Fields of expertise
Dr. Marcello Ienca is a Principal Investigator at the College of Humanities at EPFL where he leads the ERA-NET funded Intelligent Systems Ethics research unit. He is also an affiliate member of the Health Ethics and Policy unit, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, and an ordinary member of the Competence for Rehabilitation Engineering & Science at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Dr. Ienca's scholarship focuses on the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of emerging technologies. In particular, he investigates the broader implications of new (and often converging) sociotechnical trends such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, digital epidemiology, robotics, assisted living, digital health, social media, dual use, and neurotechnology. He and his team use both theoretical and empirical methods to explore the requirements for responsible innovation, ethically-aligned technology design, user-centred design, and human-centered technology assessment.
Dr. Ienca is actively involved in science and technology policy within international organizations and professional societies. In particular, he is an appointed member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Steering Committee on Neurotechnology and the representative of the Swiss Delegation (appointed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, SERI). He has also been invited to serve as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe’s Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence and the Bioethics Committee. Dr. Ienca has written reports for the OECD, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament's Panel for the Future of Science and Technology. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Neuroethics Society (SINe), a former Board Member and current member of the Nominating Committee of the International Neuroethics Society (INS). Ienca is a member of the Editorial Board of several academic journals such as Neuroethics, Bioethica Forum, Frontiers in Neuroergonomics and Frontiers in Genetics.
Ienca has received several awards for social responsibility in science and technology such as the Vontobel Award for Ageing Research (Switzerland), the Prize Pato de Carvalho (Portugal), the Sonia Lupien Award (Canada), the Paul Schotsmans Prize from the European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics (EACME) and the Data Privacy Plaque of Honour, awarded by the Italian Data Protection Authority. He has authored one monograph, several edited volumes, 60 scientific articles in peer-review journals, several book chapters and is a frequent contributor to Scientific American. His research was featured in academic journals such as Neuron, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Machine Intelligence, Nature Medicine and media outlets such as Nature, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Times, Die Welt, The Independent, the Financial Times and others.
Furthermore, Dr. Ienca strongly supports open science, outreach and public engagement. He is committed to a holistic view of research that is not restricted to academia alone but involves an open approach to science communication, outreach and public engagement. Among other things, he is an open-science and open-data enthusiast and a human rights activist. He believes that there can be no ethical technological innovation without global justice.
PhD in Biomedical Ethics
Summa cum laude
University of Basel, Faculty of Medicine
M.Sc. in Bioethics, Erasmus Mundus Master's of Bioethics
Summa cum laude
KU Leuven, Radboud University, University of Padova (joint degree)
Barbara Wengeler Visiting Scholar
New York University, Department of Neural Science, Department of Philosophy
M.A. in Philosophy (Cognitive Science track)
Humboldt University of Berlin
B.A. in Philosophy
Summa cum laude
University of Rome "La Sapienza" & Free University of Berlin
Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel
Italian Data Protection Authority
Vontobel Award for Ageing Research
Center for Gerontology, University of Zurich and Vontobel Foundation
Prize Pato de Carvalho
Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra - Bioethics Institute, Catholic University of Porto
Sonia Lupien Award for Social Responsibility in Neuroscience
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
Edited volumesJotterand F. & Ienca, M. (eds.), (forthcoming 2022), The Routledge Handbook of Human Enhancement, Routledge, London (UK).
Ienca, M., Pollicino, O., Liguori, L., Stefanini, L., Andorno, R. (eds.), (forthcoming 2021), Cambridge Handbook of Information Technology, Life Sciences and Human Rights. Cambridge University Press, Oxford (UK).
Jotterand, F., & Ienca, M. (eds.), (forthcoming May 13, 2021), Ethics of Artificial Intelligence for Brain and Mental Health. Springer, Berlin (Germany).
Jotterand, F., Ienca, M., Elger, B., & Wangmo, T. (Eds.). (2019). Intelligent Assistive Technologies for Dementia: Clinical, Ethical, Social, and Regulatory Implications. Oxford University Press, USA.
Selected peer-reviewed publications2021
Ienca*, M. & Vayena, E. (2021). Ethical requirements for responsible research with hacked data. Nature Machine Intelligence, (3) 744–748 (2021)
Wies, B., Landers, C., & Ienca*, M. (2021). Digital Mental Health for Young People: A Scoping Review of Ethical Promises and Challenges. Frontiers in Digital Health, 91.
Ienca*, M., Schneble, C., Kressig, R. W., & Wangmo, T. (2021). Digital health interventions for healthy ageing: a qualitative user evaluation and ethical assessment. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 1-10.
Soekadar, S., Chandler, J., Ienca, M., & Bublitz, C. (2021). On The Verge of the Hybrid Mind. Morals & Machines, 1(1), 30-43.
Daniolou, S., Rapp, A., Haase, C., Ruppert, A., Wittwer, M., Scoccia Pappagallo, A., ... & Ienca*, M. (2021). Digital Predictors of Morbidity, Hospitalization, and Mortality Among Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in digital health, 2, 60.
Ferretti, A., Ienca, M., Sheehan, M., Blasimme, A., Dove, E. S., Farsides, B., ... & Vayena, E. (2021). Ethics review of big data research: What should stay and what should be reformed?. BMC Medical Ethics, 22(1), 1-13.
Hendriks, M. J., Harju, E., Roser, K., Ienca, M., & Michel, G. (2021). The long shadow of childhood cancer: a qualitative study on insurance hardship among survivors of childhood cancer. BMC Health Services Research, 21(1), 1-12.
Scheibner, J., Raisaro, J. L., Troncoso-Pastoriza, J. R., Ienca, M., Fellay, J., Vayena, E., & Hubaux, J. P. (2021). Revolutionizing Medical Data Sharing Using Advanced Privacy-Enhancing Technologies: Technical, Legal, and Ethical Synthesis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(2), e25120.
Scheibner, J., Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2021). Whose health record?: A comparison of patient rights under National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) regulations in Europe and Asia-pacific jurisdictions. Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, (Mar 2021), 56-75.
Scheibner, J., Sleigh, J., Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2021). Benefits, challenges, and contributors to success for national eHealth systems implementation: a scoping review. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 28(9), 2039-2049.
- *Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2020). On the responsible use of digital data to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Medicine, 26, 463-464.
- Scheibner, J., Ienca, M., Kechagia, S., Troncoso-Pastoriza, J. R., Raisaro, J. L., Hubaux, J. P., ... & Vayena, E. (2020). Data Protection and Ethics Requirements for Multisite Research with Health Data: A Comparative Examination of Legislative Governance Frameworks and the Role of Data Protection Technologies. Journal of Law and the Biosciences.
- Gille, F., Jobin, A., & Ienca, M. (2020). What we talk about when we talk about trust: Theory of trust for AI in healthcare. Intelligence-Based Medicine, Online First.
- Gasser, U., Ienca, M., Scheibner, J., Sleigh, J., & Vayena, E. (2020). Digital tools against COVID-19: taxonomy, ethical challenges, and navigation aid. The Lancet Digital Health, 2(8), 425-434.
- *Ienca, M., & Ignatiadis, K. (2020). Artificial Intelligence in Clinical Neuroscience: Methodological and Ethical Challenges. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience, 11(2), 77-87.
- Ferretti, A., Ienca, M., Hurst, S., & Vayena, E. (2020). Big Data, Biomedical Research, and Ethics Review: New Challenges for IRBs. Ethics & Human Research, 42(5), 17-28.
- Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2020). “Hunting Down My Son’s Killer”: New Roles of Patients in Treatment Discovery and Ethical Uncertainty. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 1-11. Online first: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11673-020-09963-0.pdf
- Wangmo, T., Lipps, M., Kressig, R. W., & Ienca, M. (2019). Ethical concerns with the use of intelligent assistive technology: findings from a qualitative study with professional stakeholders. BMC Medical Ethics, 20(1), 1-11.
- Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2019). Direct-to-Consumer Neurotechnology: What Is It and What Is It for?. AJOB Neuroscience, 10(4), 149-150.
- Jobin, A., Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2019). The global landscape of AI ethics guidelines. Nature Machine Intelligence, 1(9), 389-399.
- Ienca, M., Shaw, D. M., & Elger, B. (2019). Cognitive enhancement for the ageing world: opportunities and challenges. Ageing & Society, 39(10), 2308-2321.
- Ienca, M. (2019). Ethical challenges associated with health-related big data research: Marcello Ienca. European Journal of Public Health, 29(Supplement_4), ckz185-257.
- Ienca, M., Haselager, P., & Emanuel, E. J. (2019). Reply to “Separating neuroethics from neurohype”. Nature biotechnology, 37(9), 991-992.
- Feidt, R. H., Ienca, M., Elger, B. S., & Folcher, M. (2019). Synthetic Biology and the Translational Imperative. Science and engineering ethics, 25(1), 33-52.
- Ienca, M. (2019). Tra cervelli e macchine: riflessioni su neurotecnologie e su neurodiritti. Notizie di POLITEIA, XXXV, 133, 2019. ISSN 1128-2401 pp. 52-62
- Ienca, M., Haselager, P., & Emanuel, E. J. (2018). Brain leaks and consumer neurotechnology. Nature biotechnology, 36(9), 805-810.
- Ienca, M., Ferretti, A., Hurst, S., Puhan, M., Lovis, C., & Vayena, E. (2018). Considerations for ethics review of big data health research: A scoping review. PloS one, 13(10), e0204937.
- Ienca, M., Jotterand, F., & Elger, B. S. (2018). From Healthcare to Warfare and Reverse: How Should We Regulate Dual-Use Neurotechnology?. Neuron, 97(2), 269-274.
- Ienca, M. (2017). The Right to Cognitive Liberty. Scientific American, 317(2), 10-10.
- Vayena, E., & Ienca, M. (2018). Digital Medicine and Ethics: Rooting for Evidence. The American Journal of Bioethics, 18(9), 49-51.
- Ienca, M. (2018). Democratizing cognitive technology: a proactive approach. Ethics and Information Technology, 1-14.
- Ferretti, A., & Ienca, M. (2018). Enhanced cognition, enhanced self? On neuroenhancement and subjectivity. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 2(4), 348-355.
- Ienca, M., Vayena, E., & Blasimme, A. (2018). Big data and dementia: charting the route ahead for research, ethics and policy. Frontiers in Medicine, 5, 13.
- Ienca, M. (2018). Cognitive Technology and Human-Machine Interaction: The Contribution of Externalism to the Theoretical Foundations of Machine and Cyborg Ethics. Annals of the University of Bucharest-Philosophy Series, 66(2), 91-115.
- Ienca, M., Wangmo, T., Jotterand, F., Kressig, R. W., & Elger, B. (2018). Ethical design of intelligent assistive technologies for dementia: a descriptive review. Science and engineering ethics, 24(4), 1035-1055.
- Ienca, M. (2018). An evolutionary argument for the Extended Mind Hypothesis. European Journal of the History of Ideas, 6(1), 39-61.
- Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2018). Dual use in the 21st century: emerging risks and global governance. Swiss medical weekly, 148, w14688.
- Ienca, M., Lipps, M., Wangmo, T., Jotterand, F., Elger, B., & Kressig, R. W. (2018). Health professionals' and researchers' views on Intelligent Assistive Technology for psychogeriatric care. Gerontechnology, 17(3), 139-150.
- Ienca, M., Kressig, R. W., Jotterand, F., & Elger, B. (2017). Proactive Ethical Design for Neuroengineering, Assistive and Rehabilitation Technologies: the Cybathlon Lesson. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 14(1), 115.
- Adjekum, A., Ienca, M., & Vayena, E. (2017). What Is Trust? Ethics and Risk Governance in Precision Medicine and Predictive Analytics. Omics: a journal of integrative biology, 21(12), 704-710.
- Ienca, M., Fabrice, J., Elger, B., Caon, M., Pappagallo, A. S., Kressig, R. W., & Wangmo, T. (2017). Intelligent assistive technology for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias: a systematic review. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 56(4), 1301-1340.
- Ienca, M., & Andorno, R. (2017). Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Life Sciences, Society and Policy, 13(1), 5.
- Engel-Glatter, S., & Ienca, M. (2017). Life scientists’ views and perspectives on the regulation of dual-use research of concern. Science and Public Policy, 45(1), 92-102.
- Ienca, M., Jotterand, F., Vică, C., & Elger, B. (2016). Social and Assistive Robotics in Dementia Care: Ethical Recommendations for Research and Practice. International Journal of Social Robotics, 8(4), 565-573. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12369-016-0366-7
- Ienca, M., & Haselager, P. (2016). Hacking the brain: brain–computer interfacing technology and the ethics of neurosecurity. Ethics and Information Technology, 18(2), 117-129. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-016-9398-9
- Ienca, M., & Haselager, P. (2016). Brain-Computer Interfacing, Social Responsibility and the Ethics of Neurosecurity. Neuroethics, 9(2), 139-140.
- Ienca M., (2015). Neuroprivacy, Neurosecurity and Brain-Hacking: Emerging Issues in Neural Engineering, Bioethica Forum, 8(1), 51-53.
- Ienca M., (2014). Interfacce cervello-computer: nuove frontiere all'intersezione tra bioetica e sicurezza informatica, Bioetica, 23(1-2).
MonographsIenca, M. (2019). Intelligenza2: Per un'unione di intelligenza naturale e artificiale. Rosenberg & Sellier, Tourin, Italy (English translation expected to be released in 2021).
Teaching & PhD
Humanities and Social Sciences Program