Committee for the Ethics of Safety- and Security-Relevant Research (KEsF)

Welcome to the website of the Committee for the Ethics of Safety-Related Research at the University of Lübeck. Below you will find general information about the Ethics Committee and the application process.

To schedule a personal consultation, please contact us.


The establishment of the KEsF at the University of Lübeck

On August 4, 2022, the Senate adopted the statute for the Committee for the Ethics of Safety and Security-Relevant Research (KEsF) at the University of Lübeck. It was published on September 23, 2022. According to these statutes, the University of Lübeck establishes a KEsF as a committee of the Senate (§ 1). Its task is to "advise and assess ethical and legal aspects" (§ 2) in cases of safety and security-relevant research undertaken at the University of Lübeck or in which it is involved.

Safety- and security-relevant research

Safety- and security-relevant research refers to research projects that pose "risks to human dignity, life, health, freedom, property, the environment or peaceful coexistence" (§ 5.1). Safety- and security-relevant risks exist in particular in situations of possible "dual use", which is understood to mean the misuse of research results by third parties. Such risks can arise either before a research project is carried out or during its implementation. Risks and uncertainties encompass both the material and psychological aspects of possible damage, i.e., risk perception and the impact on society. Central to the work of the KEsF is also the possible immediacy of a risk and how research may contribute to this.

By setting up a KEsF, the UzL is following the recommendation of the joint committee on the handling of safety- and security-elevant research ("Gemeinsamer Ausschuss zum Umgang mit sicherheitsrelevanter Forschung") of the DFG and the Leopoldina, which is aimed at all research institutions in Germany.

Mode of operation

As stipulated in the statutes, the work of the KEsF consists of assessing research projects on the one hand and raising awareness on the other.

The assessment of research projects is to take place on a voluntary basis. In the future, it is possible that certain research funding bodies (DFG etc.) will require a KEsF vote for the submission of proposals for certain types of research projects. 

Raising awareness is a high priority. It includes not only the public presentation of the problems of dual use and the corresponding security risks of certain research areas, but also the conceptual clarification of a number of relevant security ethics issues. To this end, (a) a lively interaction within the university public regarding the topics of the KEsF is to be promoted and (b) regular university-public workshops on special topics are to be organized. 

Content outlook

Safety issues are likely to arise in the coming years, particularly in the following research areas, which are also represented in Lübeck:

  • Infectious agents (viruses, bacteria)
  • Genetic engineering
  • Robotics and artificial intelligence
  • Digital security: digital media, algorithms, computer viruses
  • Ecological and climate-related (side) effects of technologies


Committee for the Ethics of Safety- and Security-Relevant Research (KEsF) at the Universität zu Lübeck

Ratzeburger Allee 160
23562 Lübeck


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Herzog, M.A.

Deputy Chair

Prof. Dr. phil., dipl. biol. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter


Administrative Support

Susanne Hildebrecht
Tel.: 0451 3101 6209
Mail: susanne(dot)hildebrecht(at)uni-luebeck(dot)de