Dual Use


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.

For this reason, the Ethics and Society Sub-Project of the Human Brain Project has developed an "Opinion on ‘Responsible Dual Use". Political, Security, Intelligence and Military Research of Concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology’.

In this Opinion, we suggest that we can increase our ability to identify which programmes and projects of research, development and innovation are ‘of concern’ by applying the framework of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) to distinguish between "responsible" and "irresponsible" systems of research and technological development. We therefore use the term "dual use research of concern" (DURC) to refer to neuroscience research and technological innovations, and brain inspired developments in information and communication technologies, for use in the political, security, intelligence and military domains, which are either directly of concern because of their potential for use in ways that threaten the peace, health, safety, security and well-being of citizens, or are undertaken without responsible regard to such potential uses.

To ensure ongoing attention to these issues, the Opinion proposes recommendations for the Human Brain Project, the European Union and the wider neuroscience and ICT community. As a follow-up to the Opinion, the HBP Dual Use Working Group develops and implements actions in collaboration with Ethics Rapporteur ProgrammeHBP Education ProgrammeData Governance Working Group and others. 



If you have any questions about dual use or misuse issues in the HBP, please contact the Chair and Co-chair of the Dual Use Working Group. Alternatively, you can submit your questions via the HBP Point of Registration of Ethical Concerns PORE.

HBP Dual Use Activities & Resources


The HBP has undertaken a broad range of activities to address dual use issues including:

Ethics experts have positively evaluated HBP dual use activities as "a first promising step in the direction of awareness-enhancing strategies" (Ienca et al 2018: 273). 


Scientific Publications (Selection)


Ulnicane, I (2020) Governance of Dual Use Research in the EU: The Case of Neuroscience. In Emerging Security Technologies and EU Governance: Actors, Practices and Processes, edited by Antonio Calcara, Raluca Csernatoni, and Chantal Lavalée, 177-191. Routledge

Aicardi, C, S Akintoye, T Fothergill, M Guerrero, G Klinker, W Knight, L Klüver, Y Morel, F Morin, BC Stahl & I Ulnicane (2020) Ethical and Social Aspects of Neurorobotics. Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (5): 2533-2546 https://doi.org/10.1007/<wbr/>s11948-020-00248-8

Mahfoud T, C Aicardi, S Datta & N Rose (2018) The Limits of Dual UseIssues in Science and Technology, July 31, 2018.


Dual Use Working Group


Inga Ulnicane

Manuel Guerrero

Douglas Armstrong

Wim Vanduffel

Florent Gaillard

Björn Kindler

Francesca Cavallaro

Erica Borcel

Julia Quintero
HBP Education

Judith Kathrein
HBP Education

Andrew Rowley

Boris Orth

Damien Depannemaecker

Mallory Carlu

George Ogoh

Patricia Carvajal


Register an Ethical Concern

Anyone can requests to address ethical, regulatory and social issues in Human Brain Project research. The POint of REgistration (PORE) is HBP’s mechanism to register and identify these issues and keep track of how they are dealt with.

Register an Ethical Concern