Research Statement

4TU.Ethics has a number of long-term research goals, as well as several medium-term research objectives. While several medium-term programmes incorporate the themes and objectives of the departmental programmes, the Centre also funds and supports additional themes and initiatives separately. These take the shape of inter-university task forces.

Long-Term Research Goals

  1. To make advancements in fundamental research in the ethics of technology.
  2. To make advancements in ethical research with a focus on professional engineering, engineering design, and technology development, with the intent to understand ethical issues pertaining to these domains and to contribute to better practices in them.
  3. To make advancements in ethical research with a focus on technology policy and governance, with a focus on understanding how ethical considerations relate to and can help direct (public) policy for the development and use of technology.
  4. To make advancements in ethical research with a focus on the implementation and use of technology in society, including studies that consider ethical issues in the implementation of technological artifacts and systems in public and private sector organisations, in the use of technology by individual users and by society at large, and including the use of technology as a tool for solving social and environmental problems.

Centre-supported research themes (2014-2018)

The Centre supports inter-university research groups that combine the expertise of the three participating departments. These task forces collaborate on a particular topic that is promising in terms of its intellectual challenges, societal relevance and funding prospects. 4TU.Ethics currently includes the following four task forces:



Can robots meaningfully replace humans or become faithful companions?

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Energy and Sustainability

How to meet the needs of our society without compromising the rights of future generations?

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Risk, Safety and Security

How to balance technological achievements and ethical values like privacy, autonomy and justice?

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Medical Technology

How can we use technology to develop balanced situations of autonomy, trust, and distributed responsibilities?

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Departmental research themes (2014-2018)

In addition to the Centre-supported research themes, there are departmental research themes derived from the research programmes of the departments participating in the Centre:

  • Conditions for the Realisation of Responsible Research and Innovation (TUD, TUE, UT)
  • The Ethics and Governance of Energy and Sustainability (TUD, TUE, UT)
  • The Relationship between Technology and Values (UT, TUD, TUE)
  • The Role of Technology in Human Well-Being and Flourishing (TUE, UT)
  • Risk, Uncertainty, and Technology (TUD, TUE)
  • Human Control, Acceptance and Trust in (Autonomous) Technology (TUD, TUE)
  • Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Governance and Decision-Making Regarding
  • Technology (TUD)
  • Conceptualising and Evaluating the Relations between Humans and Technologies and their Social and Cultural Implications (UT)

For an overview of past and present research projects, click here.