network Bonn is an alliance of 55 international, national and regional scientific institutions and organisations that stand out for their competence, specialisation and excellence in biodiversity research and conservation. It receives financial support from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) with means of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit). The DRZE coordinates working groups on Ethics of Biodiversity and Interdisciplinary Approaches as part of the network. [more]



European Network for Research Ethics and Research Integrity

Funded by the European Commission, EUREC (European Network of Research Ethics Committees) is a network of research ethics committees whose primary function is to advance the exchange of knowledge and information, disseminate educational materials, and engage with the latest research findings.
The European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity (ENERI) is a platform of stakeholders in the fields of research ethics and research integrity established in the project period 2016-2019 with EU funding under the Horizon 2020 research framework program under the leadership of DRZE. This will continue to help promote the network of European Ethics Committees EUREC. [more]



The overall goal of the PREPARED project is to develop an operational ethics and integrity framework, which safeguards key ethical values, supports a rapid and effective research response to crises and improves overall pandemic preparedness.

Our project is underscored by three pillars:

  • Recognize the broader perspective of a crisis
    Global crises affect all aspects of humanity. We therefore cannot ignore human, social, economic and political contexts in our research ethics and integrity framework. A crisis reaching all of humanity needs everyone to tackle it.

  • Motivate to action with values
    Rules alone do not motivate to action, but values do, which is why we develop a values-based framework for global crises.

  • Keep values understandable
    Clear and simple values in an organization are proven to improve the motivation for ethical conduct at work, which is why we aim to align our framework with common sense moral values.
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