The University of Zurich Ethics Commission was set up in accordance with § 66 of the University Code of Conduct on 19th May 2000. Following a decree by the University Management, its purpose is to “support members of the University in their perception of ethical responsibility in research and teaching“, to “promote ethical awareness within the University” and to “represent ethical issues to the public at large". The Ethics Commission comprises 7 faculty representatives, 3 representatives from the member institutes of the Centre for Ethics, 2 university lecturers, 2 research assistants and 3 students.
One of the chief tasks of the Commission is to provide assistance with the “development of curricula and the integration of ethical issues in teaching”. For this it can allocate 8 lecture course hours per year, i.e. 4 per semester. Allocation is dependent upon the faculties matching each lecture course hour given by the Commission with 1 lecture course hour from their own resources, so that in each case a 2-hour lecture results. The faculties are warmly invited by the Commission to submit regular applications for innovative courses within an ethical context. The range of lectures should include topics which inspire student interest in the ethical aspects of their own degree courses, promoting a critical analysis of the same.
Deadline for submitting applications for the fall semester: December 1, in the previous year. Deadline for submitting applications for the spring semester: May 20 in the previous year.
In addition, the Commission is also a place where controversial questions concerning the ethos of the University or problematic developments within individual disciplines can be discussed. It is able to conduct seminars or other events to this end with financial support from the University management. It will provide information about upcoming events in good time. The Commission is happy to accept any information, pointers or suggestions for an open discourse in this vein. One of its primary competences is the support of ethical culture within the University, but not the ethical control or sanctioning of academics or institutes. The University Ethics Commission is also not responsible for evaluating research projects.
Research projects in the ‘human and non-human field’ will be evaluated and approved by the Cantonal ethics commissions.