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.



  • Bard, I., Gaskell, G., Allansdottir, A., Vieira da Cunha, R., Eduard, P., Hampel, J., et al. (2018). Bottom Up Ethics – Neuroenhancement in Education and Employment. Neuroethics, 11, 309-322. doi:10.1007/s12152-018-9366-7
  • Fuchs, D., Capari, L., & Torgersen, H. (2018). Neuroenhancement und TA-Verantwortung. (M. Decker, Lindner, R., Lingner, S., Scherz, C., & Sotoudeh, M., Eds.), NTA7 Proceedings: "Grand Challenges" meistern – der Beitrag der Technikfolgenabschätzung. Baden-Baden: Nomos – edition sigma. Retrieved from
  • Gaskell, G. et al (co-author: H. T. ). (2017). Public views on gene editing and its uses. Nature Biotechnology, 35, 1021-1023. Retrieved from
  • Torgersen, H. (2017). Neuroenhancement – (k)ein Thema? (ITA-manu:script 17-01). doi:10.1553/ITA-ms-17-01
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2016). Neuroenhancement: old dreams, sober reality. ITA-Dossier no. 24en (November 2016; Author: Helge Torgersen). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-024en
  • Lösch, A., Böhle, K., Coenen, C., Dobroć, P., Ferrari, A., Heil, R., et al. (2016). Technikfolgenabschätzung von soziotechnischen Zukünften. Retrieved from
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2016). Hirndoping – alte Träume, ernüchternde Realität. ITA-Dossier Nr. 24 (November 2016; Autor: Helge Torgersen). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-024
  • Bayer, T. (2016). Brain doping – alles nur ein Hirngespinst?. Retrieved from
  • Riedlinger, D. (2016). Neue Studie zu „Hirndoping“. Retrieved from
  • Kastenhofer, K., & Torgersen, H. (2016). Transhumanismus und Neuroenhancement: technowissenschaftliche Visionen als Herausforderung für die Technikfolgenabschätzung. Fiff-Kommunikation, 52-56. Retrieved from
  • Riedlinger, D. (2016). Einladung zur Projektpräsentation: Kluge Grenzen oder grenzenlos klug? Wie sinnvoll ist geistige Leistungssteigerung?. Retrieved from
  • Kastenhofer, K., & Torgersen, H. (2015). Spekulative Verantwortung. Rolle und Praxis von TA am Beispiel von 'Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation'. In A. Bogner, Decker, M., & Sotoudeh, M. (Eds.), Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS) (Tran.), Responsible Innovation – Neue Impulse für die Technikfolgenabschätzung? (pp. 349-356). Baden-Baden: Nomos/edition sigma.
  • Torgersen, H. (2015). Kaffeehaus 4.0. Eine Neuroertüchtigung, Nr. 196, 86-89.
  • Torgersen, H. (2015). Neuroenhancement – a thought experiment, xx.
  • Fuchs, D., Torgersen, H., & Bauer, A. (2015). Implementation Plan: Towards a White Paper on Neuroenhancement. Deliverable Report 4.1 for NERRI WP4: Governance of RRI. Wien.
  • Torgersen, H. (2014). Making sense of “responsible research and innovation” in Neuro-Enhancement. Nerri News [Online]. Retrieved from
  • Riedlinger, D. (2013). Forschungspolitisch mitreden. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from
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Conference Papers/Speeches

Conference Papers/Speeches

  • 13/10/2016 , Bergen
    Helge Torgersen,  Karen Kastenhofer: 
    Options for technology assessment in a techno-scientific innovation regime
    8th Annual S.Net meeting: The Co-Production of Emerging Bodies, Politics and Technologies
  • 04/12/2015 , Wien
    Helge Torgersen,  Karen Kastenhofer: 
    Speculative responsibility and the hermeneutic turn in TA
    Living in Technoscientific Worlds. International Conference Celebrating the Launch of STS Austria
  • 04/06/2014 , Wien
    Helge Torgersen,  Karen Kastenhofer: 
    Spekulative Verantwortung – Rolle und Praxis von TA am Beispiel von 'Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research & Innovation'
    Responsible Innovation. Neue Impulse für die Technikfolgenabschätzung? Internationale Konferenz NTA6-TA14
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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2012-1 under grant agreement n° 321464. Any opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Community.
("Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation")


03/2013 - 05/2016

Project team