ELSA research

In an increasing number of technology development and innovation fields, research funding agencies now require accompanying or integrated research on the ethical, legal and social aspects or implications of technologies (ELSA/ELSI: Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects / Implications). Fraunhofer ISI regularly conducts ELSA/ELSI-related research projects.


Decision Support In Routine and Emergency Health Care (DESIREE)

The use of digital decision-support systems in the healthcare sector is accompanied by diverse ethical and social challenges. The objective of this joint project is to explore key aspects of digital decision support based on three example case studies – nephrology, surgery and nursing – and to generate general insights into the ethically and socially responsible development, use and management of such systems in the healthcare sector.


SPARTA is one of the pilot projects for the future institutions of European cybersecurity. Fraunhofer ISI is primarily responsible for accompanying the technical work, and ensuring that this considers the relevant legal framework conditions, deals with the problems and conflicting interests in an ethically sound manner, and leads to solutions that have a high degree of societal readiness.

Integrated research: A critical analysis and practical exchange using the example of the research field human-technology interaction (INTEGRAM)

Recently, there have been increasing calls that research on the ethical, legal, social and economic aspects of emerging technologies should be integrated into concrete technology development projects from the outset rather than just being the subject of accompanying research. The joint project INTEGRAM researches the possibilities and limits of such integration, develops a concept to implement integrated technology development in practice, and brings this topic to the attention of the relevant science communities.

Wissenstransfer 2.0 – Quantified Self

»Quantified Self« is the name of an international movement of people who use smartphone apps and sensors to permanently collect and analyze data about their own bodies and lifestyles in order to gain insights, especially into their health. As part of the joint »Wissenstransfer 2.0« project, the sub-project »Quantified Self« conducts exploratory research on the knowledge emerging as part of the quantified-self movement and its transformative potential for health and life sciences. It assesses the potentials and risks of digital self-tracking and quantified self, and develops options for action for politics, science and medicine. 

Evaluation of the funding instrument of discourse projects on ethical, legal and social issues in modern life sciences

Between 2004 and 2021, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded discourse projects with the aim of fostering the social discourse of ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) in the field of life sciences. In cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Studies from Vienna, Fraunhofer ISI evaluated these discourse projects with regard to their visibility and effects.