Ethics and Society

Ethics and Society is part of the Human Brain Project's research core. Through its social and philosophical research, public engagement and ethics support, 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's research in the humanities is crucial for identifying and addressing the conceptual, social, ethical, legal and cultural implications and challenges raised by HBP research. The focus is on foresight, neuroethics and philosophy, public engagement, and researcher awareness. Ethics and Society also translates ethics research into practice by providing ethics support and implementing compliance programmes for the HBP. It further collaborates with an independent Ethics Advisory Board (EAB), and  produces Opinions on the most immediately relevant ethical issues within the HBP.


Watch: Modern neuroscience raises fundamental questions about consciousness, intelligence and what makes us human.



Recent news

Coma patients might feel pleasure and pain like the rest of us. Emerging evidence suggests the unconscious can experience many of the things that conscious people do. What does this mean for medical ethics and even how we perceive ourselves as humans? Read more...

Beyond the legal requirements of data driven research. Newsletter on the outcome of a seminar at which HBP researchers joined with leading neurologists, personal data managers, bioethicists, legal advisers and patient representatives to discuss the ethical and legal challenges to setting up and participating in data driven research. Read the newsletter...

Large-scale Brain Simulation and Disorders of Consciousness. Mapping Technical and Conceptual Issues. Farisco M, Kotaleski JH and Evers K (2018) Front. Psychol. 9:585. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00585. Read more...

Proactive Engagement with Ethics and Privacy in AI and Big Data - Implementing responsible research and innovation in AI-related projects. Stahl, B.C. and Wright, D. (2018)  IEEE Security and Privacy. Read more...

"Accompanying technology development in the Human Brain Project: From foresight to ethics management, Futures, 2018." Christine Aicardi, B. Tyr Fothergill, Stephen Rainey, Bernd Carsten Stahl, Emma Harris. Read the article...

Foresight and Researcher Awareness

The Foresight Lab at King's College London  focuses on identifying and evaluating the future impact of new knowledge and technologies generated by the HBP using a range of methods including action research, interviews, participant observation, literature reviews, surveys and expert workshops.

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Neuroethics and Philosophy

Neuroscientific research and emerging neurotechnologies afford several conceptual, social, ethical, and regulatory issues, from potential privacy threats to understanding consciousness and the meaning of human and personal identity. Neuroethics focuses on those issues.

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We organise and facilitate dialogues with the public on potentially controversial issues and those of immediate relevance to the HBP. Our vision is to engage European society in setting the direction for HBP research and innovation and broaden the debate on the ethical, legal and societal issues arising from the project.

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Ethics Support

What ethical issues does the HBP raise and what ethical principles are used to regulate research? HBP research involves collecting information about people (personal data). The ethical principles of confidentiality, informed consent, not causing harm or suffering to participants, and secure storage of data are all followed.

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