The EGAIS project is a 3 year project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (Science and Society) taking an interdisciplinary approach (philosophy, organisation science, technology and information science) to integrating ethical considerations within technical development projects through governance mechanisms.
Given the wide impact of the ethical implications that arise from new and emerging technologies, EGAIS aims to provide recommendations and concrete guidance on ethical governance techniques that can be applied throughout a technical development project.
The current mechanisms for addressing ethical issues relevant to the technologies during the project phase have limitations that rely largely on ad hoc arrangements. It is also not easy to anticipate the ethical effects of many modern technologies, partly because there is no unique conception of a desirable way of life, but made more difficult when the necessary expertise is dispersed throughout disciplines and institutionalised within them.
However, the recognition that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are not morally neutral gives some urgency to the task of re-associating technology development to the social and moral context. We need to broaden the view beyond the economic, political and institutional constraints applied to technical innovation.
EGAIS investigates how ethical reflexivity could be integrated into the research and technology development culture of EU research, so that these considerations become a more natural part of the evaluation and technical development process. It aims to provide guidance to stakeholders in general that will lead towards a coherent and cohesive approach to achieving ethical design outcomes from projects – an approach that begins with the proposal design and continues throughout the project.
To achieve this EGAIS will develop assessment strategies to observe the impact of ethical reflexivity within and after the project, and will actively take into consideration the insights, suggestions, relevant problems and feedback gained directly from key stakeholders (decision makers, European policy makers, leaders of technical projects, developers, IT industry, academics and researchers in ICT, the scientific community, the civil society) through a series of workshops.
The EGAIS project is coordinated by the Universita Cattolica’s Research Centre on Innovation, Technologies and Financial Services (CeTIF), Italy, and is supported by academic partners from:
- Middlesex University (United Kingdom)
- Facultes Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix, Namur (Belgium)
- Institut Catholique des Arts et Métiers (France)
- Institute of Information Science (Slovenia) - Date of exit: April 1st 2011