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«Digital tools against Covid-19»: Online talk in the ZHAW digital event series

Sign up now for a digital talk about “Digital tools against Covid-19 - Addressing ethical challenges, public trust and acceptance” with Prof. Effy Vayena, Chair of Bioethics at ETH Zurich and Ricardo Chavarriaga, Head CLAIRE Office Switzerland, in the frame of the ZHAW digital events series 2021 on 'privacy and democracy'.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, digital solutions in various areas appeared to be more necessary than ever. At the same time, public scepticism towards digital technologies - including but not limited to contact tracing apps - highlighted challenges in their development and public acceptance. This talk will address the ethical and societal issues brought by these technologies, responsible approaches to their development and ways to increase public trust and acceptance.

Please register in order to receive your participation link and further information a few days before the online event.

This event will be held in English with a German translation available if needed.

/ 5:00 p.m. Welcome and Introduction
/ 5:10 p.m. Keynote talk Prof Effy Vayena
/ 5:40 p.m. Open discussion incl. invited ZHAW researchers and public Q&A
/ 6:20 p.m. Closing remarks


Effy Vayena is a Professor of Bioethics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and renowned expert at the intersection of medicine, data, and ethics. Her work focuses on important societal issues of data and technology as they relate to scientific progress and how it is or should be applied to public and personal health. Prof Vayena is part of the Expert Group on Digital epidemiology of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force.

Prof. Vayena studied Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. She spent several years working for the WHO, for whom she continues to act as a consultant. She was awarded a professorship by the Swiss National Science Foundation for her work on the ethics of personalised medicine. She is a visiting faculty member of the Harvard Centre for Bioethics at the Harvard Medical School, a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Vayena is a leading expert in the dynamic and diverse field of health data and ethics, successfully leveraging her academic work and international network to promote a fruitful debate about the ethics of health in the digital age. She has previously worked with the Wellcome Trust, OECD, Commonwealth Fund, Chatham House, and academic institutions and governments around the world.


Ricardo Chavarriaga

Ricardo Chavarriaga (Moderator) is the head of the Swiss office of the Confederation of Laboratories for AI Research in Europe (CLAIRE); Senior researcher at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and associate fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP). He is the chair of the IEEE Standards Association IC group on Neurotechnologies for Brain-Machine Interfacing, co-chair of the IEEE P2863 Working group on Recommended Practices for Organizational Governance of AI, and member of the Working group on Data Sharing and Standards of the International Brain Initiative.

Nico Ebert is a Research Scientist in the Information Security group at the School of Management and Law. His research focus is to understand individual privacy behavior. When the Swiss Covid App was launched in 2020, he led a study to investigate the usage and data protection concerns of Swiss citizens.

Christoph Heitz is professor at the School of Engineering of Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). He is founding member and part of the executive board of the Institute of Data Analysis and Process Design (IDP). He is also co-founder and president of the data innovation alliance, a Swiss national innovation network for pushing innovation in the field of data-based value creation.

Eva Thelisson is Visiting Scholar at MIT Connection Science and the co-founder of the AI Transparency Institute, which is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to a safe, trustworthy and sustainable use of Artificial Intelligence. Through her research, she contributes to laying down the foundations and developing the tools for implementing corporate digital responsibility. She has pioneered the areas of AI Governance with the launch of the first AI Governance Forum at the Brocher Foundation in 2019 and the first Special Issue on AI Governance. Her research areas include Legal and Ethical aspects of digital technologies (IoT, IA, Blockchain, autonomous systems), with an emphasis on AI Policy, Digital Corporate Responsibility, AI Trustworthiness. She defended her PhD at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland on the General Data Protection Regulation and its impact in Switzerland. She teaches as Guest Lecturer in several Universities on AI Policy, digital technologies and data protection, participates in standardisation working groups on Artificial Intelligence at the OECD and Council of Europe and acts as Expert for the Swiss Confederation and the EU Commission to review research projects.

This event is sponsored by CLAIRE.


Start date: 15 June 2021, 05.00 pm


ZHAW digital
Gertrudstrasse 15
8401 Winterthur