Project on Emerging Technologies and the Brain (OECD BNCT)

The development of cutting-edge neurotechnology is a primary focus of this BNCT project. This includes a broad array of new tools aimed at intervening in brain function and its impairment, such as optogenetics, neuromodulation technologies, brain-computer interfaces, nanorobotics, and the pipeline of diagnostics and therapies addressing neurodegenerative disorders. Emerging and converging technolgoies are some of the most promising and dynamic factors in brain science today, but there has been too little attention to the conditions of their development across particular cases and institutional contexts. Events:  

  • RI Workshop: "Neurotechnology and Society: Strengthening Responsible Innovation in Brain Science" (15-16 September 2016, Washington D.C., United States); Link: Agenda, Participant Information.
  • Lausanne Dialogue: "The Road to 2025: delivering next generation Alzheimer’s treatment" (27-28 October 2016, Lausanne, Switzerland); Link: Draft Agenda

Contact: hermann[dot]garden[atsign]OECD[dot]org

Responsible Innovation in Brain Science and Neurotechnologies

This workstream aims to strengthen ethical, legal and social aspects of brain science and technology innovation. In particular, to analyse the specific policy questions raised by emerging and converging neurotechnologies through expert consultations. The report of this project should be available and posted on this web site early 2017. 

The workstream includes:

1. A survey on government approaches to fund Responsible Innovation in neuroscience, brain research, and technology. The purpose of this survey is to conduct a cross-national comparison of if, how and why public funding agencies support the integration of ethical, legal, social values into neuroscience, brain research and technological innovation. 

2. A workshop "Neurotechnology and Society: Strengthening Responsible Innovation in Brain Science" (15-16 September 2016, Washington D.C.): The workshop aimed to discuss new concepts and trends in the field of responsible innovation in brain research and neurotechnologies; notably to convene stakeholders across national and international programmes of neuroscientific research to discuss the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) in the development and use of new, emerging and converging technologies. The workshop is organised in collaboration with the Arizona State University (ASU), School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS); University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium), Department of Neuroscience; European Commission (EC), DG Research & Innovation; Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders; National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Link to: AgendaParticipant Information.

Key policy quesitons of this workstream are: 

  • How can a better understanding of the societal questions in emerging and converging neurotechnologies help innovation in brain science?
  • In what ways do funders, researchers, and public policies integrate values of responsible innovation in the development of novel neurotechnologies and their applications?
  • What can be learned across countries and institutions about new approaches and tools to integrate ‘ELSA’ type work in early research and technological development?


Disclaimer: "Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in  this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine."

Lausanne Dialogue

Delivering Next Generation Alzheimer's Treatments:

Connecting Research, Regulation and Access

27-28 October 2016, Lausanne, Switzerland


Stopping Alzheimer's disease by 2025 requires investment, collaboration, and creativity. That is why at the 3rd Lausanne Dialogue 27-28 October 2016 we will take an interdisciplinary approach to discuss the following themes with regulators, researchers, industry representatives, payers, and those living with dementia:  

  • What are the key challenges facing the regulatory environment from now until 2025 and how can we resolve them?
  • How can the evidence be developed to support the payer community?
  • What can we learn from other diseases - and how can we apply these learnings to Alzheimer's? 

The OECD Working Party on BNCT is at the forefront to advise on how research and innovation in biotechnology, nanotechnology and novel, emerging and converging technologies can contribute to address global challenge of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The Lausanne Dialogue will help keep the momentum of ongoing, global stakeholder action, for example: the UK G8 ‘Dementia Summit’ (2013); OECD work on collaborative research and data sharing; the first Lausanne workshop ‘Enhancing translational research and clinical development for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias: The way forward’ (2014); and the ‘Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia’ (2015), organised by the WHO with support from the Department of Health of UK and the OECD. Further details on OECD work on dementia click here.

The Lausanne Dialogue is organised under the auspices of the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, and Converging Technologies (BNCT). It is being hosted by the Government of Switzerland and supported by the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). Link: Draft Agenda


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