Public Engagement & Dialogue

 

 
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation leads the Human Brain Project workpackage on Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) within the HBP and the task on Inclusive Community Building for EBRAINS. One of HBPs major innovations is to develop a new digital research infrastructure EBRAINS to help advance neuroscience, medicine, and computing. The HBP is committed to RRI, which is seen as the wide umbrella connecting different aspects of the relationships between research, innovation, and society. The goal during this last phase of the HBP is to produce the groundwork that will allow EBRAINS to be a central research infrastructure within neuroscience for the EU and the world, with integrated RRI principles and an inclusive and thriving community.

Public Engagement in the HBP

To inform the work with RRI, we organize and facilitate public engagement on potentially controversial issues of relevance to the HBP. Public engagement gives the society outside of the HBP a chance to influence how research is being made in accordance with RRI principles. Furthermore, public engagement also actively informs citizens and stakeholders on the potential within brain research and sheds light on potential ethical dilemmas and future societal benefits.

Engagement methods are central to our Community Building activities. Broad stakeholder dialogues and involvement support a thriving community, which can make use of EBRAINS and ensure its further development. 

Citizen and stakeholder engagement

Responding to ethical and societal issues can be challenging, particularly in a research setting. We help researchers understand how they may utilise and implement public insight and opinions while planning and carrying out their research, helping them to heighten the positive impact and benefit for society.

HBP public engagement activities aim at addressing concerns and opinions of EU citizens about social, ethical, cultural, and legal issues related to the HBP. With a stronger understanding of the perspectives of citizens, the HBP can communicate better and promote more responsible research that takes the publics’ perspectives into account.

To understand the views and opinions of the public, the FT have designed and carried out a series of citizen engagement processes, facilitating an informed discussion on neuroethical subjects of interest, identified by HBP researchers and the International Brain Initiative (IBI).

Large scale public engagement has previously been conducted on the neuroethics of Artificial Intelligence, in Dual Use and in Data Governance. The next large scale public engagement will be on the topic of Disease Signatures and will be held under the title Mixing of Minds (MoM). This series of public engagement workshops will take place in November 2021 in six countries around Europe (TBD).

Long-term implications and foresight

Our work focuses on finding ways to design and embed responsible research practices into EBRAINS. A key objective is to develop ´foresight´, which is the practice of looking ahead, to envision potential future developments and changes. FT provides HBP with such foresight and perspectives on short and long-term ethical and societal issues that may form roadblocks for the HBP and EBRAINS. FT is developing a toolkit for EBRAINS to support RRI in practice, which is anticipatory and reflective by design, while also being easy for researchers to pick up – why HBP researchers from across the project are involved in its design through concluded and upcoming workshops. The intention of this toolkit is to provide the best possible framework for foresight through public engagement activities. The toolkit enhances preparedness for possible ethical concerns and empowers HBP researchers and stakeholders to reflect on their work, their role in their work, and the work’s justification and broader implications.

Community Building

The FT is also leading the task on Inclusive Community Building, which is creating the foundation for a growing and self-sustaining community around the EBRAINS research infrastructure. The goal of community building is to create increase societal benefit, by ensuring that a broad range of stakeholders are engaged in the infrastructure, its development and the research being conducted.

This work will ensure that a community is created across the scientific disciplines represented in the HBP, and will be comprised both of members that are using the scientific tools and data of EBRAINS and of a wider circle of relevant stakeholders, e.g., industry partners, clinicians, patient associations, relevant networks, and fonds, etc. Amongst other things, this will allow for novel collaborations and support end-user directed research.

 

Visit the Danish Board of Technology website to learn more about this work. 

 

Contact us

Main contact: 
Anja Hansen
ah@tekno.dk

Address: 
Arnold Nielsens Boulevard 68E,
2650 Hvidovre, Denmark

Website:
www.tekno.dk

Email:
tekno@tekno.dk

Telephone: +45 33 32 05 03

 

 

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