Ethics Awareness in the Human Brain Project
Researcher Awareness is a core aspect of Responsible Research and Innovation in action, aiming to enhance capacity for the ‘ongoing’ ethical and social reflection and corresponding action among researchers and technicians beyond the minimum requirements of legal and ethical compliance. With that aim, the HBP’s researcher awareness related activities offer a wide selection of methods, tools, concepts and perspectives to integrate reflexive knowledge into research and innovation practices.
The Researcher Awareness Task
The Researcher Awareness Task aims to enhance capacity for ethical and social reflection and corresponding action among researchers at all levels within each Workpackage of the Human Brain Project. This work is a core aspect of Responsible Research and Innovation in action, providing anticipatory and reflective dimensions for considering the ethical implications of research, direct engagement with a range of internal stakeholders, and a way of receiving and incorporating feedback into practice. This Task is carried out by Manuel Guerrero, from the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB) at Uppsala University.
The Researcher Awareness Task aims to ensure that research insights are translated into researcher capacities that reach beyond disciplinary and regulatory frameworks, and in doing so, embed reflection within research, strengthen researcher responsibility, and maintain and build upon the existing intra-HBP networks, such as Ethics Rapporteur network, thus making for a well-integrated research environment overall.
The Researcher Awareness Task implements capacity-enhancing exercises through workshops and other activities designed to facilitate reflection beyond the minimum requirements of legal and ethical compliance. Participants in researcher awareness activities, identify and critically reflect, individually or as an organisation, on underlying purposes of, motivations for, and values underpinning research and innovation; risks, uncertainties, areas of ignorance and ethical dilemmas; own institutional practices, behaviours and approaches to knowledge production for research and innovation.
- Develops strategic links among HBP researchers and structures and with other bodies relevant to raising awareness of ethics and societal issues in HBP research;
- Explores the normative horizon in HBP research, drawing upon ethics issues, researcher and public perceptions, and broad socio-political contexts of research;
- Institutes and publicises an internal series of actions designed to target specific issues, research tasks, or areas of interest and responsively supply useful, succinct and reliable material is provided to researchers that augment their native research field skills (e.g. Ethics Rapporteurs and Dual Use Working Group activities); and
- Ensures continuous development of Researcher Awareness aims through workshop programmes and other actions to implement ‘ongoing reflection’ and enhance capacity concerning ethics and society matters.
Examples of Researcher Awareness work include:
- Participation in HBP Education Programme Committee and HBP Curriculum Course Director for Research Ethics and Societal Impact course series
- Curation of the HBP Curriculum on Interdisciplinary Brain Science “Research Ethics and Societal Impact” online course (12 lectures; 1.5 ECTS credits) and Scientific Chair of HBP Education workshops for researchers on “Responsible Research: Ethical challenges”
- Interdisciplinary workshops to facilitate social and ethical reflection such as “Ethics and Neurorobotics” and participation in scientific publications on Ethical and Social Aspects of Neurorobotics
- Networking sessions on Dual-use and sustainability in science at HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research
- Activities at the HBP Summit and other major events
- Contributions to the Ethics Dialogues blog
Manuel Guerrero, Uppsala University