Ethics and Society Glossary

Anonymisation Techniques

Techniques for removing or encrypting personal and sensitive data, including personally identifiable information, protected health information, and other non-personal sensitive data.

Applied Ethics

Ethical approaches within neuroscience intended to be applied to real world cases; using ethical theory and reasoning to address the practical issues arising from neuroscientific research.

AREA framework

A framework for applying RRI principles focusing on Anticipation, Reflection, Engagement and Action.

Biological Sex

Refers to the biological differentiation between “male” and “female” and is determined by chromosomes, genes, hormones, and anatomy. Unlike the term gender, which refers to the social construction of women, men, and non-binary persons.

Capacity Development Modules

Teaching modules developed in HBP to identify and address ethical, legal, and societal issues that arise from brain research.


Managing and marketing a process or product for financial gain.

Data Governance

The overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of data.

Data Subjects

An identified or identifiable natural person whose data is processed. In brain research often a patient or a research participant.

Disorders of Consciousness (DoCs)

A state where consciousness has been affected by damage to the brain, with the main disorders of coma, vegetative state and minimally conscious state.


Comprises the manifold traits and characteristics of human subjects and their differences based on various dimensions. Some of these traits are inherent, some are ascribed or acquired and others are context related.

Empirical Ethics

Descriptive approach to ethics focusing on how scientific findings and empirical data can inform theoretical and practical issues.

Ethics and Society

In context of the Human Brain Project: A broad and comprehensive approach to RRI, ethics and societal impacts of brain research, focusing on social and philosophical research, public engagement and ethics support.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

Measurements of the blood flow that occur with brain activity. Often applied to examine parts of the brain handling critical functions, evaluate the effects of stroke or other disease, or to guide brain treatment.

Fundamental Neuroethics

A reflection on the foundational elements (concepts and methods) of neuroscience with a main concern to the ontological and epistemic dimension of brain research.

Gender Equality

A situation in which people regardless of gender have equal access and opportunity in pursuing and participating in various aspects of life, as well as work aimed at enhancing equal opportunities and a better gender balance.

Human Brain Project

A large research project that aims to build a collaborative research infrastructure to allow researchers across Europe to advance knowledge in the fields of neuroscience, computing, and brain-related medicine.


Researchers from different fields working together on common problems while synthesizing their expertise to develop new forms of knowledge.

Legal compliance

Adhering to relevant laws, regulations, and policies.

Multidisciplinary Research

Researchers from different fields and disciplines working together on common problems. 


Interdisciplinary ethics focused on issues raised by an increased understanding of the human brain, as well as the increasing ability to study and influence the brain. An interface between empirical brain sciences, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, ethics, psychology, and social sciences.


The right to keep personal matters and relations secret. Information privacy is the right to have control over how your personal information is collected and used.

Public Backlash

A strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development.

Public Engagement

Involving members of the public in defining problems, setting agendas, making decisions, and forming policies.


Responsible Research and Innovation. A term applied the EU framework programmes to describe scientific research and technological development processes that consider effects and potential impacts on the environment and society. This toolkit is structured around RRI.

Societal Sustainability

The aspects of sustainability that relate to people. Ensuring to meet the values and needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Unconscious Bias

Biases that are not explicit or consciously held, but still affect thoughts, feelings and behaviour.


Thank you to William Knight and Frederik Fonsholt for your contributions to the Ethics & Society Glossary.