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European network to address impact of neurosciences on society

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has launched a new European network to discuss the consequences of recent developments in the neurosciences. The past two decades have seen unprecedented progress and innovation in the neurosciences, a field dedicated to the scientific ...

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has launched a new European network to discuss the consequences of recent developments in the neurosciences. The past two decades have seen unprecedented progress and innovation in the neurosciences, a field dedicated to the scientific study of the nervous system. Many of these advances are having an impact on the way we live our lives. For example, in education neurosciences is shedding new light on some of the neural processes involved in learning how to read and write. This branch of science is also helping us to better understand violent behaviour, a development which is likely to have an impact on how the legal system engages with violent criminals. Yet despite these advances, there has been little formal discussion within the European social sciences on the ethical, social and legal implications of developments in this branch of scientific experimentation. The European Neuroscience and Society Network (ENSN) aims to change that. The ¿575,000 network, which will run from 2007 to 2012, aims to bring together leading European neuroscientists and social scientists in order to discuss the present and future impact of advances in the neurosciences on our lives. The ENSN will offer stakeholders a multidisciplinary network through which researchers working on issues related to the neurosciences can exchange and develop ideas, drawing on the perspectives of experts from the fields of psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, law and medical ethics. During the course of its mandate, the network will organise a series of workshops and conferences, to be held in both Europe and North America, bringing together life scientists and social scientists. The hope is that these meeting will lead to the publication of annual volumes in international journals. The network will also provide exchange and travel grants to scholars in the field.