In order to sensitise students to the ethical dimensions of security-relevant research at an early stage, higher education institutes and universities should incorporate the topic in their teaching and in the curricula of all relevant courses of study.
A three-stage procedure is suitable for this: 1. Bachelor’s degree courses could include interdisciplinary security-relevant aspects of research in general lectures on “good scientific practice” and on basic issues of ethics in science.
2. Masters’ degree courses could then include seminars on the specific ethical and security-relevant aspects of their own subject, both on the theoretical level and using case studies.
3. PhD students, in particular, as well as postgraduates and staff involved in research could additionally be instructed on the specific risks of their research in group seminars, further training measures, summer schools or graduate schools. However, it is equally useful to understand the ethical aspects of research and the special responsibility of researchers as a necessary integrative component of all subject-related teaching.
Teaching material and good practice examples
Kiel University: “Forschungsethik: Verantwortungsvolle Forschung und Innovation. Ein Workshop aus dem Programm für neuberufene Professor*innen” since 2019 program for scientific further education
University of Potsdam: seminar “Forschungsethik” (resarch ethics) in winter semester 2019/20 at the departement Philosophy
Technical University of Dortmund: mandatory module on ethics in its masters’ degree programmes in bioengineering and chemical engineering
Hamburg University of Technology: Non-technical supplementary courses for bachelor and master students in various disciplines, e.g. “Verantwortungsvolles Handeln in Technik und Wissenschaft” (responsible action in technology and science), “Ethik für Ingenieure” (ethics for engineers), “Ethik und Wissenschaft” (ethics and research) and “Technikfolgenabschätzung (TFA) und Technikgeneseforschung” (Technology assessment and technology genesis research)
Universität Würzburg: seminar “Rechtliche und ethische Aspekte in den Biowissenschaften” (legal and ethical aspects in the life sciences) at the departement for biology in summer semester 2020
Technical University of Munich: seminar “Ethik für Nerds” (ethic for nerds) at the departement for informatik in winter semester 2019/20