Our Story

The NeuroRights Initiative was born out of an intensive three-day workshop hosted by Columbia University.  At this workshop, an interdisciplinary group of global leaders discussed the ethical principles of Neurotechnology and AI. The NeuroRights Initiative now runs out of the Columbia University Neurotechnology Center and is directed by Dr. Rafael Yuste.   


The Initiative

The NeuroRights Initiative (NRI) was launched by Columbia University’s Neurotechnology Center in 2019 under the leadership of Dr. Rafael Yuste. The 3-day workshop from which the NeuroRights Initiative emerged was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Dr. Yuste.  This workshop brought together an international consortium of top neuroscientists, neurotechnologists, entrepreneurs, clinicians, ethicists, and artificial intelligence engineers to discuss ethical concerns of neurotechnology and machine intelligence. From this meeting, a new human rights framework, called “NeuroRights”, emerged.  The NRI was founded two years later to serve as an advocacy organization for these human rights directives, and to develop further ethical guidance for neurotechnological innovation. 

The Founder

Dr. Yuste was a primary author of the proposal that inspired the US BRAIN Initiative announced by President Barack Obama in 2013. The rapid neurotechnological advancement that resulted from the US and International BRAIN Initiatives inspired Dr. Yuste to take a critical look at the potential societal impacts of this scientific development. In 2017, he helped organize the Morningside Group workshop in which the concept of “NeuroRights” was developed. In 2018 he was awarded the Tallberg Global leadership award for his exceptional work in ethical neurotechnology.  

NeuroRights Initiative Timeline