As with every journey into a new scientific field, the route to the destination is as yet unknown. Careful guidance, evaluation and regulation can be valuable tools allowing for the voyage to continue safely. NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering acknowledges the philosophical challenges that may arise during the course of its scientific endeavour and has integrated a permanent ethics focus into the research project.

Ethics in the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering is dedicated to an integrative approach. It:

a) serves as an advisory tool and supports individual project researchers whenever necessary;

b) promotes interdisciplinarity within the scientific moral discourse;

c) encourages the non-scientific community to engage actively in all related controversial issues of moral relevance.

Accordingly, a transdisciplinary approach bridging the gap between the different representatives of all science disciplines involved and the community is a pivotal task of the molecular systems engineering ethics. Only a common language - spoken and understood by each stakeholder - can guarantee communication on par.

Ethics on Site

Ethics on Site is our seminar for PhD students and postdocs that are members of NCCR MSE. The seminar is offered once a year. > Read more

Ethics Think Tank

The NCCR MSE has teamed up with the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) in Rome to build a think tank focusing on the ethical challenges of synthetic biology and molecular systems engineering. > Read more

Art of Molecule

With "Art of Molecule", Ethics for this NCCR provides a communications module by means of which an important group of society – artists and those interested in the arts - can question, analyze, criticize, interpret and ultimately help to shape the development of molecular factories. > Read more


R. Heidari, B. Elger, R. Stutzki "On the Brink of Shifting Paradigms, Molecular Systems Engineering Ethics Needs to Take a Proactive Approach" Chimia 2016, 70(6):449-454. DOI

"Wissensorte. Eine Publikation als Ausstellung" Master of Arts in Transdisziplinarität, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste 2018, ISBN: 978-3-9524741-6-7 PDF


Ralf Stutzki, Head Ethics