Ethics in Plant and Environmental Sciences

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Coordinator registrations
16 October 2019 09:30 17:30 Peter Vermeulen 22 / 25 Apply

Course description

When performing research and communicating the findings and conclusions scientists may be confronted with ethical dilemmas, some which they at first had not expected to be confronted. The question accordingly is how to deal with these dilemmas. This requires an insight in the ethical values and how these can be interpreted in the scientific context.

This course focuses on ethical issues that are encountered when doing research in plant and environmental sciences. It includes hands-on dealings with ethical, philosophical, and societal issues surrounding science.

After identifying ethical principles we focus on some cases that scientists have experienced in their career. Accordingly participants are split into groups in which personal experiences, dilemmas or ethical questions regarding the PhD research are dealt with in an interactive workshop.

We recommend taking this course in combination with Research Integrity (RI), which focuses on key principles of good science and good scientific conduct, and on (ways of coping with) integrity tensions.

General Information

Target Group: PhDs and postdocs
Group size: Max. 25 participants
Course duration: 1 day (16 October 2019)
Language: English
Credit points: 0.3 ECTS
Name lecturer: Prof. Bart Gremmen / Prof. Marcel Verweij
Venue: tbd, Wageningen


09:30 – 10:00


  • Overview of Ethical aspects to be considered when doing science (not integrity)
  • How to address ethical aspects of science / which tools do we have?
  • Introduction to cases and the rest of the day
10:00 – 11:00

Case I:

  • 10 min Introduction
  • 30 min Discussion in groups
  • 20 min Plenary discussion
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:15

Case II:

  • 10 min Introduction
  • 30 min Discussion in groups
  • 20 min Plenary discussion
12:15 – 13:15 Lunch
13:15 – 14:15

Case III:

  • 10 min Introduction
  • 30 min Discussion in groups
  • 20 min Plenary discussion
14:15 – 15:30

Ethics in your PhD research

Participants are split into groups of 4-5 and must first identify:

  • Personal experiences, dilemmas or ethical questions that one can have or can think of regarding the PhD research that they are performing (15 minutes)
  • This is presented in the group where each participant has a turn to present they main ethical challenge, question, experience (45 minutes)
  • Plenary session in which groups present their main findings
15:30 – 15:45 Break
15:45 – 17:00


  • Most important lessons
  • What are the eye-openers?
  • General guidelines and tools to tackle ethical questions, challenges and issues
17:00 – 17:30 Drinks



Reduced fee:
• PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools (EPS, PE&RC, VLAG, WASS, WIAS, WIMEK)
• Postdocs of Wageningen University who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools
€ 50
University fee: All other PhD candidates / Wageningen University postdocs and staff € 100
External fee: All other participants € 200

Fee includes study and training material, coffee/tea and lunch.

Cancellation condition

You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the University fee. Unless:

  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement.
    In this case you will only be charged a € 50,- cancellation fee.
  • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree).
    In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.


For more information please contact Peter Vermeulen,