UK (De Montfort University) DMU expert part of new projects to advance responsible sharing of brain data

An expert from De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) is hoping to help accelerate our understanding of the human brain through a ground-breaking project.

Dr Damian Okaibedi Eke is part of an international team of researchers aiming to make it easier for academics to share ideas and collaborate on brain study.

The initiative, funded by The Wellcome Trust aims to establish a data governance framework for the responsible sharing of neuroscience and mental health data across four continents – with the potential to enhance our knowledge, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.

This $2.6 million project, led by University of Texas includes researchers from Europe, Africa, North America and South America. It aims to co-create data governance mechanisms to facilitate responsible sharing of brain data across jurisdictions for advancements of brain research and innovation.

Currently, sharing brain data internationally raises concerns about privacy, data protection, safety and equity.

This project aims to remedy this by creating a set of best practices and guidelines for the responsible and ethical sharing of brain data in ways that align with cultural norms, legal provisions and ethical contexts.


Dr Damian Eke said: “The long-term goal of this project is to form a sustainable global consortium to develop, test and operationalise governance frameworks for international brain data sharing.”

He added: “It will bring together diverse group of stakeholders consisting of scientific, institutional and governmental representatives, legal experts, funders, industry representatives as well as Persons with Lived Experience (PWLE).

“The activities of this project will produce invaluable tools and infrastructure for researchers, PWLE, and policy-makers for navigating international data sharing and lay a solid foundation for a continuing global consortium.”

Dr Okaibedi Eke is also embarking on his own project (African Brain Data Science Academy) alongside this later this year after securing a $75,000 dollar grant from the Kavli Foundation. Kavli is a US-based funder set up to advance science for the benefit of humanity.

He said: “As neuroscience research and innovation ecosystem move into an era of big data analytics, the required skills and data for this ecosystem to thrive in Africa remain largely inadequate.

“The African Brain Data Science Academy funded by Kavli foundation seeks to close this gap by providing capacity development in data science and neuroimaging in Africa.

“This includes capacity to use novel techniques for brain data generation, processing, analysis and sharing.” The academy will take place between the November 27 to the December 9 in Lagos, Nigeria.