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.