BNA President-Elect awarded 2024 ALBA-FKNE Diversity Prize

5th Jul 2024

The BNA Community wish to congratulate our President-Elect, Prof. Narender Ramnani, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK who has been awarded the 2024  ALBA-FKNE Diversity Prize for his contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion in brain research.

This prestigious award, a joint recognition by the ALBA Network and the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence (FKNE) and supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), highlights Europe-based researchers who have made outstanding contributions to promoting diversity in brain sciences. 

Dr Ċ½eljka Krsnik (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Chair of the ALBA network, expressed, “The idea behind this prize is not just to recognise the incredible contributions to improving diversity by a single individual, but also to help inspire the entire community and remind us of how change is possible through collective efforts.

Prof Ramnani says, “I’m hugely honoured, and grateful to the people and organisations that have supported my work, including the British Neuroscience Association. There are still glass ceilings in  our scientific institutions that prevent talented people from contributing excellence to UK science, so there is still work to do.”

Image - Prof. Ramnani receiving his ALBA-FKNE Diversity Prize at a dedicated ceremony at FENS2024.

In addition to his role as President Elect of the British Neuroscience Association (BNA), Prof Ramnani is also Vice Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Life Sciences and the Environment at Royal Holloway. He is a member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Expert Advisory Group, Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter Governance Committee,and member of the Advisory Council of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, an All Party Parliamentary Group which provides a forum for scientists and parliamentarians to interact. 

His notable efforts include challenging the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s largest research funding organisation, on the diversity of their Research Council Committees. UKRI’s budget (2022-23) of over £8 billion has represented about half the UK’s public total spending on research and development (R&D). In 2020, Prof. Ramnani submitted a Freedom of Information request to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which funds a large fraction of the neuroscience research in the UK, to assess the ethnic composition of their grant assessment committees. His comprehensive analysis and report for the House of Commons Science and Technology inquiry on Diversity in Science resulted in an invitation to present oral evidence as an ‘expert witness’ in Parliament. His testimony highlighted significant disparities, including the lack of Black committee participation in BBSRC committees over five years.

Prof. Ramnani has been a member of the BNA for over 25 years and has initiated several best practices including introducing our gender diversity policy for speakers at BNA meetings. He has also been pivotal in the BNA's Scholars Programme for under-represented ethnic groups in neuroscience.

BNA Cheif Executive, Dr Laura Ajram says, “We are delighted that Narender has been recognised for his work to champion diversity and inclusion in neuroscience and are incredibly proud to have such a forward–thinking advocate in our senior leadership team.  Narender’s impactful initiatives have set a benchmark for our community and beyond and we look forward to continuing our work together to drive positive change in STEM.”

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