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DELSI − 'Digital Epidemiology and its ethical, legal and social implications’ - A Symposium, September 14 - 18, 2015

Schwanenwerder Estate, Inselstraße 27-28, 14129 Berlin

Symposium DELSI - Digital Epidemiology and its ethical, legal and social implications

About the event

DELSI 'Digital Epidemiology and its ethical, legal and social implications’ (DELSI) is an interdisciplinary, binational symposium to be held on September 14 - 18, 2015 in Berlin that will welcome participants from Germany and the United Kingdom.

The event is organized by the Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), and is in cooperation with the Center for Technology and Society, Technical University Berlin. The event is by invitation-only.

For public health and epidemiology, the Internet is increasingly recognized as a rich and expedient platform for capturing and sharing health information. Digital developments like Big Data analytics and data mining have created ground-breaking opportunities in knowledge generation in these fields. They promise faster disease assessment and response, easier exchange of data, lower costs and reduced administrative burden; however, new tools may also introduce critical epistemic questions public health science, and challenge the way established health systems perceive, prioritize and manage health events. They may also confront traditional decision making processes in public health research and practice. Opportunities for rights infringements, such as privacy violations and social discrimination, might also arise.

The DELSI symposium will provide a forum to explore the ethical, legal, practical and social dimensions of new digital tools in public health practice and disease monitoring in Germany and the United Kingdom. Participants will discuss the opportunities and risks of emerging technologies that inform new methods of capturing, recording and analyzing epidemiologically relevant data from the Internet, social media, sensor data and other digital sources. In this context, they will also be expected to discuss the possible tensions within, and between, the imperatives of public health, security, social justice and civil rights. By tackling complex interdisciplinary questions, attendees will inform contemporary methods of practice and directions in future policy.

This event is now closed. You can view the final programme below.

Organizing team

Tim Eckmanns, MSc, MD, RKI
Edward Velasco, SM-Scientiae Magister, PhD, RKI
Katherine Polin, MPH, RKI
Tülin Yilmaz, RKI
Leon Hempel, PhD, TU Berlin
Klaus Scheuermann, Dipl.-Soz., Berlin
Prof. Barbara Prainsack, Dr phil, FRSA, (advisor), King’s College London


DELSI is made possible with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.


This event will take place at the Evangelische Bildungsstätte Berlin (Protestant Education Institution, website) on Schwanenwerder, an island in the Havel river located in Berlin, Germany. Schwanenwerder is in Nikolassee, in the Berlin borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf. The island is close to the eastern shore of the Havel; on its opposite side, on the western bank, lies Wannsee.

Getting there

The closest public transportation is the S-Bahn station at Nikolassee. Please see detailed information (PDF, 274 KB, Datei ist nicht barrierefrei)


Travel and reimbursement information has been posted (14 Jul 2015)
A welcome letter was sent out (2 Jul 2015)