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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.

Informed Consent & Data Protection


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

We facilitate research-based ethics dialogues with HBP members, Ethics Rapporteurs and the Ethics Advisory Board to support reflection, good practice and compliance. We develop good practices for ethics support processes, combining empirical research and practice as part of the HBP’s approach to Responsible Research and Innovation.

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Ethics And Society Opinions

Opinion on Responsible Dual Use, Political, Security, Intelligence and Military Research Of Concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology  Read The Opinion... 1.2 MB

Opinion on Data Protection and Privacy Read The Opinion... 




Selected Publications
Our psychiatric future. (2019). Rose, Nikolas. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 978-0745689128. Read a preview.
Report from the AI 360 Copenhagen workshop (2019) Lise Bitsch, Sita Ramchandra Kotnis and Aske Palsberg, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation
The Need for a Conceptual Expansion of Neuroethics (2019)  Salles A. Evers K. & Farisco M. (2019) AJOB Neuroscience, 10:3, 126-128. 
Indicators and criteria of consciousness in animals and intelligent machines: an inside-out approach (2019) Pennartz C, Farisco M, Evers K. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.
Intersectional observations of the Human Brain Project’s approach to sex and gender (2019) Fothergill, T., W.Knight, B.C.Stahl and I.Ulnicane  Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 17(2)
Responsible Data Governance of Neuroscience Big Data (2019) Fothergill BT, Knight W, Stahl BC and Ulnicane I. Front. Neuroinform. 13:28. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2019.00028
Beyond Research Ethics: Dialogues in Neuro-ICT Research (2019) Stahl BC, Akintoye S, Fothergill BT, Guerrero M, Knight W and Ulnicane I. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 13:105. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00105  
The Human Brain Project: Responsible Brain Research for the Benefit of Society(2019). Salles A. Bjaalie J.G. Evers K. Farisco M. Fothergill T. Guerrero M. Maslen H. Muller J. Prescott T. Stahl B. Walter H. Zilles K. Amunts K. 
Understanding Interstate Competitiveness and International Security in European Dual-Use Research. (2018) Burton, S. D., Aicardi, C., Mahfoud, T., & Rose, N. In Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (pp. 129-133). Springer, Cham. Read the acrticle.
The Limits of Dual Use. (2018). Mahfoud, T., Aicardi, C., Datta, S., & Rose, N. Issues in Science and Technology34(4), 73-78. Read the article.
Accompanying technology development in the Human Brain Project: From foresight to ethics management. (2018). Aicardi A.  Fothergil T.B. Rainey S.  Stahl B.C.  Harris E.. Futures. " Read the article...
Drug addiction: from Neuroscience to Ethics. (2018) Farisco M. Evers K. Changeux J.P. Read the article.
Neuroethics Questions to Guide Ethical Research in the International Brain Initiatives (2018) Global Neuroethics Summit Delegates, Rommelfanger K, Jeong  Sung-Jin  Ema A Fukushi T. Kasai K, Ramos K. Salles A, Singh I. Read the article
“Brief nr. 7: Dealing with dual use of HBP research  - The citizens’ perspective“ (24.08.2018). Read the article...

“Citizens' View on Neuroscience and Dual Use - Online Consultation”, Nicklas Bang Bådum and Marie Louise Jørgensen. Read the article...

“European Citizens’ View on Neuroscience and Dual Use - Synthesis Report of Citizen Workshops”, Nicklas Bang Bådum and Marie Louise Jørgensen. Read the article...

Neuroethics and Philosophy in Responsible Research and Innovation: the Case of the HBP. Salles A, Evers K. Farisco M (/2018) Read the article...

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...

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...

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