Public Consultation

22 May – 22 June

What are the key questions facing research on the mind? The Grand Challenges Public Consultation is an invitation for people across the higher education sector, and beyond, to contribute to the life and activity of The Human Mind Project.

Our Grand Challenges exercise is the first of its kind to be conducted across the mind and brain sciences. The public consultation asks academics, students, and practitioners, for your perspectives on what the critical questions in the study of the mind are.

We will take the results of the consultation to an interdisciplinary group of 120 experts and participants at The Human Mind Conference in Cambridge in June 2017. In two group workshops, we will draw out the innovative content and criteria behind your responses. From your contributions to the Grand Challenges, we will produce a series of recommendations on how funders can best design and support new styles of interdisciplinary research on the mind.

Take part in our Grand Challenges by answering the questions below.

1) What important questions about the mind are raised in your work or research?
2) What new questions about the mind do you think are key for the future of your work or research?

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Grand Challenge public consultation. The consultation is now closed, but you can take further part in the exercise by attending our The Human Mind Conference (Cambridge) on 27-29 June 2017. 

How can the concept of the mind integrate substantive/material grounds into it to the extent that can be narrated and read with convincing plausibility, economy and accuracy?

What are the cultural implications of the emerging view of the human mind as being largely unconscious?

What is the hierarchical connection among the different causal levels of reality?

How are mental traits that are considered distinctively human, such as language and mind reading, built from low-level processes found in other species?

How do minds create and stabilise culture?

Does working in a collaborative manner have to do with the features of the academic environment or with the identities of group members?

What is the basis of inheritance, what is cultural, and what is biological?

How can we educate the public to have faith in uncertainty?

To what extent are processes that are considered distinctively mental continuous with bodily, e.g. visceral, sensory, motor, processes?

Does the mind emerge from the outside or the inside?

Can we compose a continuum of the mind explicating dynamic interactions between micro and macro processes?

Psychedelics are said by some to facilitate access to the unconscious mind: what is meant by this and what underlies it?

How do you resolve stalled theoretical debates using empirical data as an arbiter?

How do questions about the structure of the mind relate to moral psychology and hence to ethics?

The brain mechanisms of memory are constructive and inventive: so how do we incorporate resources from our environments to remember the past well enough?

Choosing not to act: how does the mind come to regulate itself, and what are the cultural and biological aspects of this process?

How does the embodied & embedded brain give rise to conscious experiences of the world and of the self?

Can the mind be reduced to the brain?

How do our brains support real-world dynamic social interactions?

What is the relationship between language and cognition? How is this relationship impacted by language impairment?

Is the HBP a path to brain surveillance?

What is the relationship between language and cognition? How is this relationship impacted by language impairment?

Can we bring neuroscience research out of the laboratory, into the real world?

What are the physico-informational limits of the brain, and how are neural circuits implemented to carry out intelligence?

What are the fundamental relationships between information and intelligence, as manifest in the brain?

How does neuroscientific knowledge reshape conceptions of agency, authenticity and responsibility?

How can the concept of the mind contribute to producing theories that are capable of encouraging practitioners as well as theorists to become self-reflexive to understand their familiar assumptions and theories better?

What is the Grand Challenges exercise?

The first of its kind, the exercise aims at reaching a series of recommendations on what the major intellectual challenges are in the study of the mind, and how funders can support new styles of interdisciplinary research to address them. By taking part in our online Public Consultation, your contribution will help us understand the state of the art in research on the mind, and to define novel and innovative interdisciplinary research agendas. We’ll be sharing our findings to keep researchers and the public involved and informed on what we do, and what we discover.

What is the Public Consultation?

Whether you’re starting out in an academic career, a professional researching the mind in the private or third sector, or a scholar in the arts, humanities, social or natural sciences, we need your perspective to help shape inclusive, collaborative, and original research agendas. The Public Consultation runs from 22 May 2017 to 22 June 2017 and will be followed by The Human Mind Conference from 27-29 June. You’ll be asked to answer two questions, which should take no longer than a few minutes for you to complete.

What’s happening at The Human Mind Conference?

The Human Mind Conference is an international event bringing together experts from across the humanities and cognitive sciences to provide a major statement on current knowledge in the study of the mind. During the conference, we’ll be running two groundbreaking workshops in which all speakers and participants will explore and discuss your responses to our Public Consultation. We’ll be asking the conference to evaluate the questions you’ve submitted, and work as a group to identify both the values that lie behind your contributions, and those held by participants at the workshop. Over the course of two sessions we will arrive at key criteria which will underpin our recommendations for new areas of research, and novel styles of research funding.

Who we are

The Human Mind Project is an interdisciplinary programme bringing together people from across the all academic disciplines, and beyond, to explore and facilitate research on the mind. Led by world-renowned neuroscientist Colin Blakemore and managed by philosopher Mattia Gallotti, the Project has an international Advisory Board of leading experts from across the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences. Championing interdisciplinary potential and building new collaborative partnerships, The Human Mind Project looks towards the future of research on the mind.

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The Grand Challenges Public Consultation: Where will the future of research on the mind take us?

The Human Mind Project’s Grand Challenges public consultation is the first exercise of its kind to be conducted across the mind and brain sciences. Help us define future research agendas and new interdisciplinary funding styles.