BBB survey highlights membership support for work with commercial organisations

14th Oct 2022

A recent survey run by the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) to gather feedback on itsBBB: Industry and academia ‘Building Bridges Between: Industry and Academia’ (BBB) initiative, highlighted support from the neuroscience community for work with commercial organisations and that more emphasis on career development would increase the value of BBB work.

The BNA's BBB initiative strives to build collaborations at the heart of neuroscience, enabling information exchange across the sector and promoting improved networking and opportunities between neuroscientists in industry and academia. Understanding the engagement needs of the neuroscience community is a key element of BBB success, and the responses from this recent survey will be used to further improve our communication and engagement going forward.

Sophie Jerrold, BNA's Development Director, said: "We have developed BBB to support everyone within the neuroscience community, increasing information sharing across neuroscience research, increasing credibility and improving translation. Therefore, it is vital that we understand what our community thinks and how we are doing with engagement across these issues, so that we can improve where we focus our efforts.

"It is becoming increasingly important that the BNA helps to establish a bridge between basic neuroscience research, applied research and businesses active within the sector, to promote research development in its most efficient form. Another survey from ABPI has recently shown that collaboration between pharmaceutical industry and UK academia is growing, with a clear increase in links. Through the BNA's BBB initiative, we want to ensure the neuroscience community can access the benefits of these collaborations, from more efficient research to career opportunities."

The aims of the BBB survey were to gain an understanding of: 

• How well the neuroscience community understands the BBB work.  

• Community support for the BBB work. 

• How to mitigate any perceived risks to the BNA's reputation as a result of increased activity with the industry sector  

• How BBB can be as valuable as possible to the community and, particularly, BNA members. 


Survey highlights & next steps

120 people completed the survey representing a wealth of different career stages from academia (90 responses) and industry (18 responses), and this is also representative of the BNA's membership, with the majority (38.33%) of responses from established academics.   

The over-arching response was that BBB work is something that is valued and supported by the neuroscience community and encourages steps in the right direction for collaboration across the neuroscience sector.  

Key findings included:  

• 57.5% agree that they support the work with commercial organisations and 23.33% strongly agreed and 65% strongly agreed that the BBB initiative adds value to their membership of the BNA. 

• 45% agreed that the BBB work enables career development for academic members crossing into industry and 25% strongly agreed.  

• 55% felt neutral that the BBB work enables commercial organisations to exert influence on the BNA and 41.67% felt neutral about the BBB work prioritising working with commercial organisations for financial gain.  

• Only 50% had heard of the BBB initiative and 65% hadn't attended any BBB events.  

The majority of survey takers supported the BBB work upon hearing about the initiative, yet many were initially unaware of it. The results of the survey also suggest there may be a lack in clarity and communication. We therefore aim to increase communication about the BBB work and its events to increase participation in the initiative. Find out more about BBB events here.

In addition, the survey clarified that there is little reputational risk for the BNA to increase its work with commercial organisations, as the majority of responses felt neutral about this increase in collaboration with commercial organisations. You can find out more about our neuroscience collaborations here.  

The results of the open feedback on the BBB initiative were clear that more support for career development would increase the value of the BBB work. The free text suggested that holistic career events, including career development, career networking and support for career transitioning from industry to academia and vice-versa, is the desired direction for the BBB initiative.   


About BBB

The BNA’s ‘Building Bridges Between: Industry and Academia’ initiative fosters collaboration between neuroscientists in industry and academia for information exchange through events and networking opportunities. We have delivered numerous events, increasing relevance, reach and expanding the BNA's portfolio.

Building collaborations is at the heart of our work, enabling information exchange across the sector. These partnerships support many important BNA schemes such as the BNA's Scholarship Programme which helps to increase Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in neuroscience.

Find out more about the BBB work here, along with our Manifesto. 

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