© 2020

Ethics of Medical Innovation, Experimentation, and Enhancement in Military and Humanitarian Contexts

  • Daniel Messelken
  • David Winkler

Part of the Military and Humanitarian Health Ethics book series (MHHE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Research and Research Ethics in Military and Humanitarian Contexts

  3. Military Human Enhancement: “Science-Fiction” in the Real World

About this book


This book discusses ethical questions surrounding research and innovation in military and humanitarian contexts. It focuses on human enhancement in the military. Recently, the availability of medical enhancement designed to make soldiers more capable of surviving during conflict, as well as enabling them to defeat their enemies, has emerged. Innovation and medical research in military and humanitarian contexts may thus yield positive effects, but simultaneously leads to a number of highly problematic ethical issues.  

The work contains contributions on medical ethics that take into account the specific roles and obligations of military and humanitarian health care providers and the ethical problems they encounter. They cover different aspects of research and innovation such as vaccine development, medical enhancement, compassionate and experimental drug use, research and application of new technologies such as wearables, “Humanitarian innovation” to cope with scarce resources, Biometrics, big data, etc.The book is of interest and importance to researchers and policy makers  involved with human enhancement, medical research, and innovation in military and humanitarian missions.


medical military ethics military medicine medical care in the military informed consent in the military military human enhancement transhuman warfare autonomous AI systems supersoldiers AI Brain-Computer interfaces genetic manipulation military technological enhancement vaccine technologies in warfare

Editors and affiliations

  • Daniel Messelken
    • 1
  • David Winkler
    • 2
  1. 1.Zurich Center for Military Medical Ethics, Center for EthicsUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Center of Reference for Education on IHL & EthicsInternational Committee of Military MedicineBernSwitzerland

About the editors

Daniel Messelken is a research associate at the Center for Ethics at Zurich University and leader of the Zurich Center for Military Medical Ethics ( He also serves as Head Ethics Teacher for the Center of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics of the International Committee of Military Medicine and is member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe (EuroISME). Dr. Messelken studied Philosophy and Political Science in Leipzig and Paris (1998-2004) and received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Leipzig in 2010. Besides Military Medical Ethics, his main research fields include Just War Theory, the Morality of Violence, Military Ethics, and Applied Ethics more generally.


David T. Winkler is director of the Center of Reference for Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics of the International Committee of Military Medicine ( He is a medical doctor specializing in neurology and holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology. Lieutenant Colonel Winkler is a staff officer in the Swiss Armed Forces Medical Services Directorate. He conducts clinical and academic work at the University Hospital Basel, and the Cantonal Hospital Baselland, Switzerland.

Bibliographic information