The Caixa Impulse Innovation for Society is a program for the development of bio-health projects that will take place mainly in Barcelona, from 12 December 2016 to July 2017 (end date to be confirmed). The “la Caixa” Foundation funded program will offer participants 23 days of face-to-face activities and around 150 hours of specialist training and workshops.
The program has opened the call for proposals in the fields of Healthcare and Medical and Life Sciences, interested in transferring research assets from the lab to society and the market.
On Friday, 26 February, will take place the second session of the initiative “ Progressing with and for you: Scientific Coffees about Rare Diseases“. On this occasion, the central topic will be the intellectual disability and it will count with the participation of Andrés Ozaita, Principal Investigator at the Lab of Neuropharmacology of DCEXS from Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Victoria Campuzano, researcher at the Genetics Unit of DCEXS and member of CIBERER; Gemma Aznar, attached doctor at the neuropediatrics query of Hospital del Mar, andÓscar García, coordinator of the Research Group on Child and Environment Program of Neuroscience at the Institute Hospital del Mar Medical Research.
The next 25th of February from 18h to 20h, the Studies Centre on Science, Communication and Society of Pompeu Fabra University (SCS-UPF) will organize a workshop on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as the final event to celebrate the ending of the NERRI Project (Neuro-enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation). The event is open to the public and will take place at the Charles Darwin room of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). The workshop is structured to discover the different models of citizen participation in the framework of the experience with NERRI. The main results of the project will be analyzed, in particular, the opinions and attitudes of the European citizenship towards the research and application of techniques to increase cognitive capacities in healthy individuals (memory, calculus, concentration capacity, etc.).
The Studies Center on Science, Communication and Society from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (SCS-UPF) has started a working group in the framework of the NERRI project to focus on the neuro-enhancement (NE) applied to minors. The initiative was presented during the Consortium Meeting of the project in Rome on June 22nd and 23rd, where all members had the chance to speak their minds on the idea and contribute with their experience. From now on and until the end of August, NERRI partners will share the data related to the topic of “NE in Minors” collected during their local events. Two of these members have already joined the initiative: Experimentarium (Denmark) and IBMC (Portugal). However, the group is still open for any other partner to join!
The initiative was born when the first MML activities showed that there was the need to further study NE specifically applied to minors. This group deserves a special consideration because of two main reasons: firstly, because the plasticity of their brain is the highest it will get in life (and thus, the impact of NE can be the greatest); and secondly, because they depend on adults and have a limited freedom of choice. Moreover, one of the project reports (D3.3) showed that many people thought that minors should be protected from the harmful effects of NE through an institutional regulation, and it is also important to bear in mind the social pressure experienced by some minors in our increasingly competitive society.
The working group “NE in Minors” wants to write a final report to reflect on the experience, which could be presented and discussed in the final Consortium Meeting of NERRI –or even sent to international conferences related to the topic (for example, conferences on ethics, neurology, education).
[This article is based on the NERRI Newsletter contribution on July 2015 from SCS-UPF]
The NERRI project meets in Rome: next steps to continue the research on the social perception of neuro-enhancement
The European project NERRI (Neuro-Enhancement Responsible Research and Innovation), in which Universitat Pompeu Fabra is one of the members through the Science, Communication and Society Studies Centre (SCS-UPF), is meeting next 22nd and 23rd of June in Rome. A recapitulation of all the activities organized by partners will be done, and the next steps towards the end of the project will be defined.
In Barcelona, three activities have been organized in the framework of the NERRI project since last November: a focus group with biomedical research staff and medical students, a Play Decide in the Science, Technology and Innovation festival NOVUM, and a Play Decide with the students of the masters’ programme on Science, Medical and Environmental Communication (UPF-IDEC). These three experiences, together with their respective evaluations, are of great interest for the project since they help understand the perception that different social group have towards neuro-enhancement. Moreover, the NERRI project was presented in the PACITA conference on technology assessment, together with other NERRI members from the UK, Austria and Germany.
Furthermore, the Twitter account @nerrispain has been operational since February 2015. Through this portal, information related to the project and interesting links on neuro-enhancement are shared.
Internationally, the NERRI consortium is composed of 18 institutions from 11 different countries. Some of the activities undertaken during these months include the First European Brain Council Board Meeting in Brussels, the brain hackathon “Hack the Brain” in London, a NERRI World Café on neuro-technology and society in Enschede (The Netherlands), or the workshop “Shaking the brain: cognitive enhancement” in Lisbon.
The NERRI project is a three-year initiative funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. The project applies the concept of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) to the field of neuro-enhancement. This discipline studies how to improve individual cognitive abilities with the use of technologies, methods or substances. There are two kinds of neuro-enhancement: therapeutic (addressed to people that suffer from a disease and want to improve their health), and non-therapeutic (used by healthy people that want to improve their cognitive abilities). That is, someone who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and takes a medicine to treat it (like modafinil), is an example of therapeutic neuro-enhancement. A case of non-therapeutic neuro-enhancement would be a healthy individual takes that same medicine in order to focus more and study better for an exam. The NERRI project wants to know what do people think about neuro-enhancement and prepare a set of recommendations addressing the future regulation in the field.