Photo:
Kristi Henno

Research activities

The main directions we have taken in our research are:

  • normative ethics;
  • moral and political philosophy of the early modern era;
  • bioethics and medical ethics;
  • environmental ethics;
  • ethics of science and research integrity;
  • ethics of information and communication technologies;
  • values education and values development.

Among questions of theoretical ethics, we have been interested in the sources of normativity and pluralism of values; connections between morals and human nature; moral emotions and moral motivation.

In the area of practical ethics, our main research topics have been

  • questions of informed consent;
  • privacy and security;
  • fairness and trust;
  • the ethical, social, and legal aspects of genetic databases, e-health databases, and the application of biometric technologies.

Through our participation in various international research projects, we have substantially increased our network of cooperation partners, and are engaged in collaborative work with numerous centres in Europe, as well as in the USA and Asia. The international research conferences and seminars organized by the Centre for Ethics have brought renowned scholars to Tartu, and allowed many of those interested in ethics to take part in discussions at a top international level.

Cover photo: Kristi Henno

Current projects

Inspiring and Anchoring Trust in Science, Research and Innovation (IANUS)

Developing values games to be accessible in virtual environment

Responsible Open Science in Europe (ROSiE)

Empowering and educating young people for the internet by playing (RAYUELA)

Horizon 2020 project MEDIADELCOM „Critical Exploration of Media Related Risks and Opportunities for Deliberative Communication: Development Scenarios of the European Media Landscape“. Project coordinator from Estonia is University of Tartu Institute of Social Studies, principal investigator is Prof Halliki Harro-Loit.

Project partners from Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu: Mari-Liisa Parder, Research Fellow in Ethics

Duration: 2021–2024

Funding for the Centre for Ethics: 4500 EUR

A prerequisite for deliberative communication in a modern mediatized society is the ability of news media to provide society with truthful information and to create a forum for the deliberative public, thus helping to solve problems and helping to make decisions that are important to society. The current rise in popularity of far-right and populist forces, especially in the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia), as well as Brexit, shows that the common values and goals of the peoples of Europe are no longer self-evident. The digital revolution has added ways and means of transmitting information, changed people's media consumption, but also created the conditions for disseminating false information and manipulating the public and people. The rapidly changing media environment thus creates both new opportunities and new risks for the deliberative public.

MEDIADELCOM focuses on identifying and comprehensively analysing these opportunities and risks, and on modelling the corresponding development scenarios. Development models provide media policy makers with the tools to make informed decisions that create a favourable media environment for the deliberate public to support democratic values and practices.

Horizon 2020 project A4L_ACTIONS „Alliance for Life Sciences: From Strategies to Actions in Central and Eastern Europe“ . The coordinator of this project is Masarykova Univerzita Czechia. Principal Investigator from University of Tartu is Toivo Maimets; Faculty of Science and Technology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Project partners from Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu: Mari-Liisa Parder, Research Fellow in Ethics

Duration: 2021–2024

Funding for the Centre for Ethics: 6975 EUR

Research and innovation (R&I) play a key role in tackling Europe's societal challenges, including ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens. Despite significant investment, disparities in research and innovation persist between countries. In the health sector, the R&I gap can have a profound impact on the health and quality of life of European citizens. Continuing the success of Alliance4Life, the EU-funded A4L_ACTIONS project aims to reduce the gap between health research and innovation by improving the culture, governance, recognition and innovation potential of health research institutions in lower performing countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This will help increase their attractiveness and pave the way for cooperation with developed European countries.
 

Upcoming projects

Project number: 101094714

Duration: 01.01.2022–31.12.2025

Funding: 311 163 EUR

Lead partner: University of Oslo

Principal inverstigator: Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy Kadri Simm

Ethics and integrity are key dimensions of excellence in research and crucial for public trust in science. BEYOND will reinforce efforts to promote adherence to the highest standards of research ethics and integrity (RE/RI) and prevent research misconduct (RM) by developing and disseminating regulatory and educational interventions that elucidate institutional and individual responsibilities for ensuring and fostering research environments conducive to ethical research. To that end, BEYOND will adopt a complex ecosystemic perspective on research ethics and integrity that recognizes the multiple responsibilities of researchers and other stakeholders to enrich the overly simplistic Bad Apples approach that underpins most existing measures to prevent research misconduct.

BEYOND will EXPLORE the existing literature on behavioural ethics and moral psychology as well as the socio-economic consequences of research misconduct and ENGAGE all involved stakeholders in a public consultation. To GUIDE and EQUIP all stakeholders in the research ecosystem, BEYOND will utilize this knowledge to develop

  1. psychologically informed contextual interventions to promote RE/RI and prevent RM from the perspective of individual and institutional responsibilities;
  2. methodologies to measure the short-, medium- and long-term impact of RE/RI trainings on attitudes and behaviours of students and researchers;
  3. a best practice manual and guidelines to supplement standard operating procedures from a complex research ecosystemic perspective as well as a 2030 roadmap towards improving the RE/RI culture and
  4. new training materials and tools to supplement existing educational efforts.

BEYOND will mobilize all stakeholders via the three thematic networks involved in the consortium (ENRIO, EUREC, The Guild) and the stakeholder advisory board to ensure widespread dissemination of results and facilitate their institutional uptake and embedding.

Past projects

Over the years, Centre for Ethics has participated in multiple research and development projects.

See overview
#research
Lauamäng "Väärtuste avastajad"

Values-oriented dialogical communication supports multicultural classroom

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Kellaosuti näitab sõna "integrity" suunas

The story of the development of the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity was included in a new book by Springer

#research

Horizon Europe Framework project "Inspiring and Anchoring Trust in Science, Research and Innovation"

Horizon Europe Framework programme project "Inspiring and Anchoring Trust in Science, Research and Innovation"