The Governance of dual-use research in the EU: The case of neuroscience




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title




Book chapter

Peer reviewed



Recently, major research powers around the world have made unprecedented investments in neuroscience as one of the most promising technologies of the twenty-first century. However, advances in neuroscience can be used for beneficial as well as harmful purposes. This chapter analyses the governance of dual-use research in the EU by focusing on the main EU-funded neuroscience project and one of the large-scale international brain initiatives – the Human Brain Project. It shows how this project has developed its governance approach that goes beyond the European Union (EU) Framework Programme definition of dual-use and incorporates concepts of dual-use research of concern, Responsible Research and Innovation as well as political, security, intelligence and military issues. The resulting approach supports the governance of dual-use research that is based on anticipation, reflection, engagement and action as well as involving contributions from researchers, stakeholders and citizens. The chapter demonstrates how the Human Brain Project is overcoming challenges of limitations of the dual-use definition used in the EU Framework Programme, issues of awareness and education and questions of global collaboration. Lessons learned and good practices developed can be relevant for other international brain initiatives as well as research projects in other disciplines.


This is open access chapter, published under creative commons licence


dual use, Responsible Research and Innovation, ethics, neuroscience, EU policy, governance


Ulnicane, I. (2020) The Governance of dual-use research in the EU: The case of neuroscience. In: A. Calcara, R. Csernatoni and C. Lavallée (eds) Emerging Security Technologies and EU Governance. Actors, Practices and Processes. Routledge, pp.177-191. Available at


Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)