In this training, you will learn about approaches to addressing dual use of concern, misuse and responsible research within the Human Brain Project and EBRAINS. 

Current and newly emerging insights and technologies arising from research in brain sciences increase capabilities to access, assess and affect thought, emotion and behaviour. While much of this research and development is directed towards clinical use, it also has applications in other settings, notably in the political, security, intelligence and military (PSIM) domains. This is often referred to in terms of "Dual Use". Many of these potential uses raise important social and ethical questions which demand the attention of all those involved in the research, administration, management and regulation of neuroscience research and related technological developments, including those in information and communication technologies (ICT) and robotics.

This module will introduce a novel approach to dual use of concern developed by the Ethics and Society team in the Human Brain Project. This approach goes beyond the traditional civil-military dichotomy understanding of dual use and considers broader societally beneficial and harmful uses including political, security, intelligence and military uses of concern. You will gain understanding of dual use of concern and misuse in brain research (including AI, robotics and computing), and learn about ways to identify and address potential concerns and misuse issues. In order to do that, you will learn about approaches such as Responsible Research and Innovation and the AREA framework of anticipation, reflection, engagement and action.

Dual Use Research of Concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology

In this presentation, Dr Inga Ulnicane introduces an approach to address dual-use research of concern developed in the Human Brain Project. Advances in neuroscience and neurotechnology come with promises of new treatments but they also present important societal and ethical concerns including those of dual use, misuse and unintended use.

Over the past eight years, the Responsible Research and Innovation team of the Human Brain Project has undertaken research, engagement and co-creation activities in collaboration with many stakeholders within and beyond the project to develop a novel approach to address these issues. This approach considers a broad range of potential concerns of using neuroscience and neurotechnology in political, security, intelligence, military and other areas. To identify and address potential concerns, our approach uses the RRI concept and its AREA (anticipation, reflection, engagement and action) framework focusing on societal needs. This approach has been outlined in our ‘Opinion on Responsible Dual Use. Political, Security, Intelligence and Military research of concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology.’

Responsible Research & Dual Use in the Human Brain Project and EBRAINS

In this presentation, Dr Manuel Guerrero introduces how ethical and social issues, such as dual use, are identified and addressed in the Human Brain Project and how that can be further developed in EBRAINS. EBRAINS is a new digital research infrastructure created by the Human Brain Project that gathers an extensive range of data and tools for brain-related research. EBRAINS capitalises on the work performed by the Human Brain Project teams in digital neuroscience, brain medicine, brain-inspired technology and Responsible Research and Innovation.

The novel approach presented goes beyond the current research ethics practice, based on ethics reviews by institutional review boards (IRB) and underpinned by ethical principlism, implementing Responsible Research and Innovation through dialogues in a bottom-up perspective, with support from different ethics-related processes and governance structures within the Human Brain Project such as the Ethics Rapporteur Programme, the Dual Use Working Group and an external Ethics Advisory Board.

Want to know more about Dual Use of Concern?

Keep reading on our Dual Use webpage!

Dual Use Webpage


Inga Ulnicane
De Montfort University
Dual Use Working Group

Manuel Guerrero
Uppsala University
Ethics Rapporteur Programme

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

Register an Ethical Concern

More Ethics & RRI 

The Human Brain Project will have an impact on both science and society.

We promote RRI practices within the HBP, and help to shape the direction of its research in ethically sound ways that serve the public interest. 

Learn about Ethics & RRI in the HBP!