What is Neuroethics?
- Neuroethics is a field that studies the ethical, legal, and societal implications of neuroscience.
- The strategic plan for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, emphasizes: “Although brain research entails ethical issues that are common to other areas of biomedical science, it entails special ethical considerations as well. Because the brain gives rise to consciousness, our innermost thoughts and our most basic human needs, mechanistic studies of the brain have already resulted in new social and ethical questions.” Neuroethics can help address these questions.
What is the NIH BRAIN Initiative’s Neuroethics Working Group (NEWG)?
- The NEWG is a group of experts in neuroethics and neuroscience that serves to provide the NIH BRAIN Initiative with input relating to neuroethics. The group was formed in the summer of 2015.
- The NEWG is one part of the neuroethics efforts of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
What does the Neuroethics Working Group do?
- Identify ethical challenges in the development and/or application of BRAIN Initiative-funded tools and technologies.
- Anticipate ethical challenges in proposed areas of BRAIN Initiative funding.
- Provide input on ways The BRAIN Initiative® could navigate these neuroethics challenges.
- Provide ethics consultation to researchers funded by The BRAIN Initiative®, when appropriate.
- Identify neuroethics research questions important to The BRAIN Initiative® that could be addressed through focused Funding Opportunity Announcements
- Publish guidance on key ethical challenges associated with BRAIN Initiative-funded research.
Working Group Member List
- Co-chair Nita Farahany, JD, PhD
Duke School of Law
- Co-chair Christine Grady, MSN, PhD
Chief, NIH Department of Bioethics
- Winston Chiong, MD, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
- James Eberwine, PhD
University of Pennsylvania (MCWG member)
- L. Syd M Johnson, PhD
SUNY Upstate Medical University
- Caroline Montojo, PhD
The Dana Foundation
- Karen Rommelfanger, PhD
- Elba Serrano, PhD
New Mexico State University (MCWG member)
- Sameer Sheth, MD, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine (MCWG member)
Designated Federal Official
- Andrea Beckel-Mitchener, PhD
Deputy Director, NIH BRAIN Initiative
Science Committee Specialist
- Nina Hsu, PhD
Office of Neuroscience Communications and Engagement, Office of the Director, NINDS
- Saskia Hendriks, MD, PhD
Office of Neuroscience Communications and Engagement, Office of the Director, NINDS; NIH Department of Bioethics
- Deborah Freaner
Division of Extramural Activities, NINDS
- The fifteenth meeting of the NEWG will be on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023. The meeting agenda (PDF, 138KB) is available and NIH Videocast will be available for live viewing and later archived.
- The sixteenth meeting of the NEWG will be on Monday, August 28th, 2023. Videocast will be available for live viewing and later archived.
Continuing Trial Responsibilities (May 2022)
Participants of implanted neural device trials may have research-related care needs after the trial has ended. While there is general agreement on shared responsibility to facilitate some of these needs, it remains unclear how to meet these needs in practice.
This workshop convened representatives from most stakeholders involved in implanted neural device trials for discussions on identifying research-related care needs; understanding what different stakeholders can/could provide; determining minimum research-related care needs and cases when stakeholders have additional responsibilities; and considering strategies for addressing insufficiently covered research-related care needs.
Goal: Propose potential solutions for defining and managing reasonable expectations around research-related care plans after a trial ends.
The workshop was organized by the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
May 24-25, 2022 meeting agenda (PDF, 195KB)
May 24-25, 2022 meeting summary (PDF, 416KB)
Research with Human Neural Tissue (March 2018)
- Discussed the state of the science for research with ex vivo brain tissue and human brain organoids, and the ethical implications of this research.
- Goal: to discuss considerations for responsibly supporting these areas of science.
- The workshop was organized by the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
- March 28, 2018 agenda (PDF - 140 KB)
- March 28, 2018 summary (PDF - 220 KB)
- Archived video of the March 28, 2018 workshop
Ethical Issues in Research with Invasive and Non-Invasive Neural Devices in Humans (October 2017)
- Considered ethical issues and practical approaches specific to research with invasive and non-invasive neural devices. After a brief overview of the state of the science with neural devices three specific ethical challenges were discussed: the analysis of risk and invasiveness, challenges in informed consent, and post-trial responsibilities.
- Goal: to draft points to consider on these topics for investigators, IRB members, and BRAIN Initiative program officers, as well as to identify areas where more research and guidance is needed.
- Organized by The NIH Clinical Center Department of Bioethics in association with the Neuroethics Working Group of the Multi-Council Working Group of the NIH BRAIN Initiative
- October 26, 2017 Agenda (PDF - 380KB)
- Archived video of the October 26, 2017 workshop
The fourteenth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred virtually on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022.
- August 23, 2022 meeting agenda (PDF, 131KB)
- August 23, 2022 meeting summary (PDF, 205KB)
- August 23, 2022 meeting videocast
Additional Previous Meetings
The thirteenth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred virtually on Monday, January 24th, 2022.
- January 24, 2022 meeting agenda (PDF, 168KB)
- January 24, 2022 meeting summary (PDF, 208KB)
- January 24, 2022 meeting videocast
The twelfth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred virtually on on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
- August 19, 2021 meeting agenda (PDF, 130KB)
- August 19, 2021 meeting summary (PDF, 201KB)
- August 19, 2021 meeting videocast
The eleventh meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred virtually on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
- January 26, 2021 draft agenda (PDF, 133KB)
- January 26, 2021 meeting summary (PDF, 138KB)
- January 26, 2021 meeting videocast
The tenth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred virtually on Thursday, August 20, 2020.
- August 20, 2020 meeting agenda (PDF, 135KB)
- August 20, 2020 meeting summary (PDF, 140KB)
- August 20, 2020 meeting videocast
The ninth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred on Thursday, January 30th in Bethesda, MD.
- January 30, 2020 meeting agenda (PDF, 146KB)
- January 30, 2020 meeting summary (PDF, 139KB)
- January 30, 2020 meeting videocast
The eighth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred on Monday, August 19th in Bethesda, MD.
The seventh meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group occurred on Monday, February 11th in Bethesda, MD.
- February 11, 2019 meeting agenda (PDF - 140KB)
- February 11, 2019 meeting summary (PDF - 270KB)
- February 11, 2019 meeting videocast
The sixth meeting of the Neuroethics Working Group (formerly Neuroethics Division) occurred Monday, August 13th at the Porter Neuroscience Building on the NIH campus.
The fifth meeting of the MCWG Neuroethics Division occurred Friday, January 19th, 2018, and will be hosted by our co-chair Hank Greely at Stanford.
The fourth meeting of the MCWG Neuroethics Division occurred Wednesday, August 16th, 2017, in Building 31 6C/Room 6.
The third meeting of the MCWG Neuroethics Division occurred on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017, at the NIH Porter Neuroscience Research Center (35 Convent Dr., Bethesda, MD 20892).
The second meeting of the Neuroethics Division occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, at 815 14th Street NW, Washington, DC.
- August 3, 2016 agenda (PDF - 472 KB)
- August 3, 2016 meeting Summary (PDF - 110 KB)
- August 3, 2016 meeting videocast
The first meeting of the Neuroethics Division occurred on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, at 6001 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD.
- February 9, 2016 agenda (PDF - 135 KB)
- February 9, 2016 meeting Summary (PDF - 387 KB)
- February 9, 2016 attendee List (PDF - 205 KB)