Neuroethics News

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Letter from the President
Image of Hank Greely

INS President Hank Greely has written a letter to the membership outlining a vision for the Society during his 2-year term. In it he introduced a theme for the 2018 INS Annual Meeting, the desire to hold a significant meeting in Europe during his tenure, and the goal to organize quarterly regional meetings to discuss neuroethics.

He also shared three broad goals that are collectively intended to increase the visibility of neuroethics and the INS. His goals are to: 

  • Increase opportunities in the Society for INS members, 
  • Boost the public role of the INS in neuroethics discussions, and 
  • Grow the INS membership.

Specifically, the membership goal is to reach 500 members by the 2019 meeting. We will provide an update—with the graphic below—on our progress toward this goal in every issue. The INS currently has 310 members, 30 more than last year at this time.

Hank encourages you to read the full letter (he knows it's long) and to provide your "suggestions, complaints, or insights" by email or when you see him in person.

NIH Re-Issues Neuroethics Funding Opportunities

Neuroethics continues to be a top funding priority for the NIH. The NIH BRAIN Initiative has announced 11 funding opportunities for the 2018 Fiscal Year, including the following re-issued opportunities in neuroethics: 

  • RFA-MH-18-500 – Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science. For those that have sent in letters of intent, the application receipt date for this FOA is December 7.
  • RFA-MH-18-510 – BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship. Applications in neuroethics are encouraged with due dates including: March 15, 2018; December 7, 2018; August 7, 2019; and April 7, 2020.
INS Annual Meeting Highlights

Thanks again to everyone that was able to attend the annual meeting in Washington, DC this month. We are especially thankful for the work of Judy Illes during her term as INS President and the exceptional contributions by members of the INS Program Committee.

If you were in attendance, please take a moment to complete the meeting survey.

For those that were unable to attend the meeting, a number of INS members and partner publications have written summaries, reactions, and highlights on individual sessions and the meeting as a whole. Many thanks to everyone who has made an effort to increase awareness about this year's meeting.

Meeting Highlights
Cerebrum Podcast: Neuroethics Pioneer Steven E. Hyman
Image of Steven Hyman

On the 15th anniversary of the “Neuroethics: Mapping the Field,” conference in 2002, we asked INS Past President Steven E. Hyman to reflect on how far the field has come in 15 years and where it may be going in the next 15 for The Dana Foundation's Cerebrum Podcast. Hyman, who has also served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health and as president of the Society for Neuroscience, talked to us following the INS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Cerebrum also recently published three essays by original attendees of that first neuroethics conference: Jonathan Moreno, Patricia Churchland, and Kenneth Schaffner.

Articles / Commentary

Brain scan image from article


Four ethical priorities for neurotechnologies and AI -- Rafael Yuste, Sara Goering, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Guoqiang Bi, Jose M. Carmena, Adrian Carter, Joseph J. Fins, Phoebe Friesen, Jack Gallant, Jane E. Huggins, Judy Illes, Philipp Kellmeyer, Eran Klein, Adam Marblestone, Christine Mitchell, Erik Parens, Michelle Pham, Alan Rubel, Norihiro Sadato, Laura Specker Sullivan, Mina Teicher, David Wasserman, Anna Wexler, Meredith Whittaker and Jonathan Wolpaw. (Nature)

The Utility- and Use–of Neurotechnology to Recover Consciousness: Technical and Neuroethical Considerations in Approaching the “Hard Question” of Neuroscience – Kathinka Evers and James Giordano (Frontiers in Neuroscience)

Forensic Practitioners’ Expectations and Moral Views Regarding Neurobiological Interventions in Offenders with Mental Disorders – Jona Specker, Farah Focquaert, Sigrid Sterckx and Maartje H. N. Schermer (BioSocieties)

The Role of Neuroscience in the Evaluation of Mental Insanity: on the Controversies in Italy – Cristina Scarpazza, Silvia Pellegrini, Pietro Pietrini and Giuseppe Sartori (Neuroethics)

Looking for Neuroethics in Japan – Maxence Gaillard (Neuroethics)

Dementia, Decision Making, and Capacity – Ryan Darby and Bradford Dickerson (Harvard Review of Psychiatry)

What Constitutes 'Consideration' of Mitigating Evidence? – Emad Atiq and Erin Miller (Neuroethics and Law Blog)

Member News

Photo of Kellmeyer receiving the award

Philipp Kellmeyer, center, receiving the 2017 Bioethics Award.

Bioethics Award – Congratulations to Philipp Kellmeyer who has received the 2017 Bioethics Award of the MTZ Foundation, a private foundation in Germany that primarily sponsors research in systems biology and biomedicine. Kellmeyer's work examines the effects of the interaction of intelligent closed-loop health systems with patients on the autonomy, ability to act, and responsibility of humans and machines.

Newsweek Article – Karen Rommelfanger has co-authored an article titled "Human Head Transplants are About to Happen in China: But Where are the Bodies Coming From?" in Newsweek on the possibility and the ethics of human head transplantation.

Calls / Announcements

Article Series – Biomed Central is beginning a new article collection/thematic series titled, “Brain science, philosophy, ethics, and medicine” and is now accepting articles for publication. Organized by guest editors James Giordano and John Shook, the following journals are accepting submissions to the series:

  • Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
  • BMC Neuroscience
  • BMC Neurology
  • BMC Medicine

Research Topic – Frontiers has announced a new research topic titled “Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Non-Medical Use of Drugs” that is now accepting abstracts. Various academic disciplines are increasingly concerned with uses of pharmaceuticals (e.g., opioids, stimulants) and other substances (e.g., cannabis) for uses that fall outside the boundaries of medicine as it is usually conceived. Edited by Veljko Dubljevic and Christopher James Ryan, the research topic offers a platform for timely debate on existing and emerging interventions, focusing on mechanisms of action, epidemiological considerations, ethical principles, legal responses (including comparative jurisprudence), and public policy. Abstract submissions are due December 30.

Call for Contributions – The 20th International Conference on Neuroendocrinology and Neuroethics (ICNN) is still accepting abstracts, papers, and posters for the 20th Annual Meeting October 22-23, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. This conferences provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns—as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted—in the fields of neuroendocrinology and neuroethics. The deadline for submission is December 15.

Additional News

Partner Publications