Institute of History and Ethics in Medicine

Today's Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine was founded in 1972 as the "Institute for the History of Medicine and Medical Sociology" within the Faculty of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. Its employees deal in research and teaching with the ethical, theoretical and historical dimensions of medicine, such as:


  • Is artificial intelligence suitable as a decision-making aid for doctors?
  • Can robots be used in nursing care?
  • What forms of solidarity can modern medicine build on?
  • How can bio-databases be used for diagnostics?
  • What traces did National Socialism leave behind in medicine?


These questions are only a small part of the diverse range of topics covered by the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich.

Embedded Ethics

The Munich Embedded Ethics Lab (MEEL) promotes the integration of ethical aspects into the entire development process of health technologies in an integrated, collaborative and interdisciplinary way. It brings together projects that address the critical ethical, social and political issues that arise with the application of new technologies and prioritizes work that aims to improve care and equity and reach underserved populations in healthcare. The Embedded Ethics (EE) approach combines participatory research practices with empirical bioethical analysis.

Medical Ethics

In medical ethics, the focus is primarily on questions of responsible development and the introduction of new biomedical technologies. Here, the Institute stands for an embedded ethics approach, in which ethical aspects are part of the technical development from the very beginning.

Other areas of focus include new concepts of solidarity in medicine as well as neuroethics, research ethics, and public health ethics.

History of Medicine

The history of medicine is primarily concerned with questions relating to the historical perspective of culturally and socially relevant issues in medicine.

In the field of medical history, the Institute focuses on research questions concerning the preconditions, the dynamics and the aftermath of medical crimes under National Socialism and is actively involved in shaping a culture of remembrance in this regard.

Embedded Ethics
  • For us, embedded ethics means the integration of ethical thinking strategies where technology is developed.
  • Together with our colleagues in externally funded projects, we collaboratively research and develop best practices for the embedded ethics approach
  • To consolidate and further develop this approach, we have established the Munich Embedded Ethics Lab (MEEL).
AI Ethics
  • Machine learning becomes an integral part of research and development in medicine
  • We work with AI ethics frameworks to anticipate the opportunities and risks of these technologies and to further develop knowledge about them
Research Ethics
  • Research ethics plays a key role in the generation of new knowledge, especially in medicine.
  • In our consortia, we therefore develop new approaches to research ethics issues and incorporate these into ongoing projects
Public Health Ethics
  • Public health issues are moving more and more into the public focus
  • As a group, we are engaged in developing strategies to deal with current public health issues and are available for consultation in times of crisis
  • The Clinical Ethics Committee (CEC) aims to promote and support a competent approach to ethical challenges in patient care and clinical work
  • The CEC stands as a forum for the discussion of ethical issues at the hospital and for ethics case consultation
Ethics Consultation
  • Ethical issues in everyday clinical practice are manifold
  • The joint development of new services, such as consults and visit support, is a priority in order to make well-founded consultation possible.
  • Since 2023 a new professorship belongs to the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine
  • Dr. Marcello Ienca's team addresses ethical issues in the field of neuroscience and technologies
History of Medicine
  • History of medicine deals with the developments, lines of continuity and ruptures in medicine from a historical perspective
  • One of the Institute's research focuses is on the subject of medicine under National Socialism
  • In addition to researching the work of medical professionals, the focus is equally on the patient perspective
Medical Ethics
  • Medical ethics research and teaching at IGEM encompasses the entire field of biomedical and public health ethics
  • A particular focus is on issues related to the responsible development and adoption of new biomedical technologies in the healthcare sector
Medical Ethics
Clinical Ethics
  • Currently, the Clinical Ethics service is represented by the Clinical Ethics Committee (CEC), the Mobile Ethics Team, and the Senior Clinical Ethics Physician
  • The further development of ethics structures and services at the hospital is carried out in close cooperation with the employees in order to use existing processes and to implement suitable structures in the hospital's daily routine in the long term.
  • Research at IGEM is carried out in numerous projects, funded by third-party donors such as the EU, BMBF, DFG, NIH, Max Planck Society and bidt.
  • Since 2018, the institute has raised over 3.5 million euros in funding.
  • IGEM maintains cooperations with other departments within TUM as well as with other universities and institutes from Germany and abroad.
  • The IGEM teaches mainly in the course of study of human medicine at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
  • With two electives, a lecture, various seminars and workshops, ethics will be more integrated into medical education.
  • The employees of the institute are internationally positioned.
  • They are concerned with the ethical, theoretical and historical dimensions of medicine in research and teaching.


The Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine welcomes your contact.

T  +49 89 4140 4041

Mon-Thu: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Fri: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (core hours)
Ismaninger street 22
81675 Munich