Military Ethics Research Lab and Innovation Network

Photo of ADFA Canberra building

What we do

Launched in November 2023, MERLIN exists to fill what is arguably the most significant gap in military ethics research, namely qualitative and quantitative empirical research into the factors that impact on real-world ethical decision-making in the military context.

MERLIN’s lab offers state of the art research capabilities suited to undertaking experimentation in applied military behavioural ethics research. MERLIN’s greatest strength, however, is its network – an interdisciplinary team of researchers from across UNSW and around the globe, all committed to identifying and mitigating ethical risk factors for military personnel. Members of the extended network are based in military institutions including The US Naval Academy, the US Military Academy (West Point), the US Army War College, The Naval Postgraduate School, The Royal Academy Sandhurst, the Royal Military College of Canada, The Netherlands Defence Academy, the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, the Hellenic Air Force Academy, and the Military Academy Belgrade; as well as at universities including Oxford University, King’s College London, Arizona State University, Haifa University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Adelaide, KU Leuven and Stockholm University.

MERLIN is led by A/Prof Deane-Peter Baker (Director), Dr Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken (Associate Director) and Dr Ned Dobos (Associate Director)

Launch videos

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Dr Edward Barrett, US Naval Academy

Dr Srinjoy Bose, UNSW Kensington

Dr Andrew Bell, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Associate Professor James Connor, UNSW Canberra

Professor Shannon French, Case Western Reserve University

Professor Helen Frowe, Stockholm University

Dr Milad Ghasrikhouzani, UNSW Canberra

Anne Goyne, ADF Centre for Defence Leadership and Ethics

Professor Michael Gross, University of Haifa

Dr Roger Herbert (CAPT USN, Ret.), UNSW Canberra, Arizona State University and US Naval Academy

Dr Margaret Hutchison, UNSW Canberra

Dr Erandi Hene Kankanamge, UNSW Canberra

Professor David Kilcullen, UNSW Canberra

Associate Professor Twan Huybers, UNSW Canberra

Dr. Ioanna K. Lekea, Hellenic Air Force Academy

Dr Deanna Messervey, Department of National Defence, Canada

COL Thomas McDermott CSC DSO, Australian Army and UNSW Canberra

Dr Oleksandra Molloy, UNSW Canberra

Ann-Katrien Oimann, Royal Military Academy of Belgium and KU Leuven

Associate Professor Graham Parsons, United States Military Academy

Professor Lonneke Peperkamp, Netherlands Defence Academy

Professor C. Anthony Pfaff, US Army War College

Dr Jo Plested, UNSW Canberra

Professor Robert Schmidle (LTGEN USMC, Ret.), Arizona State University

Associate Professor Tom Simpson, Oxford University

Associate Professor Dragan Stanar, Military Academy Belgrade

Professor Bradley J. Strawser, Naval Postgraduate School

Air Commodore (Ret.) John Thomas, EuroISME

Dr Dennis Vincent MBE, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Mathew Wann, UNSW Canberra
Prof David Whetham, King’s College London

Dr Samuel White, University of Adelaide and UNSW Canberra

Lt. Col. Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer, PhD, Army Center for Strategic Studies, Brazilian Army 

Current Research Students

Jenna Allen

David Evered

Robert Goldsmith

Benjamin (Benny) Grey

Aluma Kepten

Recent projects

Current and planned projects

Military Training and Moral Injury

Zoomorphism, Remote Autonomous Systems, and Cognitive Empathy

Ethics for Wargaming, Wargaming for Ethics

Measuring the Effectiveness of Military Ethics Education

Measuring the Effectiveness of Military Ethics Decision Making Models

Autonomous Ethical Decision Making in Special Operations Forces

Neuroscience of Ethical Decision Making for Battlefield Innovators (with KCL Neuroscience)

Impact of ‘Death Symbols’ on Military Ethics Decision Making

Impact of Thermal Imaging on Military Ethics Decision Making

Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of Practitioner and Public Perceptions of the Application of Just War Principles in Practice

Recent News