About The Center for Neurotechnology Studies
The Center for Neurotechnology Studies (CNS) is directed by Dr. Jennifer Buss. CNS provides neutral, in-depth analysis of matters at the intersection of neuroscience and technology—neurotechnology—and public policy. The Center anticipates legal, and social issues associated with emerging neurotechnology, and shepherds constructive discourse on these issues. It provides a forum for reasoned consideration of issues both by subject area experts and by the public. The Center partners with the research community for discourse and consultation on sound neurotechnology research and applications. The Center cultivates and stewards knowledge and discussion on the implications of neurotechnology in academic, administrative, entrepreneurial, regulatory, legislative and judicial enterprises. CNS serves as authoritative counsel to government agencies pursuing neurotechnology by providing expertise in the sciences, law, and social policy.

Activities of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies

The Center actively shepherds research and public debate on neurotechnology, and advises public and private sectors working to study and develop neuroscience and technology. These objectives are achieved through:

Research: CNS is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the foci, use, and impact(s) of neurotechnology, particularly as relates to legal and social issues arising in and from this field.

Workshops/Seminars: CNS hosts lectures, seminars, and other activities to address development and issues of neurotechnology.

Briefings: The Center informs policy-makers and agency personnel on emerging scientific, legal, and social issues related to the development and implementation of neurotechnologies.

Publications: The Center publishes papers on all aspects of neurotechnology in monographs, specialized journals, and the popular press. This contribution to the public debate fosters a broader and deeper understanding, and helps to shape a more reasoned and productive dialogue on these issues.


SeeingisntBelievingOn July 23rd, 2015, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted a seminar to address the various ways in which neuroimaging technology has advanced, and how these new developments can be used to achieve the goals of the President’s BRAIN Initiative. The BRAIN Initiative has spearheaded an effort to map and understand the human brain, and novel neuroimaging technologies need to be developed in order to accomplish this goal. Neuroimaging encompasses the set of techniques that researchers use to create a structural and/or functional map of the nervous system. There have been many laudable achievements in developing neurotechnologies over the years, especially in the area of imaging and observing the brain, but technology development has stalled over recent years. Because of the growth of capabilities in other fields, from microelectronics and supercomputing to artificial intelligence, there is a renewed opportunity for collaboration that can result in even more significant improvements to the neurotechnology imaging tools available to researchers.
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20th AnniversaryThe Potomac Institute for Policy Studies’ Center for Neurotechnology Studies held a symposium to discuss the biggest mystery to mankind, the mind, through the convergence of neuroscience, biologics, nanotechnology, and the digital revolution. The digital, biologics, and nanotechnology disciplines have all provided their own technological leaps for society, from machine intelligence to nano-scale smart devices. Neuroscience is on the cusp of its own leap forward: it is has great potential to restore and augment human, cognitive, and physical abilities. Enhancing human intelligence through technology will revolutionize business, education, communication, and the way in which society functions. As part of the 2014 Neuroscience Policy Symposia Series, the symposium continued to elaborate on the need for the expansion of the BRAIN Initiative into a National Neurotechnology Initiative. The distinguished individuals at this symposium will draw from their experience in industry, government, and academia to discuss important topics in neuroscience and the future of intelligence. Technology that enhances intelligence and humans will be invaluable to society.

20th AnniversaryOn July 23rd, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted Seeing Ins't Always Believing: The Realities of Imaging Technology and Neuroscience. This seminar addressed the various ways in which neuroimaging technology has advanced, and how these new developments can be used to achieve the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. The President’s Initiative has spearheaded an effort to map and understand the human brain, and novel neuroimaging technologies need to be developed in order to accomplish this goal. Neuroimaging encompasses the set of techniques that researchers use to create a structural and/or functional map of the nervous system.

Speakers included Dr. Marvin Chun (Yale University), Dr. Paul Vaska (Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University), and Dr. Jennifer Buss (Center of Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.)

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Center for Neurotechnology Studies was proud to co-sponsor the third Neuroscience: Ethics, Legal and Social Issues (NELSI-3) Conference, held on February 25, 2011 at George Mason University.  The topic of the program was Ethical Issues in the Use of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology in National Defense.  Prof. James Giordano, PhD, Vice President for Academic Programs at the Potomac Institute and Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies, chaired the conference.

Please click below to watch a video of the conference in its entirety, or scroll down to see a list of timeline indicators for  individual presentations.  Please visit www.nelsi-3.com for full details on the conference.  


1) Introduction by Prof. James Giordano, PhD: 00:11
2) Welcome by Prof. James Olds, PhD: 03:56
3) Opening Plenary: Towards the Neuro-Future: Challenges and Opportunities by James Canton, PhD: 17:24
4) Can (and Should?) We Regulate Neurosecurity? Lessons from the History of Science, the Military and Regulation by Prof. James Tabery, PhD: 56:38
5) Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense by Prof. Jonathan Moreno, PhD: 93:28
6) Hazards of Translation and Transformation: A Critique of Neuroscience in National Security from Science Studies, Ethics and Human Rights by Prof. Jonathan Marks, MA, BCL (Oxon): 130:05 
7) Neuroethics and National Security: The Promise and Peril of Neuroscience Technology, with a Hopeful Coda by LtCol William Casebeer, USAF, PhD: 158:39
8) The Human Dimension and US National Security: Our Current Challenge, But Greatest Opportunity by Chris Forsythe, PhD: 205:35
9) The Neuroethical Classification of Modifications to Body and Self by Prof. John Shook, PhD: 240:10
10) Neuroscience and Technology in National Security: Toward a Stance of Preparedness and Neuroethics of Prudent Action by Prof. James Giordano, PhD: 268:50
11) Panel Discussion: 304:40


Revolutions in neurotechnology will soon influence every aspect of human life. Neurotechnology can be used to further understand the natural processes of the brain, study and treat neurological disorders and injuries, and enhance neural capabilities, resulting in increased human intelligence and efficiency. Outside of the realm of health, it can be used in social contexts to improve overall quality of life.
This report reviews recent technology trends in neuroscience. The information herein has been compiled through extensive literature review, seminars, and discussions with professionals at the forefront of the field. The report also analyzes the various impacts neurotechnology does, can, and will have on society, and identifies major funders of neurotechnology initiatives. Trends in increasing quality and quantity of neuroscience research allows us to create recommendations for the expansion of neurotechnology application. The information, assembled here, demonstrates the vast implications of neurotechnology, not only for particular fields such as medicine and defense, but also for society as a whole.


coverOn September 24th, 2014 the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies held a seminar on Capitol Hill titled “America’s Next Frontier: Conquering the Mind”. This seminar featured remarks from Dr. Amy Kruse, Dr. Peter Littlewood, and representatives from the Potomac Institute. The panelists discussed the need for a National Neurotechnology Initiative, a comprehensive effort to understand the human brain. To succeed, this initiative requires well-defined project objectives, strong leadership, and unprecedented levels of interdisciplinary collaboration. The discussion focused on the key technologies and collaborations between fields that will enable our scientists to map the multitude of connections between neurons in the brain, interpret how the brain encodes information within these connections, in order to ultimately uncover the biological bases of behavior. We must build on the successes of previous science initiatives and capitalize on the revolutionary technologies that they created to enable neuroscience to become a powerful driver for all aspects of society.
Enhancing the Human BrainThe Potomac Institute for Policy Studies held a seminar on “Neurotechnology: Enhancing the Human Brain and Reshaping Society” on June 30th, 2014. The speakers and panelists shared their insights into novel neurotechnologies that can improve our cognitive abilities through biological, chemical, and sensorimotor enhancements. Just as computing technologies brought us into the Digital Age, neuroenhancements will become widespread and transform our society. A collaborative effort between policy-makers, scientists, and the private sector will ensure that neuroenhancement of the individual will result in enrichment of our society as a whole. The human brain is the most powerful tool we know. Therefore, we should do everything we can to understand its capacity, to utilize its worth, and to enhance its value to our species and ourselves.

NeuroScienceThe Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a symposium on the topic of education neuroscience on May 14, 2014. This symposium tackled the issues of how to apply neuroscience research to the classroom and how to reshape the future of education through neuroscience. Incorporating neuroscience and neurotechnology into our education system has the potential to revolutionize the way every student learns as an individual – a unique and personalized education, tailored to their interests and highly interactive, allowing each student to excel in their own capacity. Education of our children is our future. We do not have to accept education as a static, unchanging field. We should expect a constant improvement in our education system and now, neuroscience provides us with the best tool to effect such changes.


Neuroscience and Education Symposium Report (PDF)

On Friday, March 21, members of the science and policy communities met to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in neuroscience data sharing as well as possible ways to advance data sharing going forward.  Panelists included representatives from the neuroscience, industry, statistics, database, funding, and scientific journal communities.  The biggest obstacle facing neuroscience data sharing appears to be the need for cultural change (i.e. creating an environment in which data sharing is part of the work flow for scientists instead of an afterthought and a burden). One solution that was discussed is the inclusion of data sharing practices in the evaluation of promotion and tenure decisions. Another is the development and widespread use of technologies that make data sharing an easy part of the scientific process.   A second obstacle is the high cost for not only sharing data, but also maintaining and curating that data.  It is currently unclear whose responsibility this should be.   Before sharing can become widespread, the community must determine exactly what data should be shared.  There are differing opinions on this; should investigators share all raw data, only processed data, or only data pertaining to the experimental questions of the study?  Improvements in hard drives continually make it easier to store and share large quantities of data, but as more and more data is collected with new tools and techniques, this will become a bigger issue and one that must be addressed.


Neuroscience and Data Sharing Symposium Report (PDF)

Neurotechnology, like many developing sciences, is a multi-disciplinary field that has the potential to revolutionize medicine, law, warfare, and education.

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and The American Association for the Advancement of Science will be hosting a series of symposia intended to provide a forum for the public and policymakers focused on the societal impacts of neuroscience and technology.   One of the goals of the series is to develop future U.S. policy recommendations.

Neuroscience and technology will affect our society in more ways that we currently imagine. The speed of technology development significantly outpaces that of policy development.

On September 11, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Center for Neurotechnology Studies was a co-supporter, along with the Nour Foundation, of a conference at the United Nations entitled "Toward a Common Morality."  The Center's Director, James Giordano, PhD, was among the featured speakers.

Participants discussed the phenomenological and spiritual characteristics of human subjective experience, the neurophysiological and psychological foundations of these domains, and their role in practical reasoning and moral decision making. Emphasis was on elucidating how and why an understanding of the integrative neuroscience of the brain-mind both compels and sustains an appreciation for reverence and virtue, and provides a natural foundation for the emergence of a system of common morality.


James Giordano - Neuroscience, Reverence and... by NourFoundation


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Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.

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