The HBP is characterised by a profound and broad interdisciplinarity, and it is unique among the large international Brain Initiatives in having included social sciences and humanities in the core research from its very beginning devoting approximately 5% of the budget to this end.

The Ethics & Society research in the HBP has likewise been profoundly interdisciplinary, combining social science and foresight studies, philosophy and neuroethics, public engagement, community building and ethics support, in close collaboration with neuroscience and ICT. Our work has integrated theoretical research with practical applications and has resulted in new methodologies in neuroethics as well as in responsible research and innovation practices (RRI). In addition to scientific publications, we have jointly produced three documents analysing specific topics particularly relevant to the HBP. The goal is for each of those documents, known as Opinions, to be followed by an Action Plan to facilitate their implementation. At present we have the Opinion and Action Plan on ‘Data Protection and Privacy‘ (2017); the Opinion on ‘Responsible Dual Use’- Political, Security, Intelligence and Military Research of Concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology’ (2018); and the Opinion on ‘Trust and Transparency in Artificial Intelligence’ (2020). To finalise, we produced a an anthology ”Ethics and Society in Brain Research: Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the Human Brain Project (HBP)” with short reflections on our work over the course of the HBP.

The HBP was restructured as it entered its final phase (SGA3, 2020-23). The sub-project structure has been dismantled and replaced by a work-package structure. In addition to having established a dedicated RRI work-package wherein neuroethics, foresight, public engagement and ethics support join forces, philosophy, neuroethics, stakeholder engagement and data governance are now embedded as tasks integrated within the different scientific work-packages. This is a sign of success: it could only have happened through the successful collaborative efforts of the project as a whole.

Convinced of the need to promote awareness of the ethical and societal impact of the HBP and of how the project addressed the relevant issues, and mindful of the importance of including a wide range of stakeholders, as well as EU citizens,  we who have, from our different perspectives, been working with Ethics & Society issues for the entire duration of the HBP, have decided to give easy access to interested readers to what we have produced during these years, scientifically as well as practically.

We hope that this collection may be useful, notably to those interested in how social science, ethics and philosophy can become driving forces in scientific and technological development and ensure the responsible research and innovation in both theory and practice.

This brochure is a compilation listing articles, books, and reports produced by the researchers working on ethical, and social issues within the Human Brain Project (HBP, the European Community Flagship Project of Information and Computing Technologies (ICT) within the framework of the Future Emerging Technologies (FET) vision). These publications start from the Ramp-up phase launched in October 2013 and cover until the end of SGA3, September 30, 2023. The first version was published in October 2021, and has been updated again now that the project is ending.

Download our publications legacy: Social, ethical & reflective work in the Human Brain Project

Social, ethical and reflective work in the Human Brain Project

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Kathinka Evers
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