Frequently Asked Questions
Hey there reader! Here is some advice/answers to questions that we have been asked. Please remember that we are not doctors - we both currently just have our Bachelor's Degrees and are doing our best. If you see any information that you believe to be inaccurate, please contact us at email@example.com?
I'm looking for a college for undergrad. What universities are good for neurotechnology?
I will make some recommendations in North America but there are plenty of fantastic universities all around the world that cover neurotechnology.
I don't know of any universities that offer a core neurotechnology major although there are certainly many universities that excel in this research that if you went to, I'm sure you could find your way into a research lab. Those universities would include Brown University, Harvard, Stanford, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, McGill University, Queens University, UCLA Berkeley, University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Duke University, Caltech, and Georgia tech.
These are all very prestigious universities that are quite hard to get into. Unfortunately, neurotechnology is pretty niche right now and requires a lot of funding which is why it is mostly confined to these universities. However, that doesn't mean you can't find small programs at other universities.
In terms of what to study, if you're going into the research realm really type of neuroscience with the technical component will suit you well. So this would include neural engineering, biomedical engineering, and cognitive neuroscience. I would also try to minor in an engineering field like software engineering or electrical engineering to round out your skills.
Outside of that, you could always go the route that I went which is to look for an individualized studies major. The major I am in allows me to construct my own major. That means I can declare concentrations in virtually any subject and take classes in them. I also get to name my major. I go to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and my major also affords me the ability to take classes at the University of Rochester just down the road which is how I get both neuroscience and technology education.
There are plenty of universities that offer this to some degree. I would look for strong neuroscience first and then an engineering and technical culture second. If you can find this you will be on a good path.
What are some good resources/organizations for neuroethics?
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy is an extensive collection of essays covering:
2.3 Personal Identity3. The Neuroscience of EthicsThe Neuroscience of Ethics
The Neuroscience of Ethics
Human Brain Project:
"We are a multi-disciplinary community, with people with different expertise from different research performing organisations. These are the people doing the social, ethical and reflective work in the Human Brain Project."
They have a great primer article on neuroethics and a way to report violations or get questions answered
Neuroethics Guiding Principles for the NIH BRAIN Initiative:
Article guiding the ethical considerations for the NIH Brain Initiative
American Society for Cybernetics:
"The American Society for Cybernetics was founded in 1964 in Washington, DC to encourage new developments in cybernetics as an inter-/trans-/meta-disciplinary field.
Ever since, it has remained at the forefront of cybernetic thinking and doing. Society members have made cybernetics central to their work in biology and the life sciences, the arts, medicine, therapy (psychological and social), mathematics, the physical sciences and engineering, design, management, and business. They have reached out to other societies and groups interested in similar areas and approaches. Remarkable people have joined and been recognized by us.
We understand cybernetics as being profoundly interested in and shaped by circularity, recursion, construction and reflexivity, and we constantly consider what cybernetic actions might be and when they should and should not be taken, continuing to consider how to behave in a cybernetic manner—without denying the value, on occasion, of behaving in more traditional ways. We recognize the centrality of the presence of the observer in observing, the speaker in speaking and the actor in acting."
International Neuroethics Society:
"We are a group of scholars, scientists, clinicians and other professionals who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience.
In recent years we have seen unprecedented progress in the basic sciences of mind and brain and in the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Now, neuroscience plays an expanding role in human life beyond the research lab and clinic. In classrooms, courtrooms, offices and homes around the world, neuroscience is giving us powerful new tools for achieving our goals and prompting a new understanding of ourselves as social, moral and spiritual beings."
"The mission of the International Neuroethics Society is to encourage and inspire research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science."
The Following is an Extensive List of Organizations from the International Neuroethics Society: https://www.neuroethicssociety.org/organizations
The University of British Columbia's Neuroethics Canada program is an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to tackling the ethical, legal, policy and social implications of frontier technological developments in the neurosciences. Our objective is to align innovations in the brain sciences with societal, cultural and individual human values through high impact research, education and outreach.
The Neuroethics Program at Emory University is an interdisciplinary, inter-departmental group of scholars interested in the intersection of neuroscience, ethics, and society. The Program aims to become a center of excellence that informs responsible applications of neuroscience in research, the clinic, and society as well as engages and activates our community in neuroethics discourse.
Penn Center for Neuroscience & Society
The Center for Neuroscience & Society is a group of faculty and students from departments spanning the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Law, and Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work addresses the ethical, legal and social implications of neuroscience.
Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School
The Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics was launched to ensure that values and ethics are always part of medical training, laboratory and clinical research, and professional education. The Center is designed as a platform for integrating ethics and scientific discovery more closely than ever before, generating new forms of collaboration among students, bench scientists, clinical researchers, clinicians, practicing bioethicists, academic philosophers, historians of medicine, humanities scholars and others able to bring their disciplinary perspectives to bear on the ethical challenges posed by present and future biomedical advances.
The Neuroethics Research Unit at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) pursues research to address the spectrum of challenges in neurological and psychiatric care such as providing quality patient information, diminishing stigma, and promoting respectful healthcare services. Their research program aims at bridging these various challenges to identify practical solutions. Research activities are funded by grants, scholarships, fellowships, and private foundations. They cover a broad and evolving range of ethical and social issues associated with research, healthcare, public services and public policy as well as foundational issues in neuroethics. Several other studies have also expanded the scope of the Unit beyond the context of neuroscience and clinical neurology and psychiatry.
The Oxford Centre for Neuroethics aims to address concerns about the effects neuroscience and neurotechnologies will have on various aspects of human life. Its research focuses on five key areas: cognitive enhancement; borderline consciousness and severe neurological impairment; free will, responsibility and addiction; the neuroscience of morality and decision making; applied neuroethics.
Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
The Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics is dedicated to the interdisciplinary research and education in biomedical experts, and provides clinical and ressearch ethics consultation. They serve as a scholarly resource on emerging ethical issues raised by medicine and biomedical research.
Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences
Stanford University's Center for Law and the Biosciences, directed by Professor Hank Greely, examines biotech discoveries in the context of the law, weighing their impact on society and the law's role in shaping that impact. The Center is part of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology.
Johns Hopkins Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences
The goal of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics' Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences is to ensure that research in brain science proceeds with an informed and sophisticated understanding of attendant ethical and social issues, and that philosophical and empirical analysis of the advances in brain research proceeds with an informed and sophisticated understanding of the science.
Wisconsin Neuroscience and Public Policy Program
The University of Wisconsin-Madison established an integrated double degree program in Neuroscience and Public Policy Program addresses an unfortunate truth: that science policy and the law in the United States and elsewhere is frequently made by individuals who have little or no training in science, and, therefore, rely on scientists and engineers for advice, most of whom have little or no understanding of how public policy or the law is made.
Georgetown Center for Clinical Bioethics
The Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics (PCCB) at Georgetown University Medical Center was established over two decades ago in order to create a center of excellence, filling a unique need for bioethics that is directly oriented towards clinical medicine and strongly rooted in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition.
Neuroethics Concentration Program at George Mason University
The neuroethics concentration program explores emerging ethical questions raised by recent neuroscientific discoveries on genetic and environmental factors that influence human behavior, decision-making, personality traits, and mental states.
Dalhousie Department of Bioethics
The Department of Bioethics is an academic department at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our primary focus is on advancing ethics in and of health care practice.
Johannes Gutenberg Focus Program Translational Neurosciences
The Focus Program Translational Neurosciences is a network of scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University working in the field of biomedical research. Research group leaders from basic and clinical research work together on an interdisciplinary basis.
Tübingen International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities
The University of Tübingen's International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities is an interdisciplinary research centre that explores ethical problems arising from the sciences and humanities. The centre aims to conduct research in cooperation with scholars of different disciplines and promotes the advancement of the next generation of researchers in the field of ethics within the sciences and humanities.
Associations / Foundations
The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants, publications, and educational programs—including a focus on neuroethics.
British Neuroscience Association
The British Neuroscience Association is the largest UK organisation representing all aspects of neuroscience from ion channels to whole animal behaviour to neuroscience applications in the clinic.
The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) is the first and only trade group that advocates on behalf of companies involved neurotechnology. Since 2006, over 120 organizations have joined us in our mission to accelerate neurotechnology research, development and commercialization, including neuroscience companies, brain research institutes, and patient advocacy groups across the spectrum of neurological disease, psychiatric illnesses and nervous system injuries. NIO is a non-profit trade association that is focused on lifting the burden of brain disease and accelerating the economic benefits from advancing neuroscience which is a unique challenge that can only be met by fostering a dedicated commercial neuroscience ecosystem.Neurotechnology Industry Organization
Neuroethics is a fairly young field, pioneered by many women scholars. This is reflected in the name, an opportunity for a guard of NEW (Neuro Ethics Women) Leaders. NEW Leaders aims to continue to cultivate professional networks and skills for women currently in and entering into the field of neuroethics by way of a women in neuroethics network.
The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 40,000 members in more than 90 countries and 130 chapters worldwide.
MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience
Vanderbilt University, headquarters of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, is a leading institution for the study of law and neuroscience. Whether enrolled in law, neuroscience, psychology, or the nation's first joint JD/PhD program in Law & Neuroscience, students at Vanderbilt have access to unparalleled opportunities at the law/neuroscience intersection.
AAAS's Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion
Building on the American Association for the Advancement of Science's long-standing commitment to relate scientific knowledge and technological development to the purposes and concerns of society at large, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) facilitates communication between scientific and religious communities.
AAAS's Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
The American Association for the Advancement of Science's Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program addresses ethical, legal and human rights issues related to the conduct and application of science and technology.
Macquarie Center for Agency, Values and Ethics
The Macquarie University's Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics provides a platform for interaction and collaboration between researchers in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, law, medicine, applied ethics and bioethics. A distinctive feature is its focus upon the philosophical, ethical and legal issues raised by the cognitive neurosciences.
Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is a network of scholars elaborating the law, policy and ethics of freedom of thought. Their mission is to develop social policies that will preserve and enhance freedom of thought into the 21st century.
Institutes / Government
Canadian Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction supports research to enhance mental health, neurological health, vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning and to reduce the burden of related disorders through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation.
Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is an advisory panel of the nation's leaders in medicine, science, ethics, religion, law, and engineering. The Bioethics Commission advises the President on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. The Bioethics Commission seeks to identify and promote policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in a socially and ethically responsible manner.
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies is a nonprofit think tank which promotes ideas about how technological progress can increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies.
Initiative on Neuroscience and Law
The Initiative on Neuroscience and Law brings together neuroscientists, legal scholars, programmers, ethicists, judges, and policy makers with the goal of constructing a cost-effective legal system with higher utility and lower cost. From the vantage point of science, we are developing new technologies that can directly intersect with the criminal justice system in a novel way.
Can I pursue a neuroscience PhD without a neuroscience Bachelor's or Masters'?
Full Question: My future advisor in music tech asked why I'm not getting a neuroscience Ph.D. with music technology as a secondary focus. I thought that sounds cool but not exactly as easy as watching a few youtube videos.
My question to you is, should I start over in neuroscience? Seems daunting. Do you have some favorite studies, TED talks, documentaries, etc that cover BCI in academic settings? This guy does what I do but he's in the UK http://neuromusic.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/
Sorry for the ramble. I thought I was on track with the Ph.D. in music tech but most of what I'm doing is neuroscience and now I'm lost. Your opinions are valuable to me even if you just recommend a documentary to watch.
Answer: To answer your question, content-wise, you should be able to do a neuroscience PhD with entry-level neuroscience knowledge. Bachelors degrees in neuroscience vary quite heavily in intensity and the amount of ground covered. I take my neuro classes at the University of Rochester which requires 5+ neuro specific classes while a friend of mine doing neuro at another university only has to take 2 neuro specific courses. You will be expected to have general neuroscience knowledge, but I can't imagine the content will be too deep because of this problem.
I would recommend taking a look at Harvard's XSereis in neuroscience. Get a certificate and the knowledge should be enough to handle a Ph.D.: https://www.edx.org/xseries/harvardx-fundamentals-of-neuroscience
The issue would be regarding what credentials your school requires to get into a Neuroscience Ph.D. program. In the states, a master’s degree is not usually required to get into a Ph.D. program, although I am not sure if this presupposes that the bachelor's degree was in the same discipline. The rest of the world usually has shorter Ph.D. programs, but usually requires a Master's. I imagine that Canada does this the same as the US but am not sure so you would have to find that out.
My advice: If you are interested in combining music and neuro, go for the neuroscience PhD, it will set you up to do some really cool research / make some amazing music therapy / many other things. Since you already have demonstrated interest and capability with neuroscience technology, this plus knowledge gained from the XSeries course could be enough to get into a Ph.D. program. I am sure that if you were able to have a conversation with the researcher/whoever does admissions and lay a case out for your self you could do it.
Otherwise, you might need to do a Masters's.
To get more neurotech under your belt, there are plenty o of resources out there. We are trying to compile them here: www.bciguys.com/resources although it is pretty bare right now so stay tuned. There are lots of neurotech conferences out there. Watching the recaps will offer some inspiration.
I hope this helps,