Research fields

The ZLSR researches the mutual influence between technological and societal transformation processes - in particular digitalization, miniaturization and personalization - and the legal and ethical set of norms. Our research therefore addresses tensions between innovation promotion, security, (informational) self-determination, and justice. The research can be divided into five fields:

This research field is devoted to basic questions of legal ethics and sociology of law in the life sciences. One focus is on the development of a general theory of transformative technologies that describes the interaction between technical and legal innovations. Examples of applications of such technical innovations are CRISPR, robotics and digitalization in general. The basic research field also includes the legal philosophy of technology, research on the impact of modern biotechnology and biotechnological possibilities on individual autonomy as well as on social inequality and discrimination. Finally, cyborg medicine is being researched, and with it the legal dogmatic follow-up problems of technical implants or socio-technical systems.

This research area is devoted to selected questions of biomedical law from the perspective of private law, public law and, in particular, criminal law. One focus is on genome editing and, on the one hand, the effects on patent and plant variety protection and, on the other hand, labeling obligations. Furthermore, research at the ZLSR covers fundamental ethical questions of genetic medicine. The research field also deals with reproductive medicine, transplantation medicine and euthanasia. Legal questions from the field of synthetic biology also belong to this research field.

Research projects in this research field:
Reproductive medicine (ongoing)
Sterbehilfe bei Cyborgs (completed)
The Proibition of Embryo Donation in Switzerland (ongoing)
The Use of Organoids to Promote 3R (ongoing)

This research field asks about the necessity and design of a regulatory framework for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the life sciences. In the context of AI-assisted diagnostics and therapeutics, for example, the question is whether and how the existing legal framework should be adapted. Similar questions arise in connection with the regulation of medical apps.

Research projects in this research area:
Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (completed)
Due Diligence Requirements for Automated Anti-Money Laundering (ongoing)
Protection against Adversarial Attacks (ongoing)

This research area is devoted to the question of who has legal or de facto sovereignty over the data generated in the life sciences. Among other things, it is a question of which allocations the law makes to data and which conditions it attaches to the handling of the data. It also covers questions of data access, data portability and the exercise of data power. Application areas for such questions include mobile and personalized medicine, federated learning in drug research, and the use of personal information management systems (PIMS) in the life sciences.

Research projects in this research field:
AgeBots - Service robotics in elderly care (completed)
Federated Machine Learning (ongoing)

This research area focuses on the interactions between technological innovations and intellectual property protection in the life sciences: Technological innovations, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), can give rise to both new protection needs and constellations of dysfunctional overprotection. The changes also shed light on the changing conditions of invention and creation.

Research projects in this research field:
Automated drug development (ongoing)
The protectability of machine learning models (ongoing)

Research projects

Within the research fields, specific topics are explored in depth in research projects. Research projects are financed with university funds or through third-party funding. In the course of the research projects, the ZLSR typically conducts workshops or events. The results of the research projects are communicated to the professional public as well as to the general public by means of publications (scientific articles, expert opinions and statements) or public events.

The research projects at the ZLSR concern the following topics: