2020 INS Annual Meeting
Virtual Conference
October 22-23

2020 INS Annual Meeting

The INS annual meeting brings together diverse global perspectives and voices from academia, industry, health care, regulators, law experts, and people with lived experience that are needed to tackle global challenges at the intersection of ethics, law, philosophy and neuroscience. For the first time in 2020, the INS meeting was fully online, providing unique opportunities and formats for innovative discussion and interaction. 

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Janssen Neuroscience; Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute
The Kavli Foundation
Center for Neuroscience & Society, University of Pennsylvania

Registration Waivers

IBRO: International Brain Research Organization
Wellcome Centre of Ethics and Humanities

Prize Donors


Meeting theme

The program for this the 2020 meeting centered on the theme 'Our Digital Future: Building Networks Across Neuroscience, Technology and Ethics' and addressed many areas in which technologies and data concerning the brain are developed, deployed, utilized and regulated.

Digital technologies, including advanced computing and artificial intelligence, are rapidly reshaping the field of neuroscience. Major societal shifts are also radically transforming research and innovation. For example, the COVID-19 global pandemic has fast-tracked the use of digital technology to monitor and manage health and wellbeing.

The extraordinary surge in awareness of social and historical injustice and inequality, as evidenced by global support for the Black Lives Matter movement, is leading to renewed efforts to address implicit and explicit hierarchies that allocate social value, agency, power, and concrete resources in ways that reinforce and justify those hierarchies.

The locus of neuro-innovation has also shifted, as major data giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, and high-profile start-ups such as Neuralink and Kernel, have taken a dominant role in driving the development of emerging technologies. The increasing ability to capture brain data, as well as industry’s expanded role in neurotechnologies, are providing new opportunities for scientific discovery, but also challenges for governance, data privacy and ownership, and justice.


Top abstracts recognized by AJOB Neuroscience

Rated on the basis of merit, novelty and interest, 25 abstracts from the 2020 INS Annual Meeting were published online in the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience (AJOB-N). Abstracts awarded by INS were also included in the compilation. All INS members receive a discounted subscription to AJOB-N. https://doi.org/10.1080/21507740.2021.1917726

Session recordings available

The 2020 INS Annual Meeting has come and gone, but a number of the sessions are available for INS members to (re)watch. Browse the list of recorded sessions and from there log in to the recordings page with your website username and password to watch each.

Meeting attendees may continue to access recordings on the Big Marker meeting website through January 20, 2021.

Top presentations recognized

The following authors received recognition for their abstracts and presentations. Review their work and all research accepted to the meeting and presentations available for attendees and members.


Oral Presentations (10-minute)

Posters / Presentations

Invitation to contribute to The Neuroethics Blog

The Neuroethics Blog team extends our congratulations to all invited to speak at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the International Neuroethics Society. We look forward to the engagement and fruitful sharing of ideas that these sessions will foster among the neuroethics community and beyond.

In the spirit of advancing this engagement, and as the flagship blog of the INS, AJOB Neuroscience, and the neuroethics content partner for SfN (Society for Neuroscience), we would like to invite each speaker to contribute your work and/or presentations on The Neuroethics Blog.

The Neuroethics Blog is a global resource for neuroethics content, with readership in over 20 countries and over two million total views. Publication allows for more casual discussion of a neuroethical topic, written for an intelligent general audience. Although the Blog is generally invitation-only, we wish to specifically welcome submissions from this year’s INS speakers.

We hope you will all consider this invitation, and we wish you all a productive meeting.

The Neuroethics Blog

Registration deadline

The deadline for registering for the meeting is Sunday, October 18, 2020. Our final list of attendees must be delivered to the conference vendor on Monday morning. Thank you for completing this step at your earliest convenience.

Promotion assets

We have a range of assets available for you to use to promote the meeting. Download the .zip file and unpack and share our videos.

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Social justice discussion topics

The opening session at this year's meeting will feature small group discussions to examine the role of neuroethics in addressing racial and social inequity, including inequities exposed by the global pandemic. These breakout discussions will reflect on how neuroethics as a field can respond to these challenges.

INS members and meeting attendees will identify the essential themes and questions for this session. Please take a moment when completing the meeting registration, or through our online form, to recommend discussion topics and to volunteer, or nominate an attending colleague, to serve as a discussion leader. Discussion leaders will facilitate conversation and give a brief concluding summary to the full session.

Abstract deadline extended to July 10

The International Neuroethics Society is extending the abstract submission deadline for the 2020 INS Annual Meeting. The deadline extension is possible as a result of our decision to hold a virtual meeting due to the increased uncertainty caused by the global pandemic.

All abstracts received by Friday, July 10 (11:59pm EDT) will be considered for poster presentation, oral presentation, and top abstract recognitions. The INS Program Committee will distribute notices of acceptance and recognition to authors by August 30.

To provide additional flexibility, the Program Committee will continue to review abstracts submitted between July 11 and August 31. Abstracts received during this period will be reviewed on a rolling basis and assessed only for acceptance and eligibility for a poster presentation, but will not be eligible for oral presentation or top abstract recognitions. For later submissions, acceptance notifications will be returned by September 20 at the latest.

Abstracts can describe projects at all stages of development and may be submitted by researchers at any stage of their career and from any field or background. Each researcher may serve as the submitting/lead author on up to two abstract submissions. Review the abstract call for complete details and submission requirements and please share this call and extended deadline announcement with your colleagues, students and networks.

Virtual format planned for the 2020 INS Annual Meeting

After careful consideration, the International Neuroethics Society has committed to a virtual format for this year's annual meeting to ensure a safe environment for attendees and to make participation possible for more people during this time of increased uncertainty, financial insecurity, and rapidly changing health recommendations and travel restrictions.

The 2020 INS Annual Meeting will be a 2-day virtual conference with the theme 'Our Digital Future: Building Networks Across Neuroscience, Technology and Ethics.' The program will be accessible entirely online with live, interactive sessions held synchronously on October 22-23 (U.S. Eastern Daylight Time).

We recognize that everyone is suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and that many of our members and meeting attendees are deeply engaged professionals contributing expertise to the many coordinated responses. With this in mind, the INS leadership and staff in coordination with the Program Committee have been monitoring the conditions and evaluating several possible scenarios.

While a virtual event is a departure from our traditional in-person meeting, we view this as an opportunity to host an engaging online event that fosters exciting discussions, professional development, networking, and collaboration among an extraordinarily diverse array of scholars and practitioners actively aligning ethics, law, and policy with advances in neuroscience.

Meeting Program – The Program Committee will release a preliminary schedule with a list of session topics and expected speakers in the coming weeks. This announcement will also provide details about registration, session formats, and virtual meeting technologies.

Research Abstracts – We are deeply committed to offering significant opportunities for our members to present accepted abstracts during the conference. The program will include dedicated time to review electronic posters, listen to oral presentations, and participate in small group conversations about posters, research, and professional development. Investigators at all career stages are encouraged to submit up to two abstracts of 250-400 words by the July 10 extended deadline. Review the abstract call for complete details and requirements.

Student Essays – The Neuroethics Essay Contest is seeking submissions in three categories: Academic, General Audience, and High School. Prizes and travel stipends will be awarded to authors of the top essay in each category. The submission deadline is July 10, 2020.

We hope you will be able to make time in your hectic schedule to participate and share your neuroethics research and expertise with international colleagues.

Statement on the COVID-19 global pandemic

The International Neuroethics Society is closely watching as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, and its implications for society worldwide, as well as for our membership. Many of our members are bioethicists, neuroethicists, and other deeply engaged scholars who are contributing to guidance about how we as a society can ethically proceed to help address this growing global pandemic. We understand that everyone is suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stand in solidarity with all of those who are on the front lines treating patients, who are patients themselves, or witnessing loved ones and others in society who are suffering.

We recognize that in addition to the global impacts of COVID-19, that our annual meeting scheduled for October 22-23, 2020, in Washington, DC, USA, may also be impacted.

The Program Committee and Board of Directors are taking all known risks and health recommendations into consideration during the planning process and are committed to providing a safe and productive environment for attendees to network and collaborate, either in-person or virtually.

We are closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the latest policies enacted by governments and transportation sectors, and considering travel and meeting policies adopted by the academic and business communities. We are also actively investigating numerous online and virtual meeting options and resources.

Regardless of the format of the meeting, the Program Committee will provide an opportunity for investigators to present research and will conduct the abstract submission and review process as planned. Investigators at all career stages are encouraged to submit abstracts by the June 26 deadline. Review the abstract call for complete details and requirements.

All decisions and any possible changes regarding the schedule and format of the upcoming meeting will be communicated promptly. Our priority will be to allow as many participants as possible. Details will be posted on this webpage, shared on social media, and distributed to members and others by email. Subscribe to receive email updates about the annual meeting.

We deeply appreciate the work of our volunteer committee members and thank our members for enthusiastically supporting their colleagues in the international neuroethics community and for understanding the difficulty of organizing a meeting during this global health crisis.

Introducing members of the 2020 Program Committee

We are delighted to announce the INS members who will serve on the Program Committee this year and will be planning the virtual 2020 INS Annual Meeting to be held October 22-23.


  • Adrian Carter, Monash University (Australia)
  • Nicole Martinez-Martin, Stanford University (USA)
  • Anna Wexler, University of Pennsylvania (USA)


  • Martha Farah, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • Stephanie Hare, University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA)
  • Marcello Ienca, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  • Philipp Kellmeyer, University Medical Center Freiburg (Germany)
  • Eric Racine, Montreal Clinical Research Institute (Canada)
  • Karen Rommelfanger, Emory University (USA)
  • Arleen Salles, Uppsala University (Sweden)
  • Francis Shen, University of Minnesota (USA)
  • Laura Specker Sullivan, Fordham University (USA)

Many thanks to these members for agreeing to volunteer their time and to everyone who offered to take on the challenge for the Society and our community. The committee chairs encourage you to send suggestions for sessions, speakers, and networking activities. Send ideas to staff ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience. The committee will take all suggestions into consideration.