Summer school ‘Responsibility & Engineers of the Future’


The summer school is organized and hosted by:

Department of Philosophy
School of Technology, Policy and Management
Delft University of Technology

This department is one of the three participants in the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, which is the largest specialized research centre in this area worldwide. In 2006 an international research visitation committee judged the research of the three participating departments to be “excellent” and praised the work of the departments as being innovative and internationally leading. Amongst the recent successes of 3TU.Ethics is the fact that members of the centre have acquired 7 research grants (total value € 3.4 million) from the program ‘Responsible Innovation’ of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). This is almost half of the 15 grants that the program awarded in 2009.

Target audience

Ph.D. students in engineering from the IDEA League universities, so:

  • Delft University of Technology
  • Imperial College London
  • ETH Zurich
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • ParisTech


Medical ethics and legal ethics have been long established fields. However, the subject of ethics is still not a standard element in the curriculum of most engineering schools, despite the fact that there are many examples of engineering disasters and of new technologies raising ethical issues. With this IDEA League Summer School we give PhD students in engineering, graduating from one of the IDEA League universities, the chance to make ethics part of their training. The workshop will challenge the PhD students by presenting and discussing the state of the art in thinking about applied ethics of technology, engineering and applied science. The engineer of the future, in the perspective of the organizers, will be able to contribute to responsible innovation, innovation that takes our moral values into account and integrates them in engineering design. Amongst the subjects discussed will be both responsible innovation and the responsibility of engineers in bringing this about.

The summer school precedes the conference ‘Moral Responsibility, Neuroscience & Engineering’ that will take place in Delft from August 24th-27th. This conference will bring together the best scholars around the world in the field of ethics and responsibility studies. Students attending the summer school do not have to pay the registration fee when they attend the conference and are especially encouraged to attend the special track on “Responsibility in science, technology and engineering”.

The aims of the summer school are:

  1. To introduce the PhD students to the field of ethics and its relation to engineering
  2. To make the PhD students sensitive to ethical questions raised by new technologies
  3. To develop the skills for ethical reasoning of the PhD students
  4. To stimulate critical thinking about the challenging issue of responsibility in engineering


Chairing the summer school will be prof. Jeroen van den Hoven, professor in Moral Philosophy at TU Delft and scientific director of the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. A number of experienced researchers from 3TU.Ethics will give a lecture and work on cases with participants. We are especially pleased to have two distinguished foreign key note speakers that will contribute to this summer school in the Netherlands:

  • Michael Davis, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA
  • Seumas Miller, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Australia
  • Carl Mitcham, Colorado School of Mines, USA


Registration is free for PhD students of the IDEA League Partner Registration (first come, first serve) and included participation in all sessions of the summer school, free participation in the responsibility conference following the summer school, coffee and tea during the sessions and breaks, lunches during the summer school and conference and two dinners.


For the full program of the summer school, please see here.

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