NERRI Consortium meeting in Barcelona

The first NERRI Consortium Meeting took place in Barcelona on the 25th and 26th of November. After the first nine months spent working on the project the meeting was the perfect opportunity to discuss the results achieved until now and the following steps.

Gema Revuelta and Rosario Martinez, from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), organized the meeting and showed how the Spanish team is working to reach public mobilization on neuro-enhancement.

This is why, before starting the meeting of the project, the consortium members had the chance to get to know both the Spanish Committee for the Support of RRI in the field of neuroenhancement and some features of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The Committee was an idea of the Spanish NERRI members to help promoting the public engagement during the Mobilization and Mutual Learning activities (MML) that will take place during 2014. Seventeen different institutions and associations are part of the committee and they will get differently involved during the next year of the project.

To get a taste of what is done inside the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the organizers introduced the NERRI members to iCub, a humanoid robot, developed by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. iCub is used inside SPECS (Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems Group) to study how a machine can interact with humans. SPECS is a research group that uses synthetic methods to study and synthesize the neuronal, psychological and behavioural principles underlying perception, emotion and cognition.

Talking about Spanish mobilization and technology was the perfect introduction to the core of the Consortium Meeting. The NERRI Consortium members were looking forward to comparing the results collected during the first period of the project.

The countries involved in the project are different from a cultural point of view and this issue arose during the interviews with stakeholders. Some of them pointed out how a diverse attitude toward competitiveness can echo in the use of neuro-enhancing devices. If United Kingdom is thought to be a really competitive environment, Germans and Italians feel less pressure to reach higher performance. These insights got by the NERRI members are going to be deepened during next year through the mobilization of the general public.

Mobilization and Mutual Learning activities and their assessment were also on the agenda of the meeting to lay the foundations for the next months of work.

2014 is going to be an important year for the NERRI project, full of activities in the different countries involved and the partners are looking forward to starting this experience.

Image credits: Gonçalo Praça