Skip to content

Value Sensitive Innovation: Integrating Ethical Values in the Humanitarian Use of Drones

Researchers Involved

Dr. Ning Wang

PD Dr. Markus Christen

Prof. Dr. Matthew Hunt

Prof. Dr. Thomas Burri

Prof. Dr. Gloria González Fuster

research areas

drones for good
Ethics
innovation
technology

timeframe

2018 - 2021

Value Sensitive Innovation: Integrating Ethical Values in the Humanitarian Use of Drones

In this project, UZH DSI researchers explore the notion of «value sensitive innovation» by investigating how to integrate ethical values in the humanitarian use of drones, in partnership with international organisations and academic institutions around the globe.

This is a highly collaborative and trans-disciplinary project across public, private and academic sectors. Project partners include international organisations, such as World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Médécin Sans Frontières (MSF), and Medair; as well as academic institutions, such as McGill University, University of St. Gallen, and the Free University of Brussels. The project is funded jointly by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

FEAHD

The Framework for the Ethical Assessment of Humanitarian Drones (FEAHD) focuses on a specific problem – how to identify, interpret, and integrate ethical values in the humanitarian use of drones. It aims to create a pragmatic device to aid decision-making for the humanitarian drone community at large, within the broader context of value sensitive innovation. It consists of three levels of considerations, asking different sets of questions to the potential users to provide a value-based decision chain regarding whether to embark upon a drone project, and how to manage drone operations in a responsible and sustainable manner. This set of interconnected resources are different in form and focus, reflecting some key areas identified through a bottom-up approach. They are functionally independent from each other, but can well be used in a coordinated fashion.

Watch video

Research Findings

This webinar series consists of five independent webinars, featuring the key findings of the research project conducted during 2018-2021. In this project, researchers at University of Zurich (Switzerland) and McGill University (Canada) explored how to integrate ethical values in the humanitarian use of drones, in the broader context of value sensitive innovation. The objective of the webinar series is to share insights acquired on this topic, disseminate research outputs to the scientific community and beyond, and facilitate knowledge exchange among stakeholders involved in humanitarian innovation more broadly.

Webinar 1 «Project Overview»

Webinar 2 «Scoping Literature Review»

Webinar 3 «Empirical Study in Nepal»

Webinar 4 «Empirical Study in Malawi»

Webinar 5 «An Ethical Assessment Framework»

Scientific Publications

As the key scientific outputs, researchers involved in this project produced six scientific publications. These include four journal articles about the findings of a scoping literature review, two empirical studies, and an ethical assessment framework; and two conference proceeding papers about the context in which the fieldwork took place, one focusing on mapping drones used in the humanitarian setting, another one focusing on delivery drones used in the development setting.

Ethical Considerations Associated with «Humanitarian Drones» A Scoping Literature Review

«As It Is Africa, It Is Ok?» Ethical Considerations of Development Use of Drones for Delivery in Malawi

«Killing Two Birds with One Stone?» A Case Study of Development Use of Drones

«We Live on Hope…» Ethical Considerations of Humanitarian Use of Drones in Post-Disaster Nepal

«A Success Story that Can Be Sold?» A Case Study of Humanitarian Use of Drones