We’re thrilled to be able to announce a new project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Our TeenTethics initiative is one of 16 new Ingenious awards for public engagement, designed to inspire the next generation of engineers.

There is growing recognition that engineering should be ethically principled and socially/environmentally responsible, but the views of young people are rarely collected and included in this debate.

For the past year, over 700 TeenTech students have worked with engineers and explored the ethics of decision-making and trade-offs that occur during engineering and tech innovation.

We know that students who take part in the TeenTech Awards have always demonstrated ethical principles in their ideas. We want to give young people the opportunity to develop a formal code of ethical practice which will be embedded in the Awards programme and also shared with engineers worldwide.

This exciting TeenTethics project is funded by The Royal Academy of Engineering. We’re working with ethics advisor Edwin Colyer from Scientia Scripta who is helping students to think deeply about what they value most and prioritise in new tech products and services, including how they are made, and the impact they have on people and the planet.

The Charter for Ethical Innovation is entirely the work of young people and they have decided it should be a living thing – so young people can add their suggestions and keep it completely relevant in the face of such rapid technology change and development.

If you are a young person under 25 and would like to add your own comments or ideas, you can do so here.

If you work in any area of engineering and would like to host an event or participate in a TeenTethics Day, please contact [email protected].

Are you an Engineer?

If you have a background in engineering, we’d love for you to share your excitement about being an engineer with young people. Alongside members of the project team, you will engage with teenagers to explore and understand tricky ethical issues that challenge researchers and innovators every day.

The Charter for Ethical Innovation

To all innovators…



Prevent and tackle discrimination and prejudice in all its forms

We ask you to consider bias, discrimination and prejudice, including racism and homophobia, caused by your finished products.

  • Do not train AI on racist or discriminatory content or data
  • Train AI to be anti-racist, avoid stereotypes and identify biased or inappropriate content and comments
  • Evaluate potential effects of your innovations, like loss of jobs. Provide solutions so harms don’t arise and publish all these findings before products go to market.

Workers’ rights

All people matter.

  • Pay workers fairly according to the position they are in, irrespective of gender or geography. Ensure safe and good working conditions for everyone.

Openness and transparency

When creating a product, we ask you to take steps to be transparent.

  • Make the aims and ethos of your product and company clear and accessible
  • Acknowledge the ideas and contributions of other people and give credit to original creators
  • Make Terms & Conditions clear and simple, and don’t hide important points in a hundred page document
  • Do not misrepresent your product or hide its flaws – give a full picture so people make informed decisions
  • Do not train AI to mimic or plagiarise the work or style of creators and artists

People first/Human Rights/Workers’ Rights

We ask you never profit from the suffering of others and always support human rights.

  • Do not raise prices just to increase profit
  • Essential items should be price-capped
  • Give fair and equal pay no matter people’s gender or differences
  • Provide clean, safe working environments for employees must come before profit
  • Invest in ways to lower prices without lowering quality so innovations are more accessible, rather than maximising profit to increase the wealth of people who are already rich
  • Never exploit children
  • Recruit diverse employees across race, culture and dis/abilities so everyone has a chance to work
  • No-one should be forced to do anything without their full consent

Mental health and wellbeing

We need innovation for mental health and wellbeing that prioritises society’s most vulnerable people.

  • Promote and fund more health research, but no innovation should be at the expenses of people’s wellbeing or increase any risk of harm
  • Hold health research to account
  • Care for people by filtering and removing harmful social media content
  • Train and support parents on how to help children handle social media and protect them from harm
  • Find innovative ways that encourage time away from screens

Trust and truth

We need protection from fake news and misinformation that is dangerous and damaging.

  • Take action to identify it and remove it.
  • Hold those responsible for generating and sharing deliberate untruth to account


We ask you to design and make your products without harming or degrading our natural environment, climate or living things.

  • Products must be fully sustainable for now and in the future
  • Design and manufacture products that are accessible and that last
  • Use more sustainable materials and renewable energy, even if the cost is higher
  • Minimise waste and manage it efficiently
  • Make recycling more accessible
  • Prioritise recycled and recyclable materials
  • Use less packaging
  • Display your environmental impact on your products
  • No plastic packaging
  • Minimise pollution, including air pollution that causes asthma and illness
  • Help people to stop and think about consumption
  • Make products more efficient
  • Make products that are easy to repair
  • Plant lots of trees


We all want to feel welcome and inspired at school.

  • Create inspiring environments that don’t feel like prisons and can benefit all
  • Create cultures that encourage diversity of expression and belief, and acceptance of others’ views
  • Everyone is equal; no person should be made to feel inferior because of who they are, their skills, interests or job
  • Celebrate alternatives and remove the stigma of non-exam-based learning and assessment, including course work, vocational routes and trade routes into industry

Data privacy and protection

We want more control over our own data.

  • Do not train generative AI on original content without permission
  • Compensate and credit creators
  • Give users full control of their data and content, including denying or sharing data for AI training
  • Keep our data safe and private
  • Alert users when privacy is breached
  • Support laws that prevent apps and platforms requesting access to personal, sensitive and location data as default – they should only access the data they really need to provide the user with the service

Social and Political Impact

We want your innovations to be inclusive.

  • Products should enhance opportunities for people from all parts of society, with no detrimental effect on any group or individual because of their culture, religion, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, age or disability.
  • Innovation must never exert coercive control or manipulate other people
  • Do all you can to prevent offensive content and discriminatory behaviour
  • Own up to errors and mistakes
  • Challenge corruption and abuse of power
  • Make decisions based on ethics, not profit


  • Provide good quality, individualised customer service
  • Comply with international; rules and standards for products and services

Have Your Say

If you are a young person under 25 and would like to add your thoughts, comments and ideas, you can do so here.