Research Projects

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Duration: 2024-2029
Funder: European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme
Collaborative project, subproject Ethics (PI)

The research project with 19 partners from twelve countries aims to develop a technology for digital twins in the healthcare sector. In a further step, computer simulations are planned to be used in clinical practice. The aim is to use digital twins to find tailored treatment methods, particularly for patients with strokes and cerebral haemorrhages.

The ethics project is investigating how much agency such simulations may or even should be given in an emergency situation by analysing the moral and legal framework and discussing the consequences.

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Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.


Duration: 2023–2028
Funder: European Research Council

Digitisation has an impact on even the most fundamental concepts in medicine and public health, including our ideas of health and illness, embodiment, vulnerability and controllability. Among the emerging technologies driving this paradigm shift is that of Digital Twins (DT), which presents exceptional challenges to healthcare governance, raising ethical and societal issues of which our understanding is still rudimentary. DT may be empowering but could also exacerbate the vulnerability of both individual patients and the population at large. There are substantial gaps in our understanding of whether these new forms of artificial intelligence-driven health simulations provide new ways of engaging with experiences of human vulnerability, or whether they in fact introduce new forms of harm.

In this context, SIMTWIN will be the first project systematically identifying and examining the ethical and societal implications of the use of DT in healthcare. In doing so, SIMTWIN will promote our understanding of and practical approaches to new forms of simulation and prediction of health trajectories. SIMTWIN’s central objective is to provide a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the normative challenges implied in order to develop an integrated theory of health simulations. 

SFB 1483 EmpkinS

Duration: 2021–2025 (First funding period)
Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)

The twelve-year research program of the SFB EmpkinS will create methodologies and technologies that will provide novel fundamental knowledge about linking internal biomedical processes of the human body with external and contactless, radio and wave-based sensing information.

In Subproject E, we are investigating how norms, for example, of health and disease, and procedural principles, such as consent and control, are challenged by new sensor-based predictions.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© SFB EmpkinS

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Matthias Braun

CwiC. Coping with Certaintity

Duration: 2020–2023
Funder: German Ministry for research and education
Subproject Ethics

The processes of digitization and the application of artificial intelligence are shaping and changing both health research and medical practice. The speed and depth of intervention of these developments requires consideration of responsible, effective, and difference-sensitive governance.

CwiC is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to narrow the gap between basic normative theory building and applied systems design at the intersection of science, society, and technology. The project is based on a general anthropological and sociological rationale: mutual recognition, which is essential for us as a society and as individuals, is closely linked to our shared uncertainty about the future.

The joint project is funded by the BMBF for three years and consists of a legal (Steffen Augsberg, Gießen), an ethical (Matthias Braun, Bonn) and a behavioral-economic (Nora Szech, Karlsruhe) subproject.


Duration: 2020–2024
Funder: German Ministry of Health
Subproject Ethics

SMART Start focuses on improving and simplifying preventive care for pregnant women. Sensory applications such as fitness trackers and smartwatches are now finding their way into everyday life . The project is investigating how these technologies, as well as data obtained from them, can be used in the context of regular prenatal care. Among other things, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used for this purpose. Not only patients, but also the medical system in general could benefit from this.

The interdisciplinary research project is being conducted jointly by experts from medicine, computer science, ethics, psychology and health economics. The focus is also on clinical usability, social acceptance, compliance of the stakeholders involved, and the further development of sensory techniques as well as associated ethical, medical-legal, and economic issues.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Smart Start
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