Call for applications for Founding Supporters for the BNA’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) in Neuroscience activities

12th Feb 2021

We are calling for individuals and companies to support the BNA’s EDI work. We are looking for individuals and organisations who see this as the first step towards a longer term commitment of support, to help build a supportive neuroscience community through networking opportunities, bursaries and mentorship.

The BNA's EDI work includes:
 - An inaugural cohort Scholars programme
 - A special session at the BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience
 - Further development work to continue exploring best practice and new opportunities


Key dates

BNA EDI Founding Supporters applications close 1st March 2021

BNA Scholars will be announced the first week of March 2021

Mentor applications for the BNA Scholars programme close on 19th March 2021 (23:59 GMT)

BNA EDI Founding Supporters announced 24th March 2021

BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience 12th-15th April

BNA Scholar and mentor matches will be introduced the first week of May 2021

EDI Founding Supporters consultation for next stage development. September 2021


About the BNA Scholars programme

A brand new programme created in consultation with BNA members and others interested in improving representation, diversity and equity in neuroscience, to support students from currently under-represented ethnic groups in neuroscience and build a supportive community through networking opportunities, bursaries and mentorship.

At the core of the BNA Scholars programme is a mentorship scheme. This emerged as a top priority and key way to make a difference when discussing ways to improve representation in neuroscience e.g. at our open webinar ‘Empowering and including you in UK neuroscience’ and talking to individuals about what they needed for their careers.

What is offered on the BNA Scholars programme 

There are seven places on the BNA Scholars programme in this first pilot year. Successful BNA Scholars will remain on the programme for three years and the programme confers the following benefits for the full three years:

  • Access to a BNA Scholars’ mentoring scheme administered through the BNA
  • Free membership to the BNA and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
  • Networking opportunities through the BNA and BNA events
  • Opportunities to connect with key individuals within the BNA, for instance members of the BNA Council and Committee, and the Editorial Board of the BNA Journal
  • Funding towards BNA Festival of Neuroscience & FENS Forum attendance

EDI session at the Festival of Neuroscience:  Decolonisation of teaching and learning in neuroscience*

  • Exploring what this means, why it’s important, and how the neuroscience community should approach it
  • Sharing insights, best practice, and ideas
  • Collecting data and feedback via in-session poll, break-out discussion group and follow-up survey
  • Using outcomes of the session to develop published guidance for decolonising neuroscience teaching and learning
  • Publication in (OA) society journal to enable wide dissemination.

Expectations of and eligibility to be BNA EDI supporters

EDI supporters are expected to demonstrate the following:

  • Commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion. Please provide 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
  • To engage with the BNA and participate in related activities e.g. to contribute to an article in the BNA Bulletin

Application process

Please email sophie@bna.org.uk 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.


*Decolonising teaching and learning in neuroscience is much discussed amongst students, researchers and lecturers, but at present there is a great deal of uncertainty about what decolonising actually means, why it’s important, how to achieve it, and whether neuroscience even needs it.

How do we, as a neuroscience community, want neuroscientists of the future to consider and approach ethnicity? How can the curriculum be shaped to ensure a more diverse neuroscience? What tools, tips, or platforms can we use to share experiences, knowledge, and best practice to mean the community is truly inclusive?

This session will invite delegates to join panellists on an exploration and discussion around decolonising neuroscience teaching and learning.  It will include hearing about the experience of students from under-represented ethnic groups, an example of how a medical curriculum has been improved to make it more inclusive, and how neuroscientists might approach adapting their course material and students change how they view neuroscience. There will be plenty of chance for discussion and Q&A.

Following this special session there will be opportunities for ongoing discussion and brainstorming.  Ultimately, we wish to draw up a set of useable guidelines to help everyone in neuroscience make it more inclusive of all ethnic groups.

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