Moral reflection on education and research

The Ethics Institute plays a central role in Utrecht University's research and education in the field of ethics. It's members study practical, moral issues in their societal, social and political context. The institute, which is part of Philosophy and embedded in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, aims to teach students, teachers and researchers to reflect on the moral aspects of their discipline. Its research and education are focused on the theoretical work in ethics and practical philosophy, as well as applied ethics. 

Praktische ethiek ©
Bio-ethiek ©

History of the Ethics Institute

The Rector Magnificus of Utrecht University founded the Ethics Institute in 2003. At that time, the institute was able to draw on fifteen years’ experience of research, teaching, and advice in the field of bioethics and health law. Since its foundation, the institute has concentrated particularly on ethical questions relating to animal welfare, health, and reflection on moral considerations in practical ethics. It has developed and given courses for students of Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Medicine, Biology, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, among others. This has led to the creation of many different types of partnership between the various faculties of the university in the field of both teaching and research, which testify to the interdisciplinary character of ethics as a discipline. The Ethics Institute also maintains relationships with parties outside the UU, such as researchers from other universities, but also companies and other institutions.


15 December 2017
The European Commission has recently funded a large new research project in which Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute participates.
12 May 2017
The research is carried out by the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University and the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre of the University of Groningen
4 May 2017
Universiteit Utrecht and Wageningen University & Research launched the Centre for Sustainable Animal Stewardship at the 9th of May.


27 June 2018 10:30 - 11:45
The dissertation of Hans Arentshorst contributes to a better understanding of the problems related to the realisation of freedom and democracy today.
29 June 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Do the evolutionary origins of morality imply that we cannot tell right from wrong? That is the central question that Michael Klenk explores in his PhD thesis.
Klimaatneutraal met Fair Climate Fund

Climate neutral

Through the FairClimateFund the Ethics Institute has compensated its CO2 emission over 2015. Our carbon footprint of 42 tons of CO2 has been fully compensated with 'carbon credits' from the Basa Magogo project in South Africa. These enable 32 households in South Africa to cook and heat their homes in a cleaner and healthier way. Through this project, each household not only saves €40 of heating costs a year, but also 2 hours of their time each day.