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16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions; Research Projects; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018

The aim of the research proposal “Neurodiversity between Law and Science” (NEDBELS) is to inquire into the legal impacts
and socio-political implications of the concept of neurodiversity. This term pertains to individuals diagnosed with
neurodevelopmental disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism and hypothesizes the emergence of a new
category of difference in the human population. NEDBELS explores how this concept challenges the constitutional principle
of equality, as well as how it fosters the need to accommodate new principles in criminal and civil law. This proposal has
risen from a need for heightened communication between law and science. Scientific theories, concepts and methods widely
permeate law and adjudication, and legal and ethical frameworks intimately drive applied sciences, as in education and
health care systems. Therefore, one might reasonably expect that these two worlds would cooperate on a regular basis.
However, lawyers, scientists and health care professionals operate largely insulated from one another in research, formal
training and daily practice. This divergence prevents vulnerable minorities, such as people with neurodevelopmental
disorders, from reaping the full socio-political potential of scientific advancements. NEDBELS’s goal is to increase
communication between law and neurosciences through interdisciplinary research methodologies and scientific trainingthrough-
research as well as by enhancing the synergy among legal experts, policy makers and scientists in the field of

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