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. Ethics and Society comprises the following Work Packages (WP):


The HBP Foresight Lab

This WP identifies potential ethical and social concerns at an early stage by producing scenarios of potential developments and implications, produces reports and publications, and feeds these back to the HBP researchers to build capacity to adapt to differing uncertain futures.


Neuroethics and Philosophy

This WP performs philosophical, ethical and social analyses of HBP key activities and issues, thereby contributing to the conceptual and epistemological development of neuro- and computational sciences; and the reflective capacity of HBP researchers and others in addressing societal implications.


Public Dialogue and Engagement

The goal of this WP is to assist the HBP in creating a constructive dialogue with public and private stakeholders, and with the general public. The WP maintains an intense engagement with points of view external to the HBP, thereby identifying emerging controversies, and formulating recommendations for HBP research organisation and research priorities.


Ethics Management

Ethics Management develops ethics governance measures to ensure compliance, reflection, and engagement with ethics among the entire HBP. It works with all ethics stakeholders to ensure that the ethics-related activities of the scientific and technical SPs are collected and communicated, and ensures open interaction between SP12's wider research and other SPs. This ensures that ethical issues are managed to the highest standards within the HBP and develops international good practice. More information on Ethics Management is available on the dedicated webpage


SP Leader: Kathinka EVERS

Deputy SP Leader: Jean-Pierre CHANGEUX

Work Package Leaders:


The Foresight Lab  (King's College London)

Neuroethics and Neurophilosophy  (Uppsala Universitet)

Public Engagement in the Human Brain Project  (Fonden Teknologi Rådet)

Publication Highlights

Farisco, M., Evers, K., Salles, A. (2016). Big Science, Brain Simulation and Neuroethics AJOB Neuroscience, 7, 28-30.

Evers, K., Changeux, J-P. (2016). Proactive epigenesis and ethical innovation: A neuronal hypothesis for the genesis of ethical rules EMBO Reports, 17, 1361-1364.

Evers, K. (2016). The contribution of neuroethics to international brain research initiatives Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18, 1-2.