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Digital Society Initiative

Ning Wang

Ning Wang, Dr.

  • Value Sensitive Innovation | Technology Ethics

Research Area

I have broad research interests in the ethics assessment and responsible governance of emerging and future technologies, such as AI, robotics, and autonomous systems. Through empirical studies of these transformative technologies of both enabling and disruptive nature, I aim to address the ethical, social, legal, and regulatory challenges new and complex technologies pose to society, explore responsive analytical approaches in the understanding and evaluation of them, and propose practical governance tools for the design, development, and use of them. Conceptually, I am interested in exploring philosophical notions such as identity, agency, autonomy, responsibility, justice, and the good life. Methodologically, I seek to draw on insights gained through transdisciplinary research in participatory and co-creation processes.


Academic Career

I am an ethicist and a political scientist based in Switzerland since 2010. I hold a PhD degree in Biomedical Ethics and Law from University of Zurich, and two Master’s degrees in Applied Ethics and Political Science obtained in Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. In between my academic endeavors, I led projects on ethics policy development for international organizations across the government, industry, and NGO sectors. As a strong advocate of bottom-up forces for social change, I am dedicated to bridging the gap between science and society, with active engagement in influential non-academic institutions such as the World Economic Forum, the IEEE, and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.



Currently, I am the Principal Investigator (PI) of the following projects:

  • BRIDGE «The BRIDGE Lab: Bridging the Wisdom Gap»: funded by the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) for 2022-2026. The lab offers a collaborative platform as a structural vessel to promote innovation through its “service portfolio” encompassing research, education, consultancy, and partnership activities. By providing stakeholder-centered, action-oriented, and outcome-driven services, the lab seeks to inform the innovation community with forward-looking policy scenarios, governance models, and strategy-setting practices across and beyond Switzerland.
  • Apéro Digital: «The Apéro Digital Series»: funded by the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) for 2024-2025. This outreach project aims to facilitate the co-creation of reflexive environments to support the understanding of societal transformations around digitalization, combining techniques of technology foresight, storytelling, and sharing of lived experiences, and resulting in tangible artifacts that are co-produced by all participants.
  • HOPE «Hubs of Open and Participatory Education for Digitally Connected Learning»: funded by the UZH Teaching Fund (ULF) for 2023-2024. This education project seeks to co-create digitally connected leaning hubs for learners from low-infrastructure settings to access Open Education resources and to develop sustainable and affordable social innovation solutions in challenging contexts, through inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural learning opportunities.
  • SKY «The Sky Is the Limit? Ethical Acceptability of Autonomous Systems in Switzerland»: funded by the UZH Research Talent Development Fund (FAN) for 2023-2024. This research project aims to provide analyses about the ethical acceptability of high-impact technology such as autonomous systems, and to develop practical governance tools for policy makers and the public to achieve ethically informed transformations towards sustainability.
  • Apéro Philo «The Apéro Philo Series»: funded by the UZH Digital Society Initiative (DSI) for 2023-2024. This engagement project is composed of a series of public events, involving UZH researchers, students, scholars, as well as non-academic societal actors in interdisciplinary exchanges and discussions around ethics, technology, and digitalization in a friendly and inclusive environment.

Completed projects from my past research and teaching include:

  • SADUS «Societal Acceptance of Drones in Urban Switzerland»: funded by the UZH Global Strategy and Partnership Fund for 2022-2023. This research project aims to develop evidence-based knowledge on the topics related to the ethical and social implications of high-impact technologies, through the perspective of adoption and adaptation of autonomous systems in the urban Swiss context.
  • E-HUD «The Ethics Assessment Tool for the Humanitarian Use of Drones», funded by the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) for 2022-2023. This innovation project seeks to operationalize an ethics assessment framework for the use of drones in the humanitarian and development settings, as a spin-off innovation initiative of an earlier research project FEAHD.
  • EVSET «Enhancing Value Sensitivities in Emerging Technologies», funded by the UZH Teaching Fund (ULF) for 2021-2022. This blended course seeks to introduce the concept of «value sensitive innovation» from inter-disciplinary perspectives, and to equip young scientists and future innovators with a value-based innovation mindset and a set of practical operational toolkits.
  • Tichajil «The «Tichajil» Drone in Guatemala»: funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for 2020-2022. This field study in a remote highland area of Guatemala aims to gain an empirically-informed understanding about how the «value sensitive design» approach may facilitate the expression of human and societal values in the development of novel technologies.
  • FEAHD «Value Sensitive Innovation: Framework for the Ethics Assessment of Humanitarian Drones»: funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) for 2018-2021. This research project seeks to investigate how to integrate ethical values in the humanitarian use of drones through empirical studies and multi-stakeholder collaboration.


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