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ESF funds European Neuroscience and Society Network; 5-year programme starts in June

The past two decades have seen unprecedented progress and innovation in the neurosciences. Despite evidence that advances in the neurosciences are having a significant impact on the lives of individuals across Europe, there has been little formal engagement within the European social sciences with the ethical, social and legal implications of recent developments in this branch of scientific experimentation.

For this reason a European Science Foundation (ESF)-funded European Neuroscience and Society Network (ENSN) has been established. The purpose of it is to serve as a multidisciplinary forum for timely and necessary engagement with the-above mentioned issues, through the development of research strategies, conferences, exchange visits and workshops that will bring together leading European neuroscientists and social scientists for sustained discussions and cross-disciplinary exchanges about the present and future impact of advances in the neurosciences on our lives.

This network for the investigation of developments in the neurosciences is being formed by ten European countries. The ENSN will be convened by scholars based at the BIOS centre of the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is a €575,000 project funded by the ESF, and will run from June 2007 to June 2012, with a launch conference in autumn 2007.

The ENSN will serve as a coherent forum for the identification of key issues in the neurosciences and their social implications by providing a network through which researchers working on issues related to the neurosciences can exchange and develop ideas, drawing on the perspectives of scholars of psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, law and medical ethics.

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A series of workshops and conferences, to be held in both Europe and North America, will bring together life scientists and social scientists, leading to the publication of annual volumes in international journals. The network will also provide exchange and travel grants to journal scholars in the field.

The ENSN, which is one of the series of ESF’s Research Networking Programmes (RNP), is directed by a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. The Network also consists of programme collaborators and advisory experts based in France, Italy, the U.S. The Chair of the Steering Committee is Professor Nikolas Rose, Director of the BIOS Centre for the study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society, at LSE.

The European Science Foundation is based in Strasbourg, France, see

The ESF is an association of 75 member organisations from 30 European countries. Since its inception in 1974, it has co-ordinated a wide range of pan-European scientific initiatives.

Thomas Lau | alfa
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