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Neuro-enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation

Last Reviewed 10/12/2014

The Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation (NERRI) project seeks to establish a societal dialogue about neuro-enhancement with a view to making policy recommendations for research in this area.

Now you may be wondering what neuro-enhancement actually is. Neuro-enhancement refers to the use of drugs and medical devices to enhance certain brain processes in healthy persons who do not have any neurological illness. For example, evidence suggests that students are taking neuro-enhancing drugs to aid their concentration during exam periods and the military have long been thought to use such drugs during fatigue-inducing missions.

Our role at Genetic Alliance UK is to find out what different members of society think about using drugs or technologies to enhance our brain processes. In September 2014 we organised a Science Café in London where we heard from Dr Alex McKeown about whether we should be using neuro-enhancing techniques for public health benefit. At the beginning of November 2014 we moved to Bristol and hosted a discussion session which began with a presentation from Professor Ruud ter Meulen about the ethics of neuro-enhancement and involved 50 members of the public exploring and discussing their views on the issue, using a series of scenario cards.

The eighteen members of the NERRI team are busy continuing to organise public events across 11 different European countries and we will soon begin to analyse the results of these activities and transform them into policy recommendations.

You can find out more about the NERRI project and keep up-to-date with future events by following NERRI on Twitter: @NERRI_eu 

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