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Scaling up neuroscience – Responsible Research and the big brain projects

Difficulty level
Beginner
Speaker
Duration
53:08
Topic

In this lecture, I consider some of the key social and ethical issues raised by the ‘big brain projects’ currently under way in Europe, the USA, China, Japan and many other regions. I will draw upon our own experience in the ‘ Foresight Lab’ of the HBP to discuss the ways in which these can usefully be approached from the perspective of responsible research and innovation and the AREA approach - anticipation, reflection, engagement and action. These include data protection, privacy and data governance; the search for ‘neural signatures’ of psychaitric and neurological disorders; ‘dual use’ or the military use of developments initially intended for clinical and civilian purposes; brain-computer interfaces and neural prosthetics; and the use of animals in brain research. Following a brief discussion of the challenges of translation from the lab to the real world, I will conclude by arguing that success in contemporary scientific research and innovation is best assured by openness, collaboration, sharing with fellow researchers; robust systems of data governance involving lay persons; frankness about realities of scientific research and innovation with fellow citizens; realism about complexities of links between researchers, publics and private enterprise; and understanding and engaging with the realities of science today in the real world.

Topics covered in this lesson
  • Key social and ethical issues raised by the ‘big brain projects’
  • Ways in which the ethical issues of the 'big brain projects' can usefully be approached from the perspective of responsible research and innovation and the AREA approach - anticipation, reflection, engagement and action
  • Challenges of translation from the lab to the real world