Ethics Advisory Board

The Human Brain Project's Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) is an independent body that advises the Project's Science and Infrastructure Board (SIB) and Directorate (DIR) on specific ethical, regulatory, social and philosophical issues raised by research that is being undertaken or planned under the umbrella of the Human Brain Project.

The Ethics Advisory Board offers advice both on its own initiative, but also answers to requests made by researchers, or other members of the Human Brain Project, about specific ethical, regulatory, and social issues arising from their research within the Project or work undertaken by collaborators. Recommendations from the board are advisory in nature, which means that individual researchers, investigators, laboratories and institutions retain their legal responsibilities under the terms of local, national and international regulations, as well as professional obligations in place from time to time.

The EAB receives management and administration support from the Ethics Director and the EAB Support Coordinator. 

EAB Members

Each member has a linkage with Ethics Rapporteurs (ERs) from the HBP's Work Packages in accordance with their background and expertise. Additional information, including a short biography, of each member can be obtained by clicking on their name.

Michaela Th. Mayrhofer

Chair of the EAB. Michaela Th. Mayrhofer holds a PhD in political science and is Head of ELSI Services and Research at BBMRI-ERIC. Her research interests include science and technology studies, governance of biotechnology, biobanks, big data, artificial intelligence, the General Data Protection Regulation, discourse theory, and public engagement.

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

With a background in the management of research infrastructures, Michaela Th. Mayrhofer takes great interest in the Human Brain Project’s work to create and implement governance infrastructures for the EBRAINS research infrastructure, as well as the interplay between science and technology in practice and the intersection of ethics, societal engagement and data management that occurs within the project.

Field of expertise: Management of research infrastructures

Blaise Yvert

EAB Co-Chair. Blaise Yvert has a background in engineering in applied physics and habilitation in neuroscience, with a PhD in biomedical engineering. He is currently leading a research group working on neurotechnology at Inserm. His research interests include neural prostheses and brain-computer interfaces, speech and vocal production cortical networks, neural interfacing with microelectrode arrays, neuromorphic processing of neural signals, and the ethical implications of neurotechnology.

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

Blaise Yvert’s interest in the Human Brain Project circles around its work to model the human brain, advance neuromorphic computing (soft and hardware), as well as the type and availability of data generated in the Project.

Field of expertise: neuroscience/clinical research/simulation modelling

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik is a Research Professor in humanitarian studies at PRIO and a Professor of sociology of law at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo. Her background includes an LL.M./S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and work in social anthropology as well as human rights activism. Her research interests include humanitarian technology and innovation, the ethics of military and legal technology, as well as refugee resettlement and gender-based violence.

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik’s interest in the Human Brain Project stems from her interest in the ethics and law of neuroscience, dual use and issues related to civil/military/industry use and misuse issues, and human-machine interfaces.

Field of expertise: Ethics of legal technology/Legal anthropology/Robot regulation/Artificial intelligence

Christine Mitchell

Christine Mitchell is Executive Director at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics. She has a background in nursing, religious and philosophical ethics, and from ethics committees and consultancy for Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. Her research interests include ethics services in health care, public participation in disaster planning, and the human right to science.

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

Christine Mitchell’s interest in the Human Brain Project includes the integration of ethics and emerging neuroscience, anticipating the ethical and social aspects of e-brain technology as well as examining the implications of using artificial intelligence in neuroscience.

Field of expertise: Bioethics/Medical ethics

Sven Nyholm

Sven Nyholm is Assistant Professor at Utrecht University where he is engaged in research into robotization and meaningful work. He gained his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2012, with a thesis on Kantian ethics. He has held previous positions at the University of Cologne and Eindhoven University of Technology. His research interests include the ethics of technology, neuroethics (especially focused on deep brain stimulation) and ‘existential’ questions related to technologies, the self, and meaningfulness.

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

Sven Nyholm’s interest in the Human Brain Project is primarily related to the exploration of the relation between emerging technologies and the brain as well as how modern neuroscience relates to traditional philosophical ideas about “free will” and agency.

Field of expertise: Ethics of technology/Robotics

Vicenç Torra

Vincenç Torra is Professor of Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University, where he holds the position of Wallenberg Chair in AI. His research group NAUSICA deals is about developing privacy-aware transparent decisions making solutions. He is also one of the founding members of the Privacy Information and Cyber-Security Center (PICS) at University of Skövde. His research interests include data privacy in machine learning and statistics, approximate reasoning (fuzzy sets, non-additive measures, decision making).

Personal statement/motivation for being an EAB member:

Vicenç Torra’s interest in the Human Brain Project comes from an interest in the close relationship between artificial intelligence (including but not limited to machine learning) and neuroscience, as well as aspects that are of much relevance to HBP research: data privacy and ethics.

Field of expertise: Artificial intelligence/Information technology/Data governance

EAB's Standard Operating Procedure

Curious about how the Ethics Advisory Board operates? We have developed a Standard Operating Procedure that contains further information on the roles and processes of the Ethics Advisory Board.

Anyone can request to address ethical, regulatory and social issues raised by HBP research.

Register an Ethical Concern