Work Package 9


Responsible Research and Innovation

What we do


Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a wide umbrella connecting different aspects of the relationship between research and innovation and society. Through our social and philosophical research, public engagement and ethics support, WP9 promotes RRI practices within the HBP, and helps to shape the direction of its research in ethically sound ways that serve the public interest.

We have worked to support a broad and comprehensive approach to RRI, ethics and societal impacts of brain research in the HBP since 2013. In the final phase of the Project, our work focuses  on finding ways to design and embed responsible research practices into EBRAINS, the international research infrastructure that the HBP  will leave as its legacy.

Our research and activities are intended to  increase  understanding and  implementation of RRI,  and to promote the development of RRI capacities within  the HBP and EBRAINS, and to further collaboration with other big brain projects in addressing ethical and societal issues, as well as increasing engagement and uptake of societal input for the development of EBRAINS.

We are joining forces with external stakeholders, citizens, and other international brain initiatives to:

  • explore and develop recommendations and strategies for managing short-term and long-term ethical issues raised by brain research (e.g. human rights, data protection, ethics standards, misuse/dual use, and good clinical practice, including diversity in research),
  • develop policies, procedures and training modules for the EBRAINS infrastructure to ensure it can operate in a legal and morally acceptable way,
  • coordinate and manage ethical issues raised by HBP research, monitor and lead work on diversity, and
  • communicate and disseminate our insights and achievements.

Responsible research and innovation concerns the whole Project. We are responsible for the Ethics and RRI coordination efforts, EBRAINS community building, Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management. In our engagement, outreach and communication efforts, we also collaborate with all other Work Packages of the HBP.

How we are organised


WP9 has five key Tasks supporting its framework:

Task T9.1 WP9 coordination and management leads and coordinates the work on RRI across the HBP, and works to ensure implementation of Responsible Research and Innovation principles throughout the Human Brain Project and EBRAINS.

Task T9.2 Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) makes sure the Project continues to be developed responsibly and in accordance with ethical and legal regulations and principles, including human rights, data protection, ethics standards, and good clinical practice by undertaking research and developing advice. Monitoring political, security, intelligence, and military uses/misuses of scientific and technological findings as well as responding to current ethical and societal concerns raised from the Human Brain Project form the remit of the Task. 

Task T9.3 Neuroethics and engagement undertakes conceptual and normative reflection on the ethical, social, cultural, and philosophical issues that drive and arise from brain research.  This includes critical  examination of  issues arising from the design and implementation of the HBP research and from EBRAINS and normative discussion of the long-term consequences and implications of brain research. This Task also undertakes joint work on public engagement with the International Brain Initiative (IBI), and runs cross-EU public engagement activities to identify European values and concerns, and their relation to the values and ethical concerns that drive neuroethics across different cultures

Task T9.4 Ethics coordination and communication coordinates the management of ethical issues across the Human Brain Project. This includes the interaction with the European Commission and its ethics reviewers for ethics checks, ethics reviews, or ethics audits, as well as coordinating all work on ethics across all Work Packages in the Project. The Task also includes the ethics rapporteur programme, and communications activities to promote RRI in the Human Brain Project.

Task T9.5 Gender mainstreaming and diversity management addresses issues related to gender, diversity and equal opportunities across the Human Brain Project. Gender mainstreaming and diversity management are cross cutting issues that are relevant to achieving objectives in all Work Packages. This Task is responsible for gender monitoring and fostering equal opportunities in the HBP community, for example though activities and measures related to leadership culture and career develoment. The Task also contributes to the integration of diversity dimensions in the Human Brain Project.

Publication highlights


Aicardi, C., Akintoye, S., Fothergill, B.T. et al. Ethical and Social Aspects of Neurorobotics. Sci Eng Ethics 26, 2533–2546 (2020).

Arleen Salles, Kathinka Evers & Michele Farisco (2020) Anthropomorphism in AI, AJOB Neuroscience, 11:2, 88-95, DOI: 10.1080/21507740.2020.1740350


Methodological Concept for citizen engagement useful as a foundation for global citizen engagement.

Guidelines and tools for reflecting on gender and diversity in brain research and governance in research projects

The EDI Toolkit supports projects in integrating EDI (Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) in their research content and as guiding principles for team collaboration. It is designed for everyday usage by offering the Governance Section on how to set a framework for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion among Project members and the Research Section on how to consider diversity in your research content and methodological approaches. Note that gender is thereby considered as a key area that intersects with further diversity traits.



Work Package Leader: Lise Bitsch (maternity leave) 

Work Package Deputy Leader, acting WP leader: Manuel Guerrero

Work Package Manager: Nicklas Bådum & Augusta Bennedbaek

Webpage editor: Anna Holm