Learn more about the BNA Scholars Programme

About the Programme

There are seven places on the BNA Scholars Programme available each year. Successful BNA Scholars will remain on the Programme for three years* and the programme confers the following minimum benefits for the full three years*:

  • Free membership to the BNA
  • Free membership of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
  • Access to a BNA Scholars’ mentoring scheme administered through the BNA
  • Networking opportunities through the BNA and BNA events
  • A broad range of bespoke career development opportunities provided by academic and commercial Supporters of the Programme, e.g. writing opportunities, site visits, careers workshops, and poster sessions.
  • Opportunities to connect with key individuals within the BNA, for instance members of the BNA Council and Committee, and the Editorial Board of the BNA Journal
  • Funding towards BNA Festival of Neuroscience attendance

BNA Scholar attendance at BNA Festivals of Neuroscience

We expect the successful BNA Scholar candidates to attend the biennial BNA Festivals of Neuroscience. These events will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, whilst offering the opportunity to present a poster and network.

If a successful BNA Scholar has already registered and submitted a poster abstract for BNA Festival of Neuroscience, then the BNA will issue a refund. In the case of successful BNA Scholar candidates who have not registered or submitted a poster abstract, we will offer a special abstract submission window in which they can do so. The poster abstract will be subject to peer-review prior to acceptance.

*If the Scholar completes their neuroscience degree and thereafter does not remain in the neuroscience sector (where ‘the neuroscience sector’ includes any neuroscience-related role in the public, charity or commercial sector, including both academia and industry) before the three years are completed, they will receive free BNA Associate membership for the remainder of the three years but no other benefits. If the Scholar is still in process of completing their neuroscience degree after the three years have finished, then ongoing inclusion on the Programme will be reviewed on a year by year basis. We will take into consideration any required career breaks (e.g for caring responsibilities) on a case by case basis.


Expectations of BNA Scholars

Expectations of BNA Scholars are as follows:

  • To engage with the programme and attend regular meetings with your Mentor
  • To feedback to the BNA (both formally and informally) based on your experiences for evaluation purposes
  • To engage with the BNA and participate in related activities e.g. to contribute to an article in the BNA Bulletin
  • To attend the biennial BNA Festival of Neuroscience and present a poster at the Festival if possible

There is an expectation of 4-6 meetings between the Scholar and Mentor per year. The format of meeting can be decided between the Scholar and mentor, whether they take place online, over the phone or in person (when permitted).


Annual award cycle

  • October: Scholar and Mentor applications open
  • December: Scholar applications close
  • February: Mentor applications close
  • Spring: Scholars announced
  • Spring: Mentors matched with Scholars


Eligibility of Scholars

Scholar applicants must be:

  • A Final Year Undergraduate, Masters (including integrated Masters) or PhD student. Or an early career research technician/assistant (positions must be held after an undergraduate or master’s degree). 
  • Affiliated with UK Higher Education Institution (and planning to remain affiliated for at least the next year)
  • Self-identify as Black, Asian, or minority ethnic
  • Interested in pursuing a future career and have research interests in neuroscience and/or the wider neuroscience sector


Selection process

To ensure fairness in the selecting process, all application form data will be anonymised. A review panel, chaired by the BNA National Committee member for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), has been set up to assist in the initial Scholar selection process and the mentor matching process.

If there are a greater number of applicants who meet all criteria than there are scholarships available, then factors including the following will be considered when selecting the successful applicants:

  • Geographical spread across the UK
  • Ethnic group
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Degree of potential impact of joining the Scholars Programme
  • Commitment to the Programme and to mentoring future cohorts
  • Likelihood of and commitment to pursuing a career in neuroscience or related to neuroscience
  • Overall balanced representation