Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation

Research on new substances and techniques that aim at improving learning abilities and intelligence have an ambivalent image. In NERRI, scientists, policy-makers, industry, civil society groups and the wider public engaged in mutual learning (MML) activities.

NERRI aimed at contributing to the introduction of Responsible Research and Innovation in neuro-enhancement (NE) in the European Research Area and to the shaping of a normative framework underpinning the governance of NE technologies. This was achieved through mobilisation and mutual learning (MML) activities engaging scientists, policy-makers, industry, civil society groups and the wider public.

To structure this complex socio-technical domain an Analytic Classification of NE technologies into currently available methods, experimental and hypothetical technologies was proposed. Each of the types raise some fundamental ethical, legal, social and economic issues, which have different relevance to various societal groups, point at different methods of stakeholder engagement, and require different regulatory approaches. Over the course of the project the Analytic Classification was developed and extended in the work packages.

Mobilisation formed the central commitment of the project from the outset to the conclusion. WP2 started with a reconnaissance of the field of NE and the mobilisation of scientists and other stakeholders. Based on the Analytic Classification, WP3 stimulated and organized a broad societal dialogue employing state-of-the-art engagement methodologies tailored to specific issues and stakeholders. In particular, the project focused on the hopes, fears and expectations of the wider public. WP4 synthesised the national experiences andmapped the contours of a normative framework as it emerged from societal engagement and dialogue and elaborate the concept of RRI in Europe. WP5 aimed to maximise the impact of the project outcomes throughout Europe through a variety of dissemination strategies.

The consortium comprised experts in the neurocognitive sciences, the social sciences and humanities and science communication.


03/2013 - 05/2016

Project team