Announcing our new BNA President-Elect: Rik Henson

16th Apr 2019

The BNA is delighted to announce Professor Richard (Rik) Henson as our new President-Elect.

Rik is an MRC Programme Leader and Deputy Director of Cambridge University’s MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, as well as Professor at the Department of Psychiatry. His work focuses on trying to understand how our brains support different types of memory, which is vital for understanding the memory problems associated with brain damage and disease, and following normal ageing. 

Rik will bring a wealth of experience within the cognitive neuroscience arena. During a long and wide-ranging career, he obtained a degree in experimental psychology in Cambridge, followed by a masters in artificial intelligence in Edinburgh and a PhD in cognitive psychology. He then held a Wellcome Fellowship at University College London, before returning to Cambridge as an MRC Programme Leader.

Speaking of his appointment, Rik said: ‘I am really excited to have been voted as President-Elect, so huge thanks to the Council for trusting me with this incredibly important role! I’m eager to make a contribution to growing the organisation and listening to what members need, now and in the future.’

One particular interest I have is to continue to shape and promote the value of reproducible and transparent research, and I’m excited about the part BNA can play within this, especially around the tools and guidance we can provide to members to support such research.’ 

I truly believe together we can look forward to some great things ahead with the BNA and its role within the UK neuroscience community.’

Nominated by members of the BNA, becoming President of the BNA is a prestigious role, previously occupied by leading UK neuroscientists including John O’Keefe, Nancy Rothwell and David Nutt. The President-Elect, along with the President and Past-President, act as a figurehead of the BNA, representing the BNA externally, and helping develop the organisation’s overarching strategic direction, aims and activities of the BNA.

You can find Rik at or on Twitter (@rikhens) and see his full manifesto for the role below. Many thanks to all our members for their nominations! 


Rik Henson’s Manifesto

I am excited about the opportunity to make a greater contribution to the BNA, an organisation for which I have great admiration, particularly for its future thinking. At this stage, I can see at least three main directions I would like to pursue. Firstly, I would like to continue to “open up” British neuroscience, particularly in terms of Open Science. I have been an ardent supporter of Open Science for several years now (see our local achievements at I am delighted that the BNA have adopted our idea of Pre-registration Posters in next year’s conference (it will be interesting to see how popular they prove, though I suspect they will take time to catch on), but there is a lot more we could do, for example, in terms of our journal (e.g, open review, kite-marking, pre-registration reports) and educational goals (e.g, open science workshops at our conference). I would also like to explore linking up the BNA’s local representatives with local representatives of the new UK Network of Open Science Working Groups (, to help instil the principles of Open Science in the next generation.

Secondly, I think the BNA does a fantastic job catering for young neuroscientists (ECRs) and scientists attending our conference who have caring responsibilities. But we cannot relax, and should continue to innovate with new ideas, e.g, encouraging talks by role models from more diverse backgrounds (ethnic and socioeconomic). I would also like to expand our educational work, for example to  convene a day or two of education courses before or after our conference. In my experience, such courses have proved successful at other large conferences (e.g, HBM) and even smaller UK ones (e.g, MEGUK).

Finally, I would like to explore the possibility of closer links with the several other UK societies related to neuroscience, such as the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience, British Neuropsychological Society and British Neuropsychiatry Association (and likely others). I do not know what efforts have already be made in this direction, but it seems that these smaller organisations might benefit from the outstanding communications team at the BNA, and our far greater resources. This will help the BNA’s success continue as a uniting force in our field.

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