Foto: Peter Winandy

Prof. Dr. Dr. Rafaela Hillerbrand

  • Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)
    Postfach 3640
    76021 Karlsruhe

Current positions

Fields of work

  • Philosophy of technology and science, philosophy of engineering sciences
  • Ethics of technology and the environment, especially ethical aspects of energy supply and use (electricity, mobility, heat), sustainability
  • Epistemic and ethical aspects of risks and uncertainties
  • Computer simulations and AI

On the internet

Author IDs:

Social networks:
Twitter: ∂ARRTI_KIT / ∂RafaelaHillerbr

Prizes and awards (selection)

  • Full member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) since 2020
  • Delft Technology Fellowship, 2012-2015
  • Member of the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina 2009-2014
  • Natural Science Award 2008 of the Ingrid-zu-Solms-Stiftung
  • PhD Scholarship of the University of Münster, 2006
  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2002-2005
  • Dr. Heinz-Dürr Scholarship, Zeiss Foundation & Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2005
  • Lilli-Bechmann-Rahn Prize, 2005

Committees and memberships (selection)

  • German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
  • Think Tanks of the President of the Helmholtz Association
  • Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Board of Trustees
  • Heinz Nixdorf Society, Board of Trustees
  • Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), Board of Directors
  • HEiKA (Heidelberg Karlsruhe Strategic Partnership), Board of Directors
  • "PlastikBudget - Development of budget approach and LCA impact assessment methodology for the governance of plastics in the environment", Advisory Board
  • Professional Associations:
    • Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)
    • Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI)
    • Koninklijk Instituut van Ingenieurs, Royal Dutch Society for Engineers (KIVI NIRIA), until 2017.
    • Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie (GWP)
    • Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie (GAP)
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Philosophie (DGPhil)

Other functions

  • 2015 - 2021 Ombudsperson for PhD students and KIT supervisors.
  • Council for Research and Promotion of Young Scientists (CRYS), KIT, deputy member
  • Structural Commission TUM, member since 2020
  • Scientific advisory board in journals:
  • Reviewer for, among others:
    • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
    • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique Brussels (F.R.S-FNRS)
  • Reviewer for various journals, including:
    • Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science
    • Ethics and Technology
    • Climatic Change
    • Science and Engineering Ethics
    • Knowledge Management Research & Practice
    • International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    • Studia Philosophica Estonica
    • GAIA
  • Program Committees (selection): SPT2017, fpet 2017, GWP 2016, EPSA 2013, Democracy, Legality and Policy, Tilburg 2012, Philosophy of Robotics, TUM 2011
  • Selection committees: Lead Market Competition Energy & Environmental Economy.NRW 2017; Klima.Expo NRW, Review committe 2014-2018

Professional background

since 2015Professor at KIT for Philosophy of Science, Assessment of Complex Forms of Knowledge
2015 - 2016Head of the Institute of Philosophy (today part of the ITZ), KIT
2013 - 2015Member of the Management Team 4TU. Center Ethics for Technology
2013 - 2014Member of the Section Board "Philosophy and Technology" of KIVI NIRIA (Koninklijk Instituut van Ingenieurs, Royal Dutch Society for Engineers)
2012 - 2015Professor at the TU Delft
2010 - 2011Speaker and member of the board of directors of the Junge Akademie at the BBAW and the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
2010Substitute Professorship Philosophy of Technology, University of Stuttgart
2009 - 2012Professor at RWTH Aachen University, head of the research group eet-ethics for energy technology at the Human Technology Centre (HumTec), a project of the Excellence Initiative
2009 - 2012Member of the steering group HumTec, RWTH
2007Dr. rer. nat., summa cum laude, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, theoretical physics
2006 - 2008Senior Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford
2005 - 2006Visiting Scientist at the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Nice, France
2003 / 2004University of Münster, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Research associate
2003Dr. phil., Summa cum laude, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen, Philosophy
until 2001Studies of Physics (Diplom) & Philosophy (Magister), University of Erlangen & University of Liverpool, Minors Diplom: Chemistry & Fluid Mechanics (Chemical Engineering), Minor Magister: Political Science

Selected publications

Hillerbrand, R.; Roeser, S.
Towards a Third ‘Practice Turn’: An Inclusive and Empirically Informed Perspective on Risk. In: Franssen, M., Vermaas, P. Kroes, P., Meijers. A.: Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn, Springer, 2016

Hillerbrand, R.; Roeser, S.; Peterson, M.; Sandin, P.
Handbook of Risk Theory. Epistemology, Decision Theory, Ethics and Social Implications of Risk. Springer, 2012

Hillerbrand, R.; Roeser, S.; Peterson, M.; Sandin, P.
Essentials of risk theory. Springer, 2013

Hillerbrand, R.; Reitinger, C.; Dumke, M.; Barosevcic, M.
A conceptual framework for impact assessment within SLCA. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 16(4), 380-388, 2011

Hillerbrand, R.
Order out of Chaos? A Case Study in High Energy Physics. Studia Philosophica Estonica 5(2), 61-78, 2012

Hillerbrand, R.
On non-propositional aspects in modeling complex systems. Analyse & Kritik 32, 107-120, 2010

List of publications outside of ITAS


Book Chapters
Grunwald, A.; Hillerbrand, R.
Zum Handbuch.
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 13–15, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_2
Grunwald, A.; Hillerbrand, R.
Überblick über die Technikethik.
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 3–12, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_1
Hillerbrand, R.
Value Sensitive Design.
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 466–471, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_89
Hillerbrand, R.; Dickel, S.
Additive Verfahren (3D-Druck).
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 300–304, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_57
Hillerbrand, R.; Poznic, M.
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 165–170, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_32
Schippl, J.; Hillerbrand, R.
Automatisiertes Fahren.
2021. Handbuch Technikethik. Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 378–382, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8_72
Grunwald, A.; Hillerbrand, R. (Eds.).
Handbuch Technikethik.
2021. J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04901-8
Hillerbrand, R.
Ethics in the Lab: A Workshop for Junior Scientists on How to Address Moral Challenges of Their Work.
2021. Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) (2021), Online, March 16, 2021 
Hillerbrand, R.
Unsicheres Wissen. Was tun?.
2021. Ringvorlesung (ARRTI Frühstücksvorlesung): Wieviel Unsicherheit verträgt die Gesellschaft? (2021), Online, January 12–February 16, 2021 
Hillerbrand, R.
Philosophische Betrachtungen zur Energiewende. Chancen, Risiken, Unsicherheiten und Notwendigkeit von Energiespeichern.
2021. Treffen des Arbeitskreises Grundlagen der acatech (2021), Online, June 9, 2021 
Hillerbrand, R.; Eckert, C.; Stacey, M.; Poznic, M.
Engineering design ethics is an epistemological problem.
2021. 14th International Workshop on Design Theory - Special Interest Group of the Design Society (2021), Online, January 25–26, 2021 
Sebastian Hallensleben; Fetic, L.; Fleischer, T.; Grünke; Hagendorff, T.; Hauer, M.; Hauschke, A.; Heesen, J.; Herrmann, M.; Hillerbrand, R.; Hubig, C.; Kaminski, A.; Krafft, T.; Loh, W.; Otto, P.; Puntschuh, M.; Hustedt, C.
From Principles to Practice : An interdisciplinary framework to operationalise AI ethics.
2020. Bertelsmann Stiftung 
Di Fabio, U.; Hillerbrand, R.
Automatisierte Systeme und Künstliche Intelligenz. Untergräbt die digitale Entwicklung unsere ethischen und verfassungsrechtlichen Fundamente?.
2020. ARRTI Kickoff-Meeting - Automatisierte Systeme und Künstliche Intelligenz : Untergräbt die digitale Entwicklung unsere ethischen und verfassungsrechtlichen Fundamente? (2020), Online, October 29, 2020 
Eckert, C.; Hillerbrand, R.
Designers as truth makers.
2020. 13th SIG Design Theory Paris Workshop (2020), Paris, France, January 27–28, 2020 
Frigo, G.; Hillerbrand, R.
The Right to Energy Access and the Capabilities Approach.
2020. International Engager Workshop "Co-Creating the ’Right to Energy’ in Theory and Practice", Universität Groningen, Niederlande, 08.-09.01.2020 (2020), Groningen / Girona, January 8–9, 2020 
Hillerbrand, R.
Philosophische Betrachtungen der Energiewende: Chancen, Risiken und Unsicherheiten der Digitalisierung.
2020. Frühjahrsakademie Universität Ulm (2020), Ulm, Germany, March 26, 2020 
Funke, J.; Weidemüller, M.; Hillerbrand, R.
Prof. Dr. Bauchgefühl. Wissenschaft zwischen Intelligenz und Intuition.
2019. Prof. Dr. Bauchgefühl, Geist Heidelberg, Im Dialog (2019), Heidelberg, Germany, December 8, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.
Steht sich der IPCC selber im Wege? Von den Grenzen der Kommunikation wissenschaftlicher Unsicherheiten.
2019. Universität Mannheim (2019), Mannheim, Germany, October 8, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.
Uncertainty Communication in Climate Modeling.
2019. ZiF Cooperation Group Breaking Confines: Interdisciplinary Model-Building for a Complex World (BreaCon 2019), Bielefeld, Germany, November 13–15, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.
Philosophische Perspektiven auf die Energiewende: Chancen, Unsicherheiten, und die Notwendigkeit von Energiespeichern.
2019. KIT Colloquium Fundamentale: Batterien der Zukunft (2019), Karlsruhe, Germany, October 17, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.
The Role of Scientific Models as Mediators between Theory and Experiment.
2019. Interdisciplinary Symposium: Chemical concepts and Quantum Chemistry (2019), Heidelberg, Germany, November 18–20, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.; Fleischer, T.
Verändern automatisierte Autos unsere Mobilität?.
2019. Effektvoll am KIT. Tag der offenen Tür (2019), Karlsruhe, Germany, June 29, 2019 
Hillerbrand, R.; Poznic, M.; Eckert, C.; Stacey, M.
Uncertainties and Games of Make-Believe.
2019. 12th SIG Design Theory Paris Workshop (2019), Paris, France, January 28–29, 2019 
Book Chapters
Hillerbrand, R.
Shaping our Energy Furure: The irreducible entanglement of the ethical, social, and technical realms.
2018. Energy as a Sociotechnical Problem. An Interdiciplinary Perspectice on Control, Change and Action in Energy Transitions. Ed.: C. Büscher, 200–220, Routledge 
Hillerbrand, R.
Nachhaltigkeit: Was die Energiewende mit dem guten Leben zu tun hat.
2018. Studium Generale an der Hochschule Pforzheim (2018), Pforzheim, Germany, October 17, 2018 
Hillerbrand, R.
Do Computer Simulations Change the Way We Understand the World? On epistemological aspect of computer simulations.
2018. Kolloquium / Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaft, Philosophie und Theologie, Universität Bielefeld (2018), Bielefeld, Germany, December 4, 2018 
Hillerbrand, R.
Alles fake. Unsicheres Wissen. Vortrag aus philosophischer Sichtweise.
2018. 7. BfR-Stakeholderkonferenz: "Alles Fake? Wissenschaft im Zeitalter der vielen Wahrheiten" (2018), Berlin, Germany, November 15, 2018 
Hillerbrand, R.
Freiheit und Objektivität der Forschung - Wissenschaft im postfaktischen Zeitalter.
2018, March 6. Vortragsreihe “Vom Reiz des Wissens - Wissenschaft und Erkenntnis” (2018), Nuremberg, Germany, March 6, 2018 
Poznic, M.; Eckert, C.; Hillerbrand, R.; Stacey, M.
Jet engines, design teams and the imagination: Designing as playing games of make-believe.
2018. Forum on Philosophy, Engineering and Technology (fPET), College Park, MD, May 30 - June 1, 2018 
Poznic, M.; Eckert, C.; Hillerbrand, R.; Stacey, M.
Designing as playing games of make-believe.
2018. 11th SIG Design Theory Paris Workshop (2018), Paris, France, January 29–30, 2018 
Journal Articles
Hillerbrand, R.
Mensch und Technik. Wer beherrscht wen?.
2017. Die politische Meinung, 62 (546), 25–30 
Conference Papers
Hillerbrand, R.; Goldammer, K.
Energietechnik und ein gutes Leben: ein Plädoyer für einen neuen Energiediskurs.
2017. Technologischer Fortschritt und gutes Leben, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut 
Hillerbrand, R.
Towards a values sensitive design of energy transitions. Technology and human wellbeing.
2017. VTI (Values Technology Innovations) Research Day, Delft, NL, October 30, 2017 
Hillerbrand, R.
Who is the expert? Or how the IPPC is its own worst enemy.
2017. Workshop ’Group Decision Making in Scientific Expert Committees, Tilburg University, NL, April 13, 2017 
Book Chapters
Hillerbrand, R.
2016. Handbuch Handlungstheorie. Ed.: M. Kühler, 359–370, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-05359-6_41
Hillerbrand, R.
Von einer dritten empirischen Wende in der Technikethik. Ein Plädoyer für ein Mehr an Technikethik in der Ingenieurausbildung.
2016. Zur Zukunft der Bereichsethiken – Herausforderungen durch die Ökonomisierung der Welt. Hrsg.: M. Maring, 317–331, KIT Scientific Publishing 
Hillerbrand, R.; Roeser, S.
Towards a Third ‘Practice Turn’: An Inclusive and Empirically Informed Perspective on Risk.
2016. Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn. Ed.: M. Franseen, 145–166, Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-33717-3_9
Hillerbrand, R.
Simulierte Wissenschaft oder Erkenntniswerkzeug? Ein philosophischer Blick auf Computersimulationen.
2016. Kolloquium ’Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung’ der Bergischen Universität Wuppertal, 2.Mai 2016 
Hillerbrand, R.
Ethisch-filosofisch perspectief op duurzame energie.
2016. Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers, Utrecht, NL, June 8, 2016 
Hillerbrand, R.
Unscientific because it is uncertain? Scientific because it is uncertain! A philosophical perspective on climate models.
2016. Fronteirs of Science, Technology, and Philosophy, München, January 19, 2016 
Hillerbrand, R.; Hagenmeyer, V.; Doppelbauer, M.
How will technology effect our mobile future, digitization, and energy transition?.
2016. 2016 KIT Annual Celebration: Energy, Mobility, and Information in the Focus of Research – Knowledge for Society and the Environment – Hanselka on KIT 2025: Full Use of Synergy Potentials (2016), Karlsruhe, Germany, April 15, 2016 
Book Chapters
Hillerbrand, R.
The role of nuclear energy in the future energy landscape energy scenarios, nuclear energy, and sustainability.
2015. Taebi, B. [Hrsg.] The Ethics of Nuclear Energy : Risk, Justice, and Democracy in the post-Fukushima Era Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2015, 231–249 
Hillerbrand, R.
Explanation via micro-reduction: on the role of scale separation for quantitative modelling.
2015. Why more is different : Philosophical issues in condensed matter physics and complex systems. Hrsg.: B. Falkenburg, 69–87, Springer Verlag 
Roeser, S.; Fahlquist, J. N.; Hillerbrand, R.
2015. Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics. Ed.: H. ten Have, ten Have, H. [Hrsg.] Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics Dordrecht : Springer Science and Business Media, 2015 e-ISBN 978-3-319-05544-2, Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-05544-2_388-1
Journal Articles
Brook, B. W.; Edney, K.; Hillerbrand, R.; Karlsson, R.; Symons, J.
Energy research within the UNFCCC: a proposal to guard against ongoing climate-deadlock.
2015. Climate policy, 16 (6), 803–813. doi:10.1080/14693062.2015.1037820
Hillerbrand, R.
Technologie und ihre gesellschaftliche Grundlage.
2015. Konferenz “Technologischer Fortschritt und gutes Leben” am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Institut (KWI) (2015), Essen, Germany, November 19–20, 2015 
Hillerbrand, R.
Risk theory: models and current developments.
2015. FRIAS Junior Researcher Conference “New philosophical perspectives on surveillancecontrol: Beyond the privacy versus security debate” (2015), Freiburg, Germany, November 5–6, 2015 
Hillerbrand, R.
Ethisch-filosofisch perspectief op duurzame energie.
2015. Vereniging voor Wijsbegeerte, Den Haag, NL,21.April 2015