The following list is limited to the essential and purely research-related third-party funded projects of the chair.
Ongoing third-party funded projects
Project management: Prof. Dr. Dr. Eva Winkler, NCT Heidelberg and Prof. Dr. Ralf Müller-Terpitz, Chair of Public Law, Law of Economic Regulation and Media University of Mannheim
The aim of NEW_LIVES is to assess genomic newborn screening programs in terms of legal implications, values, ethics and society. Newborn screening is used to detect and treat diseases at an early stage and thus save lives. Currently, newborns in Germany are screened for 19 diseases. Through advances in genomic and genetic research, it is now possible to detect many more diseases and risks for diseases as well as predispositions through screening. However, the introduction of genome analysis in newborn screening is associated with numerous challenges: medical, but also ethical, legal, social and psychological. Above all, the well-being of the child, the family and public health play a role. The project is funded by the BMBF for a period of three years with a total of approximately 1.2 million euros. Subproject 1 at the University of Heidelberg involves the fields of translational medical ethics, medical psychology, human genetics, and pediatric and adolescent medicine. Subproject 2 of the University of Mannheim is concerned with the legal framework.
The research focus of the project “Comparative Assessment of Genome and Epigenome Editing in Medicine: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications 2.0” (COMPASS-ELSI 2.0) builds on the results of the COMPASS-ELSI 1.0 project and addresses new legal and ethical questions that have arisen from the research work of the first funding period. One of the central findings of the previous gene technology comparison was that epigenome editing could open up exclusive therapeutic intervention options in medicine and, in part, represent a less invasive and lower-risk therapeutic alternative compared to genome editing.
Taking into account fundamental rights and constitutional guard rails, COMPASS-ELSI 2.0 will therefore first legally evaluate and, if necessary, readjust the concept of disease with regard to therapeutic and non-therapeutic application scenarios of editing procedures. In addition, existing regulatory recommendations on editing procedures will be critically evaluated and, if necessary, modified.
Technical advances in CRISPR/
As part of the interdisciplinary project “Digitization in Dialog” (digilog@bw), scientists from various institutions (gesis, IDS, IWM, IZEW, KIT, University of Mannheim, University of Tübingen, ZEW, ZKM) identify the challenges of digitization and attempt to find interdisciplinary answers to them. Within the framework of various formats such as exhibitions, workshops, etc., regular exchange with the public is also sought.
Completed third-party funded projects
The interdisciplinary research training group “Privatheit” [Link: www.privatheit.uni-passau.de] set itself the goal of reconstructing traditional concepts of privacy, analyzing manifestations of privacy, examining the effect of social and technological development processes on the concept of privacy and making it usable for a possible re-accentuation. The first funding period (2011–2016) was dedicated to the theory of privacy; the subsequent funding period (2016–2021) to the topic of “privacy and digitalization.” Ralf Müller-Terpitz was one of the applicant members of the Research Training Group and has been an associate member since his move from the University of Passau to the University of Mannheim in 2013.
The regional as well as interdisciplinary research alliance “Digitalization: Transformation of Socio-Economic Processes” (ForDigital [Link: http://www.fordigital.org/de/index.php]) set itself the goal of illustrating and making comprehensible the effects of digitalization on the economy, society and individuals. To this end, scientists from various research locations (University of Mannheim, KIT, and associated research institutions [GESIS, FIZ Karlsruhe, Fraunhofer IOSB, FZI, ZEW, and ZI) and disciplines developed joint publications, third-party funding applications, and events or supported young scientists in the form of doctoral projects.