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Institutionen för informationsteknologi

Ethics of technology and science

This, the mandatory part of the course, gives the required 2 credit points in ethics for TekNat PhD-students.
There will also be an opportunity for an optional part that focuses on theory and practice on technology and natural science ethics.

Start date: Oct 1st 2020, 10.15-12.00 All education will be held on a distance using Zoom. Zoom links will be sent out before the sessions.
ECTS credits: 2
Course period: 2020 - 2021
Maximum number of participants: 30
Applications: http://www.teknat.uu.se/education/postgraduate/courses/; or contact Susanne Paul;

Target group/s and recommended background: PhD students from all the disciplines of TekNat. No special prerequisities.

Teachers: Iordanis Kavathatzopoulos, Per Fors & Thomas Lennerfors
Administrator: Anders Persson

Aim of course

Research within technology and science, but also implementations in for example ICT, manufacturing, environment, chemistry, energy and biology, affects individuals, organizations and societies. Progress within technology and science creates new possibilities and gives rise to new ethical issues. How these issues are treated has a decisive effect on the effectiveness, sustainability and usability of the implementations. To not consider ethics might lead to that expensive and necessary implementations are used in a sub-optimal way, that people and organizations are affected negatively when the technology is implemented, and that the workplace environment of the users and their quality of life is worsened.

To be able to address ethical aspects that influence the efficiency and effectiveness of the implementations, it is important to have knowledge and skills to work with ethical issues and tools, already under the phases of research and development. It is as important to be able to use suitable ethical tools during implementation and use phases. The course should be common to the faculty since ethical issues have a similar nature across specific areas of research. However, the differing experiences of participants from different disciplines will contribute to a broad range of examples which enhances learning for all participants.

Mandatory and optional parts

The first mandatory part, 2 credit points, focuses mainly on research ethics, and works as an introduction to the follow-up optional part.

This first mandatory part of the course will be followed by a second optional part, usually held in the spring term, of 3 credit points. This second course expands to philosophical theory, technology and natural science ethics, and to application of different methods to handle professional ethical issues. Participation in the first mandatory part is a requirement for the second.

Contents, study format and form of examination

The course consists of one lecture, one discussion class on ethical theory, and two seminars.
Treatment of real-life research ethics conflicts and problems by using tools to exercise ethical competence.

Schedule and Program

Time, room Subject Presenter Literature, links, etc.
1 Oct, 10-12 Ethical Thinking Iordanis Slides to be uploaded. Apologia Sokratous; Should I save the life of the calf or should I avoid hurting myself? (4:55-5:45)
8 Oct, 10-12 Introduction and Responsibility Per Discussion class about Responsibility, see preparation instructions below. Good research practice, ch 1-2; Ethics in engineering, ch 4, will be sent out as pdf. SLIDES
15 Oct, 9-12 Seminar I: General research ethics Group seminar, Per See instructions below for seminar. See literature references above for: VR, ICSU, CUDOS and CODEX. GROUP SEMINAR SLIDES: Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6
22 Oct, 9-12 Zoom Meeting https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/65189795906 Seminar II: Field-specific research ethics & AM tool Group seminar, Iordanis See instructions below for seminar. Note: all groups need their own computer for the presentation. GROUP SEMINAR SLIDES: Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6

Discussion class about Responsibility, Session 2

To prepare individually before the class

The second half of this class will concern the concept of responsibility. Read 4 in the book Ethics in Engineering (by Thomas Taro Lennerfors), that will be mailed out, as well as chapter 1-2 in Good Research Practice. The book Engineering Ethics primarily concern the ethics of engineering but the theoretical arguments are also applicable to research in science and technology.

Write an individual reflection (free text) of 200-300 words that, with clear references to both Ethics in Engineering (ch. 4) and Good Research Practice (ch. 1-2) as well as your own thoughts and experiences, answers some of the questions: (1) What are the responsibilities of researchers in technology and natural sciences? (2) Do we, as researchers, avoid responsibility by means of rationalizations or other forms of avoidance, and in that case how? (3) Should we, as researchers, try to take more responsibility, and in that case how and regarding what?

Send the reflection to Per Fors by Oct 6th 23.59.


Seminar I: General research ethics.
In this seminar, you will learn more about general research ethics as discussed in Good research practice. Each group will focus on one chapter, and the idea is to first read and understand this chapter, and second to communicate the core message of the chapter to the rest of the class through a presentation. The focus should be on the rules or guidelines presented in the chapter. The presentation should be structured as follows:

The first part (max 5 minutes) of your presentation should be a general overview of the chapter and any central concepts or ideas presented in it. For the second part (10-15 minutes), the group is expected not to just report the content of the chapter, but should illustrate and discuss the rules and guidelines, perhaps by providing illustrative examples and cases, which go beyond what is written in the chapter, preferably even involving the rest of the students into the discussion. The form of the presentation is open, and we encourage each group to be creative and think about the best pedagogical strategies to discuss the topic, for example:

1) Prepare an ethical dilemma and present it as a role-play. What rules or guidelines do the actors draw on to solve the dilemma?
2) Focus on the rules or guidelines from your chapter. Present an analysis based on one or more ethical theories or concepts. Are there synergies or trade-offs among them?
3) Prepare up to 3 discussion questions related to your chapter’s theme, and moderate a class discussion based on them. Make sure to not only prepare good questions, but also to have a plan with the discussion (critically reflect on the rules or guidelines, for example).
4) ... Another creative way of communicating the core content of your chapter.

Each group will have 15-20 minutes for presentation. To prepare, hand in presentation slides, or written notes of sort if your session is not a presentation. Please send them to both the teacher of the session, Per per.fors@angstrom.uu.se, and admin Anders (anders.persson@it.uu.se) before the seminar.

Deadline Seminar I: Oct 13th 23.59

Seminar II: Field specific research ethics.
You identify a moral problem that you feel is important and relevant for your area of research activity. For example a moral problem related to privacy, environment, application of research findings, intellectual property, human life, using of laboratory animals, security, impact on society.
Each group chooses any ethical problem related to their areas of research. Describe the problem, identify the problem owner and state the problem, often including a moral dilemma, as a question that has more than one answer. Use the Autonomy Matrix method (AM.pdf) to analyze the problem. Prepare your group presentation based on this analysis.

Use any problem that feels important to you. If you have a real problem it is much better. Each group chooses any ethical problem related to their special area of research.
The analysis should help you to reach the best possible solution to your problem.

For this seminar you need to prepare a ten-minute presentation and a corresponding number of slides, that all participants should collaboratively present, and after each presentation there will be a class discussion; starting with a reviewer group, followed by an open floor. See instructions below.

Reviewing in Seminar II
Each group are encouraged to check all groups presentations before the seminar, but you are especially assigned to one group to be opponent/reviewer of to start of each discussion. You will review the group below your own, so Group 1 reviews Group 2 and so forth to Group 6 reviewing Group 1.

The review should try to stimulate a discussion, for both class and group: it does not have to be detailed and a broad review of all aspects, nor necessarily criticize the groups arguments (but that can be a good way to stimulate discussion, too). But try to be critical in the sense of stimulating reflection and discussion. Keep in mind that the presentation and discussion is only about 20 minutes in total, by presenter, reviewer group and class.

To make reviewing possible: send in your slides two days before the seminar. To The group that will review you (Group 1 reviews group 2 etc), as well as to the teacher Iordanis (iordanis@it.uu.se), and admin Anders (anders.persson@it.uu.se). See member lists below.

Deadline Seminar II: Oct 20th 23.59


Active and mandatory participation in all sessions, as well as in the group work, is required.

The individual home exam consists of two exam questions (500 words each) to answer, and a essay question (1000 words) where you more freely will get the opportunity to reflect and apply what you have learned on something from your own PhD situation.

  • Home exam will be mailed out following the last seminar.

Send your home exam and essay to:

Deadline: Nov 8th, 23.59

Would you like to participate in the follow-up optional ethics course? The next Optional course of 3 cp is planned late Fall of 2020. In that case you do not need to submit the exam now as you will have another exam after the end of the optional course. Notify Anders Persson if interested.


The course will be evaluated by the participants and you will be notified by email.

Participants and Groups

Group 1

Seminar I: Chapter 3
Muhammad Hassan hassan.muhammad@it.uu.se
Catia Marques catia.marquessantos@kemi.uu.se
Leonidas Mavroudakis leonidas.mavroudakis@kemi.uu.se
Ahsan Ali Ahsan.ishtiaq1996@gmail.com
Anastasia Golubova anastasia.golubova@kemi.uu.se

Group 2

Seminar I: Chapter 4
Mona Abbasi mona.abbasi@ebc.uu.se
Laura Rojas laura.rojas@icm.uu.se
Kateryna Kukil kateryna.kukil@kemi.uu.se
Ashleigh Castner ashleigh.castner@kemi.uu.se
Heyin Chen heyin.chen@kemi.uu.se

Group 3

Seminar I: Chapter 5
George Donoso george.donoso@geo.uu.se
Magdalena Markovic Juhlin magdalena.markovic@geo.uu.se
Tatiana Pertuz Puentes tatiana.pertuz@geo.uu.se
Andrew Barney andrew.barney@geo.uu.se
Axel Andersson axel.andersson@it.uu.se

Group 4

Seminar I: Chapter 6
Faraz Khavari faraz.khavari@angstrom.uu.se
Evgenii Tikhomirov evengii.tikhomirov@angstrom.uu.se
Rebecka Löfgren rebecka.lofgren@angstrom.uu.se
Yuan Zhu Yuan.Zhu@angstrom.uu.se
Viktor Mattsson viktor.mattsson@angstrom.uu.se

Group 5

Seminar I: Chapter 7
Fredrik Gustafsson fredrik.gustafsson@it.uu.se
Eduardo José Gómez Hernández eduardojose.gomez@um.es
Djurdjija (Durdija) Dzodan djurdjija.dzodan@kemi.uu.se
Tuan Anh Dao tuananh.dao@it.uu.se
Benjamin Weber benjamin.weber@it.uu.se

Group 6

Seminar I: Chapter 8
Yingtao Yu yingtao.yu@angstrom.uu.se
Carlos Rodriguez carlos.rodriguez@physics.uu.se
Louis Richard louis.richard@irfu.se
Joshua Dreyer joshua.dreyer@rymdfysik.uu.se
Richard Aldoumani richard.aldoumani@physics.uu.se

Uppdaterad  2020-10-21 20:33:23 av Iordanis Kavathatzopoulos.