The Ethical Innovation Letter 01/2021

A lightbulb with a plant inside


The Ethical Innovation Hub is a transdisciplinary project joining technology, society and industry in responsible research and innovation. Since 2020, the EIH is driving sustainable innovation originating from ethical considerations. It is a group linked to both the Institute for History in Medicine and Science Studies and the Institute for Electrical Engineering in Medicine. This marks the first round up of the most important things that happened in our group. You are receiving this email because you signed up for the Ethical Innovation Newsletter.

Before reading on, please register for our upcoming event “Maschinen und Moral 2021 – Verantwortungsvolle Technikgestaltung in Forschung, Entwicklung und Lehre” (in German). More about this further below.

Research Projects

A mobile ultrasound device


The winter term at the University of Lübeck is coming to a close. This also marks the first six months in which the Ethical Innovation Hub’s projects came into full swing. On Sep 1st, 2020 Sabrina Breyer and Arne Sonar joined the Hub. Sabrina Breyer is committed to the Responsible Innovation Platform of the large medical AI consortium KI-SIGS. Arne Sonar is researching recommendations for making AI communicative and cooperative in the project CoCoAI–a cooperation of the Engineering Psychology group of Prof. Thomas Franke, Prof. Mattias Heinrich’s Medical Deep Learning group and the company ThinkSono. 

In a further project concerning E-Government,  Robin Preiß is engaging in ethical and societal matters, while dealing with questions of data sovereignty together with Prof. Moreen Heine, Dr. Daniel Wessel, Hansestadt Lübeck and Mach AG.

Innovative Course on the “Ethics of Technology”

A paper team


This winter term has also seen the first run of our innovative new course “ethics of technology” (Technikethik, in German). We are happy to announce that the EIH’s Christian Herzog and TU Eindhoven’s Gunter Bombaerts collaborated successfully to receive funding from the last round of the Stifterverband’s highly competitive program “Fellowships für Innovationen in der Hochschullehre”. It is a mandatory course for student in the “Robotics and Autonomous Systems” program, but it can also be taken by students from a range of other programs. 

In this course, students team up with start-ups from the local Gateway49 accelerator to analyze ethical implications and propose ways ahead. In exchange with the start-ups, the students pick their own challenges, while being introduced to a range of topics from technology ethics. Findings will be on display during this year’s “Machines & Morals” event.

Machines & Morals 2021

A dissolving eye


This year’s event will follow in the footsteps of previous outlets featuring Robert Habeck (“Maschinen und Moral” in Feb 2018) and Jan Philipp Albrecht (“Make Bureaucracy Great Again?!” in Dec 2019). However, due to the ongoing pandemic, “Maschinen und Moral 2021” will be a fully virtual event. We are looking forward to having Prof. Armin Grunwald (Head of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Prof. Karena Kalmbach (Head of Strategy and Content at Futurium, Berlin) join us in discussing responsible ways for technological innovation. 

The event will take place on April 16th from 4 to 6:30 PM. A virtual project gallery will allow you to have a deeper look at the student projects from this term’s “ethics of technology” course. Please register.

Recap and Outlook: The Virtual Ethical Innovation Lecture (VEIL)

A veil


The Ethical Innovation Hub started a lecture series addressing all things tech & ethics. This term we had a list of very prolific speakers, including Wulf Loh from the University of Tübingen, Esther Buchmüller & Beat Vollenwyder from the Swiss Federal Railways, Ansgar Koene of EY and IEEE as well as Thomas Losse-Müller, Fellow at the Hertie School, Berlin and former state secretary of Schleswig-Holstein. Highlights, written reports and recordings of the VEILs are available. 

The summer term will see a range of talks from internationally renowned speakers, including Sandra Wachter from the Oxford Internet Institute, Aidan Peppin from the Ada Lovelace Institute, Andrea Tubella from Umea University, Rob Sparrow from Monash University and Herman Diebel-Fischer from TU Dresden. The upcoming program will be available soon.

New Website

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Last but not least, we are happy to announce that the Ethical Innovation Hub will soon get a new website. We are designing it with more ways of engaging in mind. We want the Hub to be an instrument to connect to the interested public. Therefore, we consider our internet presentation part of what we do: Critically, but constructively reflecting on ethical aspects of technology. The new website will be an invitation to do so, contain more information on our research subjects and activities as well as feature content that may inspire and spark further interest on what ethical innovation is all about. 

Please stay tuned – we are excited about how it will turn out!


Fri, Apr 16th, 2021

Maschinen und Moral 2021 – Verantwortungsvolle Technikgestaltung in Forschung, Entwicklung und Lehre
Panel discussion with Prof. Armin Grunwald (ITAS/KIT) and Prof. Karena Kalmbach (Futurium, Berlin)

Tue, Apr 27th, 2021

Ethics and Quantification: Disentangling a Relationship 
The Virtual Ethical Innovation Lecture with Hermann Diebel-Fischer, TU Dresden

Tue, May 18th, 2021

Contestable Black Boxes: Implementing Transparent Moral Bounds for AI Behaviour
The Virtual Ethical Innovation Lecture with Andrea Tubella, Umea University

Tue, Jul 13th, 2021

Datafication and the boundaries of health
The Virtual Ethical Innovation Lecture with Aidan Peppin, Ada Lovelace Institute

Tue, Jul 27th, 2021

High hopes for ‘Deep Medicine’? AI, Economics, and the Future of Care
The Virtual Ethical Innovation Lecture with Rob Sparrow, Monash University

Do you like this newsletter? Do you have any comments or criticism? Please contact us via

Dr.-Ing. Christian Herzog, M.A.
Dr. Daniela Zetti
Heads of the Ethical Innovation Hub

The Ethical Innovation Hub, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23562 Lübeck, is a research group of both the Institute for the History of Medicine and Science Studies as well as the Institute for Electrical Engineering in Medicine.

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