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Engineering Life

Engineering Life
Project team:

Heil, Reinhard (Project leader); Christopher Coenen, Christian Büscher, Armin Grunwald, Leonhard Hennen, Harald König


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Projektträger: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Coordination), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover

Research group:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

The project Engineering Life is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and was launched in October 2010. The project aims to reflect on the ethical, broader philosophical and theological relevance of the emerging field of synthetic biology and to analyse its opportunities and risks. Furthermore, it will assess whether the legal framework in Germany is able to deal adequately with the potential risks of synthetic biology.

The project is coordinated by the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine at Freiburg University. Other ITAS project partners are the Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS) at Freiburg University, the Faculty of Theology at Marburg University and Hanover Medical School.

Within the Engineering Life project, ITAS is responsible for one of five subprojects. In its subproject, ITAS will analyse and assess the potential social benefits and risks of synthetic biology (including environmental, health, safety, security and socioeconomic aspects) as well as the various expectations and visions shaping the field ('vision assessment') and its knowledge politics. The results of the subproject will be useful when it comes to governance of synthetic biology and will also help to deal with the field's ethical, legal and broader societal implications.

This project is part of the activities of ITAS in the field of SynBio. The web site of this project you can find here.



Dipl.-Pol. Christopher Coenen
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24559