The Future of Responsible Brain Research

What is the future of responsible brain science? How should we advance work on neuroethics, society, and philosophy in research and innovation in the future, practically and conceptually? What is the status of approaches to developing more socially desirable and sustainable science and technology?  


On February 2, 2023, we invite you to join us online to reflect on these question. The discussion centres on three points of attention: 
  • Novel approaches to responsible research and Innovation  
  • The role, aim, purpose, challenges, and opportunities of interdisciplinary collaboration 
  • Future directions for developing more responsible brain science and for approaches to responsible research and innovation, including open science 

Join us on February 2, 2023 from 12:00 – 17:00 CET (Central European Time) in joint reflection and in finding suggestions for ways forward.


This event is hosted by the Responsible Research and Innovation team in the EU Human Brain Project (HBP). 

Exploring novel approaches to responsible research and innovation 

Start: 12:00pm CET 

The session is hosted by Lise Bitsch, senior project manager and lead on responsible research and innovation in the Human Brain Project, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation 

Panel participants: 

  • Rene von Schomberg, Senior Research Fellow at Kate Hamburger Kolleg Cultures of Research RWTH University of Aachen  
  • Stevienna de Saille, Lecturer in Sociology and Research Fellow, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield 
  • Bernd Stahl, Professor of Critical Research in Technology, Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham 
  • Nicklas Bådum, Senior Project Manager at The Danish Board of Technology 
  • Manuel Guerrero, Ph.D, Researcher, Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics at Uppsala University and Center for the Study of Applied Ethics University of Chile 
  • Karin Grasenick, Founder and Managing Partner, Convelop 

In this session we explore novel approaches to steering research and innovation towards socially desirable goals. Arguably social desirability and sustainability where two of the central ambitions formulated with the framework of responsible research and innovation. With their formulation also emerged a large diversity of experiments and practices. In the context of the 10-year Human Brain project, we had opportunity to develop and test several approaches to shaping brain science in more sustainable and desirable directions. This included exploring dialogical approaches to ethics, foresight, combined online and face-to-face methodologies for public and citizen engagement, working groups and other collaborative mechanisms. Standing at the end of this journey, we invite to a joint reflection on novel approaches, the state of responsible research and innovation practice, and more recent developments like the discourse on open science. 

Interdisciplinary collaboration: challenges, lessons learned and ways ahead 

Start: 13:10 CET 

This session is hosted by Inga Ulnicane, Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University and chair of HBP Dual Use Working Group 

Panel participants: 

  • Karen Rommelfanger, PhD., Founder, Institute of Neuroethics  
  • Nina María Frahm​, Postdoc, Department of Digital Design and Information Science, Aarhus University 
  • Michele Farisco, Postdoc Researcher, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics, Uppsala University 
  • Francisca Nordfalk, Ph.D, Project Manager at The Danish Board of Technology 
  • Simisola Akintoye, Senior Lecturer in Law, De Montfort University, Data Protection Officer, Human Brain Project 

Interdisciplinary collaboration remains one of the major challenges for responsible brain research. To align research with societal expectations, it is important that knowledge is co-produced in close collaboration between neuroscientists, computer scientists, engineers, social scientists and humanities researchers. However, as it is well-known, such collaborations across disciplinary boundaries face many challenges related to diverse disciplinary cultures, vocabularies, reward systems and hierarchies. 

Over the 10 years of the HBP, Ethics and Society group has created and engaged in various interdisciplinary endeavors including embedded tasks and project wide working groups. This session invites to reflect on challenges experienced, lessons learned and ways forward for interdisciplinary collaboration in brain research. 


Keynote speak by Marcello Ienca “On Brains and Machines: The Common Ethical Ground of AI and Neuroscience” 

Start: 14:55 CET 

This session is moderated by Arleen Salles, Senior Researcher at Uppsala University and leader of the  HBP’s Neuroethics and Engagement task 

Keynote speaker 

  • Marcello Ienca, Chair of Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience at Technical University of Munich 


Neuroscience is increasingly relying on the collection of large volumes of differently structured data and the use of machine learning algorithms for data analytics. In parallel, the ubiquitous collection of unconventional data sources (e.g. mobile health, digital phenotyping, consumer neurotechnology) is increasing the variety of data points. Approaches to Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as deep learning are showing great potential to make sense of these larger and heterogeneous data flows and are becoming standard features of neurotechnologies such as brain-computer interfaces. AI provides great opportunities for making new discoveries about the brain, improving current preventative and diagnostic models in both neurology and psychiatry and developing more effective assistive neurotechnologies. Concurrently, it raises many new methodological and ethical challenges. Given their transformative nature, it is still largely unclear how AI-driven approaches to the study of the human brain will meet adequate standards of scientific validity and affect normative instruments in neuroethics and research ethics. This presentation provides an overview of current AI-driven approaches to neuroscience and an assessment of the associated key methodological and ethical challenges. In particular, it will explore the common ethical ground between AI and neuroscience, and outline a collaborative roadmap for AI ethics and neuroethics.  

Future Perspectives on Responsible Brain Science 

Start: 15:45 CET 

This session is hosted by Kathinka Evers, Professor of Philosophy at the Centre  for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB) at Uppsala University and lead Ethics and Society in the Human Brain Project 

Expert Panel: 

  • Judy Illes, professor of Neurology, Distinguished University Scholar, and UBC Distinguished Professor in Neuroethics, Chair of the International Brain Initiative 
  • Caroline Montojo, PhD., Director, Dana Foundation 
  • Laura Y. Cabrera, Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Neuroethics, Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics and of Philosophy, Senior Research Associate Rock Ethics Institute, Chair, IEEE Brain Neuroethics Subcommittee 
  • Nikolaos Kastrinos, Team Leader Foresight, DG Research and Innovation, the European Commission 
  • Pawel Swieboda, CEO EBRAINS and Director General The Human Brain Project 

In the closing session, community leaders from a diversity of backgrounds give us their perspective on future directions for more responsible brain science, and for working on responsible science and innovation. 

The event finishes at 17:00 CET