Supporters of the Scholars Programme

The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) is inviting applications to support our 2024 initiatives for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in neuroscience, in particular the BNA Scholars Programme.

We are looking for individuals and organisations with a strong EDI commitment who can work with us to help build a supportive neuroscience community through networking opportunities, bursaries and mentorship.

About the BNA Scholars Programme

Now in its third year the BNA Scholars Programme was launched at the beginning of January 2021, and has enjoyed two years of success. In 2024 we welcome our fourth cohort, as our first cohort graduate!

‘"The BNA Scholars Programme has increased my academic confidence, and has lined up unique conference and networking opportunities that would have been difficult otherwise. My BNA mentor has also been very helpful by providing an outside perspective of my studies and even of my work-life balance. I would definitely recommend the scheme to others as I only see it getting even better as time goes on!’" Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Jesusanmi, BNA Scholar

"The BNA Scholars Programme is a great opportunity for anyone looking to broaden their neuroscience experiences. For example, through its mentorship programme, I have gained a new support network. This takes away some of the intimidation of being an early career researcher, as I get to learn from more experienced cohort peers. I really look forward to the next three years of the scheme and diversifying my experiences as a scientist!" Tamara Wahid, BNA Scholar

The Programme was created in consultation with BNA members and others interested in improving EDI in neuroscience, to support students from currently under-represented ethnic groups in neuroscience and build a supportive community within the discipline and the BNA.

We have continued to expand the offer, in response to feedback from the inaugural cohort, and offer students a mentoring scheme, career development networking opportunities*, and membership to both the BNA and FENS, as well as funding towards conferences.

Having received an incredibly positive response to the first three funding calls, we have received support from fifteen organisations to date: the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Alzheimer's Research  UKBeckley PsytechBristol Neuroscience (University of Bristol), COMPASS PathwaysDeepMindUK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), Dementia ResearcherGatsby FoundationGuarantors of BrainDepartment of Brain Sciences at Imperial CollegeHello BioInternational Brain Research Organization (IBRO), School of Neuroscience - King's College London, London Metropolitan UniversityMSD, University of Sussex, and Wellcome.

The cohesive commitment to the BNA Scholars Programme, from organisations representing the full breadth of the neuroscience sector, covering academic, commercial, and third sector organisations, has shown how we can work together for the greater good; united in the goal of improving EDI in neuroscience.

Expectations of and eligibility to be BNA EDI supporters

EDI supporters are expected to demonstrate the following:

  • Commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion (demonstrated via provision of a copy of your EDI policy, or similar)
  • Commitment to engage with, and actively amplify the Programme; sharing news on company channels, and with own network
  • A financial investment in the Programme, in the form of a donation
  • A commitment to using your organisation's resources, staff and facilities to offer a career development event to the BNA Scholars
  • To engage with the BNA more broadly, and participate in related activities e.g. to contribute to an article in the BNA Bulletin

Key dates

  • Friday 1st March 2024, 8:00am: BNA EDI New Supporters applications open
  • Wednesday 1st May 2024, 11:59pm: BNA EDI New Supporters applications close

Application process

Please email Sophie Jerrold (Development Director) on with approximately 200 words on your company/academic activities and research interests, as well as 200 words on why you want to support the programme, and what you think your company could contribute, including financial support. Please attach your equality, diversity and inclusion policy, or similar. 

*Career development opportunities are especially important for broadening the career outlook and ambitions of the Scholars, introducing them to new professional pathways (across the whole of the sector), previously considered inaccessible due to perceived barriers. 

If you’d like further information about the BNA Scholars Programme, please contact Dani Wijesinghe (BNA Community and Inclusion Officer).

The BNA team works with supporters and other organisations committed to increasing EDI in neuroscience, to help craft and deliver additional career development opportunities for the Scholars.The feedback from the scholars has been overwhelmingly positive, evidencing how important these opportunities are in creating a sense of belonging and community. 

As part of the application, we'd welcome hearing about any opportunities your organisation could provide to the scholars. 

(The BNA Scholars attending a career development event at COMPASS Pathways (CP) in May 2022)

We are incredibly grateful to our supporters their cohesive commitment to the BNA Scholars Programme and associated EDI activities. These are organisations who represent the full breadth of the neuroscience sector, covering academic, commercial, and third sector organisations, all united with a strong commitment to improve EDI in neuroscience. You can see a timeline of some previous and upcoming BNA Scholars Programme career development events below.

BNA EDI Supporter Organisations






For full information on the Programme's Supporters, please see here. Visit our awards and prizes page to find out more about the BNA Scholars Programme.


Timeline of EDI Supporters' career development events for BNA Scholars

May 2022: 

  • Improving Translation in Neuroscience [BNA event] (London)
    • Symposia, networking
  • Site visit to COMPASS Pathways (London)
    • Panel/Q&A with department leads, office and laboratory tour

July 2022:

  • FENS Forum 2022 (Paris) [NEWS ARTICLE]
    • Poster presentations, symposia, networking

October 2022:

  • ARUK ECR Connect Day (Cambridge)
    • Career development talks, scientific communications and public engagement workshops, mock Grant Review Board [NEWS ARTICLE]

November 2022: 

  • Connectome (UK DRI conference, Brighton)
    • Symposia, poster presentations, networking

December 2022:

  • Festive Symposium (BNA event, Edinburgh)
    • Symposia, networking

January 2023:

  • ARUK Grant Review Board (Cambridge)
    • Observation of Grant Review Board

February 2023:

  • Site visit to Beckley Psytech (Oxford)
    • Networking, presentations, and drug development pipeline workshop [NEWS ARTICLE]

March 2023:

  • ARUK Research Conference and Early Career Day (Aberdeen)
    • Symposia, workshops, networking
  • London Metropolitan University site visit
    • Lab tours, equipment training, presentations, networking, panels [NEWS ARTICLE]

April 2023:

  • BNA2023 (BNA event, Brighton) [NEWS ARTICLE]
    • Symposia, posters, EDI-focused mentoring session (co-developed with ALBA)

May 2023:

  • Site visit to MSD (London) [NEWS ARTICLE]
    • Presentations, networking, and tours of Francis Crick Institute laboratories

July 2023:

  • CV surgery and research presentations at COMPASS Pathways (London) [NEWS ARTICLE]

September 2023:

  • Site visit to ABPI, PMCPA and OHE (London) [NEWS ARTICLE]
    • Presentations, networking, and workshops in the drug development pipeline and scientific communications


Testimonials from our 2023 Supporters:


“Equality, diversity, and inclusion are integral to the ABPI’s mission to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use the medicines and vaccines of the future. We’re proud to sponsor the BNA Scholars programme as it promotes the inclusion of under-represented groups in neuroscience and creates a community and culture where people from all backgrounds can flourish within the discipline.”

Jill Pearcy, ABPI Director of Reputation



"MSD is a proud supporting member of this scheme. The BNA’s ambition to improve ED&I in neuroscience research is exemplary. As a research-led company, we too are passionate about supporting initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion in scientific research. We look forward to following the cohort’s future success!”

Jill Richardson, Executive Director, Head UK Neuroscience, MSD

Sussex Neuroscience, University of SussexUniversity of Sussex

“We are delighted to be working with the BNA in improving the  much needed diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups in Neuroscience. Through our collaboration with the BNA in supporting students and early career researchers from more diverse ethnic backgrounds, we endeavour to enhance more diverse innovative thinking and solutions to complex problems in Neuroscience.”


Testimonials from our 2022 Supporters:

Alzheimer’s Research UKAlzheimer's Research UK

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to improving equity, diversity, and inclusion within the dementia research workforce. Early career researchers are essential to building a rich and diverse research culture and we are delighted to partner with the BNA to support the BNA Scholars Programme for the next three years. Not only does this initiative provide students with new experience and opportunities, it also helps to unlock talent that will add huge value to the field.

"We hope the Scholars will benefit from the wide range of opportunities we offer in our Early Career Researchers Programme. We look forward to welcoming the Scholars into the Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Network and supporting them in careers that will make breakthroughs possible for people living with dementia.”

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK

Beckley PsytechBeckley Psytech

“As a company we are passionate about supporting the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion in the creation of a more inclusive culture and supportive society, especially as it relates to science and medicine. The BNA Scholars programme does exactly this, encouraging under-represented groups to pursue education and careers in neuroscience, and we are proud to be a supporter of this important initiative.”

Cosmo Feilding Mellen, CEO of Beckley Psytech

Dementia ResearcherDementia Researcher

“Dementia Researcher is delighted to be supporting the British Neuroscience Association's Scholars Programme, it aligns perfectly with our own aims of improving representation, diversity, and equity in dementia research. We are looking forward to working with the individual Scholars to raise their profile in the community and provide opportunities and support to enable them to succeed in their fields.

"Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is more than policies and headcounts. It is about cultural change and by working with the BNA and other partners we hope to change research culture, to make it more inclusive and representative, creating better workplaces and driving better science.”

Adam Smith, Programme Director at Dementia Researcher

Hello BioHello Bio

“We are delighted to be able to offer financial support to the seven BNA Scholars of 2022. As a company, supporting diversity, inclusivity, and fairness to all are central to Hello Bio's ethos.

"We give voices to all scientists via our wide-reaching blog, and we are especially passionate about supporting early career scientists with our portfolio of low-priced research products, grants, and resources for personal and professional development. The BNA Scholars Programme is a much-needed initiative to support early-career Black, Asian & minority ethnic neuroscientists and we are excited to be part of it.”

Steve Roome PhD, Managing Director


“IBRO is proud to support the BNA Scholars Programme with an IBRO Diversity Grant. With a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, IBRO is passionate about supporting initiatives for change at a global scale through a diverse set of programs and support actions. The focus of the BNA Scholars programme to recognize and empower individuals belonging to under-represented ethnic groups is laudable and important.

Lars Kristiansen (PhD), Executive Director, IBRO, International Brain Research Organization

Department of Brain Sciences, Imperial CollegeImperial College

"We are committed to creating an environment where the best minds can come together regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other characteristic in the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London.  We are pleased to support the BNA Scholars programme and look forward to working with the BNA to make neuroscience research and teaching careers more diverse and inclusive.’

Dr Jo Jackson (EDI Lead) and Professor Paul Matthews (Head of Department), Department of Brain Sciences, Imperial College


Kings College LondonSchool of Neuroscience, King's College London

“We are excited to support the BNA Scholars Programme to support students from underrepresented ethnic groups in neuroscience. Our school believes that the work to achieve racial equity is a priority and we are pleased to be a part of an initiative that provides holistic support for the next generation of neuroscience researchers through mentoring, networking and bursaries”

Professor Mark Richardson, Head of School of Neuroscience at King’s College London

London Metropolitan UniversityLondon Metropolitan University

London Metropolitan University is delighted to support the BNA Scholars Programme because of our strong commitment to social justice and social mobility. We are looking forward to developing this partnership in order to create fairness and opportunity for all."

Monika Hunter, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at London Metropolitan University's School of Social Sciences and Professions

MSD Merck Sharp & Dohme

“We are delighted to be supporting the BNA Scholars Programme for a second year. This Programme continues to play an important role in improving equality, diversity and inclusion in the field of neuroscience, which at MSD, we believe is absolutely necessary to drive innovation and scientific success across industry and academia alike. We wish the new cohort every success and are proud to play a role in shoring up the next generation of talent!”

Dr Jill Richardson is an Executive Director of Discovery Research for MSD, based in the UK

WellcomeWellcome Trust

“A major part of Wellcome’s new strategic mission is to increase the diversity of who gets Wellcome funding—and this has to include activities that increase who gets to participate in research careers. We’re thrilled to support the BNA’s Scholars programme which will have an impact on the UK’s neuroscience community.”

Dr. Diego Benedict Baptista, Head of Research and Funding Equity, Wellcome



Testimonials from our Founding Supporters (2021):
bristol neuroscience

Bristol Neuroscience

“The underrepresentation of UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and those from poorer backgrounds in STEM subjects within UK HE is well known. We believe that by working cooperatively, BN and BNA can ensure that the best possible progress can be made in understanding and implementing the changes necessary to improve the current state of affairs in neuroscience.”line break

COMPASS PathwaysCompass Pathways

“COMPASS Pathways is proud to be a founding supporter of the BNA’s Scholars programme.

“COMPASS is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a bold culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we are excited about driving this agenda forward with the BNA and other founding partners, in support of neuroscience students.”

George Goldsmith, CEO and Co-founder of COMPASS Pathways


"We understand the power of diversity. Bringing together people with different experiences, knowledge, backgrounds, and perspectives strengthens our community and our work.

"We know that:

  • Building a diverse team is the right thing to do.
  • Diverse teams produce the most innovative work.
  • We’re working on technology that will impact all of society, so it needs to be shaped by as many perspectives as possible.

"We’re always looking for great people and we're committed to ensuring that all applicants and employees will be treated fairly and with respect, irrespective of their background and identity."line break

Gatsby FoundationGatsby Foundation

Dr Gary Wilson, Head of the Gatsby Science Portfolio, said “Gatsby is very pleased to be supporting the BNA to implement a new strategic plan to become a strong and prominent professional society for 21st century UK neuroscience and neuroscientists. An ongoing aim is to increase and broaden membership to ensure BNA is truly representative, supportive and relevant to everyone in neuroscience including those in the private sector, the clinic and in wider society. The Scholars programme is an exciting new activity to support early career scientists from under-represented groups in order to promote and foster a more inclusive and diverse neuroscience community."line break

Guarantors of BrainGuarantors of Brain

“The Guarantors of brain are delighted to be able to support the BNA with their Scholars scheme, which is both unique and targeted towards an area of unmet need.”line break


“IBRO is proud to be a Founding Supporter of the BNA Scholars Programme because it expands our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in neuroscience by recognizing and empowering under-represented ethnic groups."line break


Dr Jill Richardson, Executive Director of Discovery Research for MSD (based in the UK), said “We’re delighted to collaborate with the BNA to provide our support and funding for this valuable programme. Improving equality, diversity, and inclusion in the field of neuroscience research is something that we as an organisation feel passionate about – it speaks to our values, both as an employer and as a research led organisation, with a significant focus on neuroscience. A culture of equality, diversity and inclusion allows innovation to thrive and fuels the breakthroughs we strive for. We look forward to following the 2021 cohort’s success over the next 3 years as they progress through the Programme.


“We’re delighted to support the BNA’s new Programme, furthering our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the Institute and across dementia research. Prioritising inclusivity isn’t just the right thing to do – diversity of experience, perspectives and backgrounds leads to better outcomes in research and innovation.

"The issues surrounding EDI are numerous and ranging, but we think the Scholars Programme is an excellent first step in tackling one of these aspects by providing more support to students from underrepresented ethnic groups. It’s important for organisations to work together on issues like EDI and we very much look forward to collaborating with BNA on the Programme’s evolution.”

Professor Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director