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Ethics and Society

Ethics and Society is part of the Human Brain Project's research core. Through its research and ethics management, it promotes Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) practices within the HBP, and helps to shape the direction of the HBP in ethically sound ways that serve the public interest.


Ethics and Society carries out research to identify and address the conceptual, social, ethical, legal and cultural implications and challenges raised by HBP research. We focus on foresight, neuroethics, philosophy, public engagement, and researcher awareness. Ethics and Society also translates ethics research into practice by implementing ethics management and compliance programmes for the HBP, and collaborates with an independent Ethics Advisory Board (EAB), as well as produces Opinions on the most immediately relevant ethical issues within the HBP.



SP Leader

Professor Kathinka Evers, PhD, is SP-leader of the Ethics and Society Subproject 12, and WP-leader of the Philosophy and Neuroethics WP12.2.Since 2002, she is senior researcher and professor of philosophy at the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB) at Uppsala University and Professor ad honoram at the Universidad Central de Chile since 2013. She has been Invited Professor on the Chair Condorcet at École Normale Supérieure, Paris (2002); at Collège de France, Paris (2006 -7); and at Centro de Investigaciones Filosoficas, Buenos Aires (2012). Her research focuses on philosophy of mind, neurophilosophy, bioethics and neuroethics. She directs the teaching and research on neuroethics at Uppsala University, where she started the first courses in the subject. She is also interested in the social responsibility of science, and was between 1997 and 2002 Executive Director for the Standing Committee for Ethics and Responsibility in Science of ICSU (International Council for Science); and 2008-2014, Expert in Scientific Review Panels for the ERC on ‘The Human Mind and Its Complexity’. Since her first public lectures at the University of Oxford in 1990, she has lectured extensively at universities and research centres in Europe, the U.S., South America, Asia, and Australia.

Read more Icon Neuroethics » 3AM Magazine.pdf (548.6 KB) .


Deputy SP Leader

Jean-Pierre Changeux PhD is International Faculty at the Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind University of California San Diego and professor at the Collège de France & Institut Pasteur, Paris.

His PhD studies in the laboratory of Jacques Monod, led to the discovery that chemical signals regulate the biological activity of proteins by acting at “allosteric” sites distinct from the biologically active sites via a conformational change (1961-1965). He then proposed (1964) that this type of regulation applies to receptor mechanisms engaged in the transmission of chemical signals in the nervous system and through his life-time work, validated this insight. His studies were initiated by the first identification of a neurotransmitter receptor: the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor together with Lee & Kasai (1970) and culminated by a contribution, together with Corringer & Delarue, to establishing the 3-D structure and conformational transition of prokaryotic orthologs of nicotinic receptors by X-ray crystallography and molecular dynamics (2005-15). He and his colleagues also deciphered the topology of allosteric modulatory sites for pharmacological ligands (1996-2011), thereby substantiating a novel strategy of drug design based on allosteric modulation.

Moving to neuronal networks, Changeux, together with Courrège & Danchin (1973, 1976) formulated and experimentally tested the theory that long-term epigenesis of neuronal networks occurs by the activity-dependant selective stabilization, and elimination, of developing synapses.

Last, in particular with Dehaene, he proposed and tested models for defined cognitive tasks and their pharmacological modulation in particular, a neuronal hypothesis for conscious processing, implicating a “global neuronal workspace” composed of a brain-scale horizontal network of long axon neurons (1991- (1998-2015).

Changeux has published several books including Neuronal Man (1985), What Makes Us Think? (with Paul Ricoeur) (2002), Physiology of truth (2002). The good, the true  the beautiful. A neuronal approach (2012).

His academic accolades include the Gairdner award (1978), the Wolf prize (1983), the Goodman and Gilman Award in drug receptor pharmacology (1994), the Balzan Prize (2001), the US National Academy of Sciences Award in Neurosciences (2007), the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Award for Eminent Scientists,Tokyo (2012) and the Olav Thon Foundation's International Research Award for Natural Sciences and Medicine, Oslo (2016).