The ICMM Centre of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics, the Medical Services Directorate of the Swiss Armed Forces, and the Center for Military Medical Ethics at Zurich University are pleased to announce the 8th annual ICMM workshop on Military Medical Ethics.

Ethics of Military Medical Innovation, Experimentation, and Enhancement
3-5 May 2018 at Forum Lilienberg in Ermatingen (CH).

2018 – Topic and Call for Papers [deadline for submissions closed]

Innovation by using new medical methods and experimentation with unapproved drugs occur in military or humanitarian contexts for different reasons: one may be to cope with scarce resources when the usual means are just not available; another rationale can be to gain advantages by adopting the latest methods or drugs available.

Historically, military medicine has generated a number of novel treatments which have gone on to be widely used in civil medicine. Recently, the possibility of medical enhancement to make soldiers more capable of surviving during conflict and defeating their enemies has emerged, with both positive expectations and ethically questionable implications. The development of new therapeutic approaches in a military environment and the use of medical enhancement raise important ethical questions related to human experiments in medicine.

Among the ethical issues in the areas of military medical innovation, experimentation, and enhancement is that of informed consent, which is even more acute in the military and humanitarian contexts, where possible subjects of research may either be perceived to be not fully autonomous (soldiers) or where they are part of a vulnerable population (in disaster relief or other humanitarian emergencies).

We invite contributions on medical ethics or legal aspects which take into account the specific roles and obligations of military and humanitarian health care providers, and that cover one the areas of our main topic, for example:

  • Medical enhancement
  • Compassionate use and experimental drugs
  • Research and application of new technologies as well as telemedicine, wearables, etc.
  • “Humanitarian innovation” to cope with scarce resources
  • Biometrics, big data, etc.

We equally encourage reports from the field (e.g. case studies) as well as philosophical papers or legal analyses. Presentations are expected to last 25 minutes in order to leave enough time for plenary discussions. The presentations will be edited in a comprehensive book (Further information below: Conference Proceedings).


Application process for speakers

Deadline for submissions was on January 15th, 2018.

  • We will notify all applicants until 9th February 2018 whether a proposal has been accepted.

Conference proceedings

The results of the workshop shall be published in a comprehensive book, most probably edited by an international publisher. All invited speakers at the workshop are expected to contribute to this volume and to hand in their papers for review in due time after the workshop, until 31 August 2018.
The proceedings from previous workshops and more information about our publications are available via

General invitation and Registration

The idea of this workshop series is to bring together experts and interested people from the relevant academic disciplines, as well as practitioners from the field and to offer a neutral, international platform to discuss the medical ethical dilemmas encountered by medical troops and humanitarian forces in deployment. Switzerland with its tradition of neutrality and support of Humanitarian Law is very pleased to offer a workshop where specialists in Law of Armed Conflict, military medical professionals, philosophers and members of the ICRC can meet to analyze, discuss and deliberate on various ethical dilemmas of military medicine. Therefore, we invite all interested people and specialists from the fields of Ethics, International Law, and the Military to participate in this workshop.

Places are limited. The workshop fee for participants (who are not invited as speakers) is 600 CHF and includes accommodation during the workshop, and the transport to and from Zurich airport or train station.

Further information and contact

Scientific organization
ICMM Centre of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics | ZH Center for Military Medical Ethics
Dr. phil. Daniel Messelken – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
LtCol David Winkler, MD, PhD – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Workshop registration & logistics
Swiss Armed Forces Medical Services Directorate
Ms. Adele Renfer – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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