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Foto: Peter Winandy

Prof. Dr. Dr. Rafaela Hillerbrand

Professor for philosophy of science and technology
Room: 416
Phone: +49 721 608-26450
rafaela hillerbrandZma0∂kit edu

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

Professional background

Before joining KIT, Rafaela Hillerbrand worked as an associate professor at TU Delft and was head of the interdisciplinary research group eet-ethics for energy technology at the Human Technology Centre (HumTec) at RWTH Aachen University. In 2011, she had the chance to advise the ethics commission for safe energy supply under Klaus Töpfer's guidance that was set up in reaction to the accidents in Fukushima. From 2006 till 2008 Rafaela hold a position as a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.

Fields of work

  • Philosophy of science, engineering and technology
  • Applied ethics (esp. ethics of the environment, engineering ethics)
  • Risk and uncertainty analysis
  • Philosophy of computer simulations


Rafaela Hillerbrand holds a PhD in theoretical physics and a PhD in philosophy. She graduated with distinction (summa cum laude) in both fields. Her PhD thesis on ethics of technology won the Lilli-Bechmann-Rahn-Preis of the University Erlangen Nürnberg in 2005. Her doctoral dissertation in physics was awarded the Ingrid-zu-Solms Naturwissenschaftspreis 2008.

Current positions (selection)

  • Member HEiKa board of directors (Heidelberg Karlsruhe Research Partnership)
  • Ombudsperson for doctoral students and advisors at KIT
  • Deputy member at Council for Research and Promotion of Young Scientists (CRYS)
  • Field Editor “Energy Efficiency and Ethics” for the Journal of Energy Systems (JES)
  • Member of research board Heinz Nixdorf Gesellschaft
  • Member of research board BAM, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung
  • Member of the Think Tanks of the President of the Helmholtz Foundation

Selected publications outside of ITAS

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

List of publications at ITAS