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Human Enhancement

Human Enhancement
Project team:

Coenen, Christopher (Project leader); Leonhard Hennen; Michael Rader; Mirjam Schuijff; Martijntje Smits and others


STOA (The Science Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament)

Start date:


End date:


Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

The umbrella term “human enhancement” refers to a wide range of existing, emerging and visionary technologies, including pharmaceutical products, neuroimplants that provide replacement sight or other artificial senses, drugs that boost brain power, human germline engineering and existing reproductive technologies, new brain stimulation technologies, gene doping in sports, cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing medication, highly sophisticated prosthetic applications that may provide specialised sensory input or mechanical output and others. All these technologies signal the blurring of boundaries between restorative therapy and interventions that aim to bring about improvements extending beyond such therapy.

In the STOA study, human enhancement primarily is regarded as offering a specific perspective on developments in science, technology, medicine and society. The study

  • proposes several, policy-targeted changes to the concept of “enhancement”,
  • provides an overview on “human enhancement technologies” (HET),
  • discusses in detail the state of the art as well as the social and political relevance of some of the most important or controversial HET,
  • draws attention to the cultural background of the discourse on human enhancement and to the social and political tendencies shaping it,
  • informs about HET-related activities and discussions in the European Union,
  • and outlines a specific European approach for dealing with the the topic of human enhancement.

The workshop in the European Parliament and the two expert meetings which were organised during the project are documented in the final report.



Dipl.-Pol. Christopher Coenen
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24559