Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Project introduction and background information

Our goal for this two-year project is to turn the theoretical insights from COMET 1.0 into several concrete experiential exercises, in a manner similar to the exercise developed in COMET 2.0. In doing so, we will work towards an EEE Ecosystem. We think that a systematic and comprehensive approach to how the teaching of ethics at TU Delft can maximize its impact is urgently needed. Combining fundamental and qualitative research, we will further develop what we call an Experiential Engineering Ethics Framework. We started developing this theoretical framework in Comet 2.0, with the paper on moral imagination. Now, we need to develop this framework in a way that allows us to design specific teaching methods for the other major learning goals in EEE, by using insights from the latest research in 4E cognition and educational sciences.

Team members: Aafke Fraaije, Andrea Gammon, Martin Sand, Steffen Steinert, Janna van Grunsven, Lavinia Marin.

Objective and expected outcomes

The overall question our research aims to answer is: how do we develop experiential exercises that are genuinely effective, capable of making ethics come alive as a pervasive feature of the world of engineering? More specific questions include:

1)     How do we design experiential engineering ethics exercises that avoid being shallow and overly simplistic (a common criticism of many ‘case-based exercises’ and so-called micro-ethical approaches)?

2)     How do we achieve this in a manner that incorporates the relevant ethical tools and concepts future engineers must be familiar with (e.g. responsibility; fairness; inclusivity; empathy, etc.)?

3)     How to integrate the new methods and learning goals with the existing demands of the various engineering disciplines at TUD? In particular, how can we provide the necessary support to engineering teachers that want to include ethics in their curricula?

·          Answering these questions, we believe, will greatly contribute to TU Delft’s aim to educate engineers who are responsible and who see socio-ethical issues as deeply intertwined with the work of future engineers.

The proposed project builds off the main applicant’s background as an engineer and a philosopher of education, and on the second applicant’s research on embodied situated ethics. All the members of the project have a vast experience in teaching ethics to engineering students as well as solid theoretical background in ethics and philosophy.

The objective of our Project is twofold:

1) Practical - educational: We will design and test several exercises and teaching methods within engineering ethics education inspired by our novel theoretical framework. The aim is to deliver several exercises to be used in teaching that implement this framework (at least 4 exercises). We will continue the work started in the previous two projects Comet 1.0 and Comet 2.0, and we will focus on teaching exercises and methods based on those insights (on moral sensitivity, moral imagination, empathy and anticipation) using the experiential ethics framework; we will also explore the potential of arts-based methods (WP3).

2) Institutional ecosystem development. We aim to design ways of integrating our theoretical and practical teaching experience into the actual teaching at TU Delft. We want to embed these exercises and methods by providing teachers from other disciplines with a contact point for ethics (teaching the teachers) and by evaluating what the ethics teaching needs are for several disciplines and assessing how we can help with that (WP5). These steps are meant to render ethics teaching responsive to present needs and in line with future developments, by aligning our theoretical insights with the needs of the teachers and students in various disciplines. We will start with one program as a way of piloting how to embed experiential ethics systematically. We envision our work as contributing towards an ecosystem of learning and teaching ethics, for which the embedding practices will be the first step in a series of developments.

Results and learnings


  • van Grunsven, J., Marin, L., Gammon, A. et al. 4E cognition, moral imagination, and engineering ethics education: shaping affordances for diverse embodied perspectives. Phenom Cogn Sci (2024). 

Public outreach

Embodied ethics education for engineers (mass-media article by Merel Engelsman)

Practical outcomes