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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 innovationand 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 HBPand E BRAINS,  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're organized

Our work is organised in five tasks:

  • WP9 coordination and management (Task T9.1) 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.
  • Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) (Task T9.2) 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. 
  • Neuroethics and engagement (Task T9.3) 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 HBPP 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
  • Ethics coordination and communication (Task T9.4) 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.
  • Gender mainstreaming and diversity management (Task T9.5) 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 diversiyt dimensions Human Brain Project.

Publication highlights

  • Salles, A., Evers, K., Farisco, M.  (2020) Antrhopomorphism in AI. AJOB Neuroscience 11 (2), 88-95.
  • Salles, A., Farisco, M.  (2020) Of Ethical Frameworks and Neuroethics in Big Neuroscience Projects: a view from the HBP. AJOB Neuroscience 11 (3), 167-175 (2020).
  • Farisco, M., Evers, K. & Salles, A.  (2020) Towards Establishing Criteria for the Ethical Analysis of Artificial Intelligence. Sci Eng Ethics 26, 2413–2425.
  • Ulnicane, I. Ever-changing Big Science and Research Infrastructures: Evolving European Union policy. In KC. Cramer & O. Hallonsten (Eds.) Big Science and Research Infrastructures in Europe (Original work published in 2020)
  • Northoff, G., Wainio-Theberge, S. & Evers, K. (2020) Is temporo-spatial dynamics the “common currency” of brain and mind? In Quest of “Spatiotemporal Neuroscience”. Physics of Life Reviews 33, 34-54 ).
  • Evers, K. (2020) The Culture-Bound Brain: Epigenetic Proaction Revisited. Theoria, Online first, 8 July .
  • Fothergill, B. T., Knight, W., Stahl, B. C., & Ulnicane, I. (2019). Responsible Data Governance of Neuroscience Big Data. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 13.
  • Stahl, B. C., Akintoye, S., Fothergill, B. T., Guerrero, M., Knight, W., & Ulnicane, I. (2019). Beyond Research Ethics: Dialogues in Neuro-ICT Research. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13.
  • Grasenick, K. (2019). Same, same –or different? Common Challenges in Neuroscience, AI, Medical Informatics, Robotics and New Insights with Diversity & Ethics. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from
  • Kleinberger-Pierer, Magdalena und Pohn-Weidinger, Simon and Grasenick, Karin (2020) Fair projects - bad data? Evaluating the gender balance in science projects. fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation (50). pp. 60-71. ISSN 1726-6629
  • Karin Grasenick, Manuel Guerrero, Responsible Research and Innovation & Digital Inclusiveness during Covid-19 Crisis in the Human Brain Project (HBP), Journal of Responsible Technology(2020), doi: