Congratulations to our newly elected Trustees

8th Apr 2022

We are delighted to announce the results of the recent election held for Trustee positions on the BNA Council.  Following a tight-run election, the following individuals will formally step into their roles at the next Annual General Meeting (due in May 2022). Many congratulations to all!

Please click on their names to read more about our new Trustees, and their election manifestos in full:

Becoming a BNA Trustee means having responsibility for running the charity and guiding the largest UK-based neuroscience association, currently with a membership of 2,600+ people.  We are excited to welcome the new Trustees to Council and see the BNA continue to flourish under their leadership.

We would also like to take the opportunity to give a heartfelt thanks to all those who also stood as candidates. Having people volunteer to take on these roles is so important for the BNA and wider neuroscience community.

Finally, a further thanks to those who will shortly be stepping down from Council, when they complete their terms of office:

  • Catherine Harmer (Treasurer – Officer and Trustee)
  • Anthony Isles (Trustee for Communications)
  • Anne Lingford-Hughes (Trustee for Professional Liaison)
  • Narender Ramnani (Trustee for Research Policy)

Cathy AbbottCatherine Abbott - Research Policy Trustee
Professor of Mammalian Molecular Genetics, University of Edinburgh

Over the last year I have had the privilege of reading a wide variety of research outputs and impact studies from the UK neuroscience and related communities in my role as deputy chair for REF2021 Sub-panel 4. I have been deeply impressed by the quality and range but am also acutely aware of the challenges we still face as a neuroscience community, particularly in terms of support for early career researchers. We are making so much progress in terms of reproducibility and open science, but still have some way to go, particularly with reporting of animal experiments.

I am passionate about career development and the support provided for all stages from PGR to PIs. We do our early career researchers a disservice if we focus all our efforts on retaining people in academia, and must ensure that career advice is broadened out, and avoids making people feel they have “failed” if they choose other paths. I also care deeply about public engagement and education at all levels from schools to patient communities; research is vital in its own right but also has to have real-world impact on a wide range of stakeholders.

Funding in the current climate is challenging for almost everyone, and the BNA has a crucial role to play in lobbying for funding targeted to neuroscience (whether from research councils, charities or internal funding schemes operated by universities), and in supporting its members to access all funding opportunities. I have a good grasp both of the current funding landscape and of the frustrations experienced by applicants when faced with increasing levels of bureaucracy.

If elected to this position I would do my utmost to represent neuroscience, and neuroscientists of all levels, consulting widely and reporting back to our vibrant BNA community.

Previous experience/positions

Deputy chair of the Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience sub-panel for REF2021
Past experience as panel member for NC3Rs (grants and training fellowships)
Past chair of MND Scotland research committee
Current chair of Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body for the University of Edinburgh
Co-director of two postgraduate training programs
Formal mentor to multiple ECRs
Past chair of Athena SWAN committee for the University of Edinburgh Medical School, achieving Bronze and then Silver awards; past chair of Athena SWAN assessment panels for the Equality Challenge Unit.


Michael AshbyMichael Ashby - Credibility in Neuroscience Trustee
Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

I am passionate about credibility in research because I believe that increasing credibility leads not only to a more efficient discovery process, but it promotes the reputation of scientific research as a vital aspect of Society. This is key for the long-term future funding, impact and growth of scientific research.

Enhancing credibility in neuroscience comprises several aspects that I take a keen interest in. Optimised experimental design and robust statistical approaches are key elements that I have contributed to previously in publication of our own work and in developing new statistical methods to address the problem area of pseudoreplication in experimental neuroscience studies. My work with University of Bristol Open Access Steering Committee has given my great insight into the importance of open and transparent publication of findings, but also of data and code. Open research practices drive quality and efficiency, and I do all I can to promote those whenever possible.

Many new practices that are now being promoted to advance underpin research credibility, such as preprint publication, pre-registered experimental design and open data, require a substantial change from experienced scientists. It is important to provide training and implementation tools to guide researchers in changing their behaviours when needed. BNA, and other Societies, have made good inroads into collating training resources but there are more mechanisms for promoting high quality, reproducible science emerging all the time. Linking to these emerging platforms can create a network of resources that BNA members can then readily tap into. One example that is close to my heart and is of very increasing importance across nearly all Neuroscience is coding of analytical and modelling tools. Promotion of engagement with platforms such as CODECHECK (, which offers testing, validation and assistance in correcting published code, would bring increased rigour and reproducibility to in silico neuroscience. Many other initiatives are emerging all the time and it will be important to maintain a close relationship with organisations such as the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) to be at the leading edge of developments in this area. Having already collaborated on new statistical approaches with the Chair of the UKRN, Professor Marcus Munafo, I am fully aware of the goals and importance of this Organisation for the future of UK science. I would therefore be very excited to coordinate BNA efforts with UKRN. Of course, promotion of new approaches and platforms requires effective and simple communication. I think there is scope to improve and broaden dissemination of training opportunities via BNA through a range of channels that could access neuroscientists across the career spectrum.

Ultimately it is the newly emerging future researchers who will drive change in culture as they develop their careers. Therefore, it is vital that best practice in producing credible Neuroscience is embedded into training early in the careers of our young scientists. Targeting graduate training programmes and embedding credible research practices into learning opportunities for ECRs such as the BNA Festival of Neuroscience could further enhance impact of the BNA philosophy.

Previous experience/positions

I have been a member of University of Bristol Open Access Steering Group for the last 9 years and have been instrumental in generating Institutional policy on Open Access publishing of research papers and continue to guide decision making as we move towards an Open Data Policy. I have published on novel statistical methods for limiting potential impact of pseudoreplication in nested, hierarchical experimental design, which has been widely identified as a barrier to experimental reproducibility in neuroscience.


Trevor BushellTrevor Bushell – Treasurer
Reader in Neuropharmacology, University of Strathclyde

I am applying for the role of Treasurer of the British Neuroscience Association as I believe I have the relevant experience of overseeing finances in my role as Deputy Head of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS, since August 2021) as well as from running my own research lab for many years.  Additionally, I have knowledge and experience of the BNA Council & Committee structure from my previous involvement with the BNA. 

In my role of Deputy HoI, I’ve been actively involved in SIPBS finance committee overseeing budgets associated with the day-to-day running of SIPBS as well as being involved in SIPBS income and saving plans at the Faculty level.  Hence, I feel I have the relevant experience to oversee the BNA’s balance sheets, profit & loss reports and annual budgets.  However, I do have very limited experience regarding investments, taxes, reserve policies etc, all areas that would come with the role of BNA Treasurer and these are things that I would require guidance with to help me undertake this role to the required level. However, if my application is successful, I am happy to undertake this in order to perform this role.

I was a member of the BNA Committee in my initial role as an ordinary Committee member (2010) and then on Council in my role as LGR co-ordinator (2011-2015).  During this time I helped expand the LGR community throughout the UK and Ireland and promote a more collaborative and inclusive LGR community.  Whilst on Council, I was also appointed Chair of the BNA Host Society Committee (HSC), following FENS voting in 2014 that their Forum 2020 would be held in Glasgow. This role also meant that I was a member of the FENS Executive Committee and Governing Council (2018-2020), which further expanded my knowledge and understanding as to how professional bodies are run and managed.  This experience and knowledge will, I believe, allow me to fully contribute to this role.

Overall, I’d like to become BNA Treasurer in order to maintain and advance its role as the voice of British neuroscience, be involved in its future direction both from a financial and strategic perspective as well as ensuring it continues to represent neuroscientists across the UK and at the European and world level.

Relevant positions / experience

Deputy HoI Deputy Head of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (2021- present)
BNA Council member (2011-2015)
Chair of the BNA Host Society Committee (2017-2020)
FENS Executive Committee and Governing Council (2018-2020)


Mark WaltonMark Walton - Preclinical Neuroscience Trustee
Wellcome Senior Research Fellow, Associate Professor, University of Oxford

I am a behavioural neuroscientist who has investigated fundamental and preclinical research questions for over 20 years. My research programme has focused on how different aspects of value are learned and used to guide decision making within defined brain systems, and particularly how neurochemicals such as dopamine regulate these processes on a moment-by-moment timescale. The cornerstone of this work has involved using animal models, mainly rodents but also non-human primates, and I have been supported by major UK funders (Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC) and by industry (Lilly UK, Lundbeck A/S).

The rapid technological advances in neuroscience in recent years have created exciting opportunities, but also several new challenges for preclinical research. Preclinical studies – particularly animal work – are very expensive and tightly regulated. They increasingly require the research team to incorporate a range of specialist technical knowledge and practical skills, as well as access to sophisticated hardware. The data sets produced can be large, rich and complex to interpret.

Therefore, as a representative for preclinical research for the BNA, I would build on my own research experience and develop opportunities to enable researchers to access training and support so that the best approaches can rapidly be adopted across UK neuroscience to ensure we are a beacon for robust and credible science. This could be through specific training events or through creating networks (similar to the established “Neuromethods” Slack channel, which allows individuals to get advice from others). My own research group has been working to develop well-documented, open-source hardware and software platforms to enable labs to undertake preclinical neuroscience experiments using low-cost systems that are easily duplicated and allow experimental protocols to be straightforwardly shared. I would be keen to promote ways to bring together groups in the UK and beyond (e.g., OpenBehavior platform) to allow expanded adoption of this approach, establish standards for training and best practice when producing new products.

Central to much of this is how funders allocate limited research budgets to preclinical research. There is much flux in the UK funding landscape, from strategic changes at the Wellcome Trust to uncertainties over future EU funds. I would advocate for the vital importance of high-quality preclinical research to the funders and for the necessity for this to be underpinned by sustained support at all levels to ensure that we can provide secure career paths for the highly-proficient researchers and technicians on whom many of our labs depend. I would also push to ensure that research priorities include high quality behavioural studies, something for which UK neuroscience has got a long and proud history.

In my own research, I have greatly benefited from collaborations, both within academia and with industry, aimed at facilitating translation between the fine-grained molecular and cellular work feasible in animal models and research in humans. Therefore, a priority would be to build on the BNA’s ongoing work to promote interactions between academia and industry. The goal would be to streamline transfer of innovations between both.

Previous experience/positions

Membership of Society Committees: -
Elected member of Executive Committee, European Brain and Behaviour Society (2017-2020)
Elected member of Scientific Advisory Board, International Society for Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience (2018-2022)

Relevant University Committees: -
Member of University of Oxford Animal Welfare & Ethical Review Body (AWERB) (2010-present)

Industrial links: -
Academic Mentor/Consultant: BioMed X GmbH (2021-present)
Collaboration with H.Lundbeck A/S Denmark (via iCASE studentship) (2018-present)
Collaboration with Lilly U.K. (via Lilly Research Fund and iCASE studentship) (2011-2020)

Academic Leadership positions: -
Associate Editor, Behavioral Neuroscience (2020-present)
Member of Editorial Board: Royal Society Open Science (2016-present); Scientific Reports (2011-present)
Member of the Royal Society International Exchanges Grants Committee (2010-2016)


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