SfN to be online: BNA respond to help affected members

13th Oct 2021

In response to the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (8th-11th November) changing to a purely online event, the BNA launches a one-off scheme to support local in-person meetings, plus an online jobs fair to help students and early career researchers to find opportunities in neuroscience.

We’re aware that many people are disappointed by Friday’s announcement that this year’s SfN meeting, for reasons outside SfN’s control, will be purely online, instead of a mixture of both online and in-person.

We are particularly aware of the impact on students and early career researchers who were looking forward to presenting posters at one of the first in-person meetings for nearly two years.

In response to this situation, we have been thinking how the BNA can help:

1. One-off grants of up to £1000 to Local Groups to support their own in-person event
We appreciate that local guidelines on meetings vary hugely and this may not be possible for you. However, we would like to enable BNA Local Groups to give the chance for people who would have presented in person at SfN to do so to a local audience. Key points:

  • The event would be expected to take place during or close to what would have been the SfN in person meeting (between 8th-19th November)
  • The intention is to give the chance for neuroscientists who were due to travel to Chicago to network locally (it is NOT money to organise a different meeting altogether, and activities must not compete with the SfN online programme)
  • It can be very informal and the application process will be very simple
  • Local Groups that are geographically close can pool funding if they hold a joint meeting
  • Due to limited financial resources of the BNA these would have to awarded on a first-come first-served basis, and capped at around 10 Local Groups (depending on amount requested)
  • See more details below

2. Online job fair (date TBC, around mid-November)
Given that the SfN meeting is such a key event for career progression, we will hold an online twitter-based focus on sharing information about jobs and opportunities in neuroscience.  We would dedicate the BNA team’s combined powers to search and post any jobs during the day, and ask that others around our community do the same. (Date TBC)

We appreciate this in no way replaces the SfN meeting, but hope these ideas might be a way to support our local neuroscience communities. 

Please let us know your thoughts and please also let us know your own ideas for how the BNA can be of help (email office@bna.org.uk)

With best wishes,

Rik Henson (President) and all the BNA Council, Committee and BNA Executive team

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More details about having a Local Group meeting

  • The idea and principle of holding a meeting in your local area is to allow some kind of in-person interaction for those who were planning to attend SfN in Chicago, and are now no longer able to. 
  • For example: such a meeting might consist of 1-2 hour poster session of posters that would have been presented in person at SfN, shared with the local neuroscience community. Those attending can be BNA members or non-members, whether or not they were attending SfN, in order to provide an audience to poster presenters. 
  • This one-off funding cannot be used to organise a different meeting, or anything that competes with the SfN online meeting, which will take place 8-11 November and provide a rich programme of top quality neuroscience.
  • We encourage a social aspect of your local event, to encourage people to meet up and discuss neuroscience.
  • We are aware that in-person events on campuses need to be risk assessed for health and safety, and restrictions vary from one campus to another.  Please ensure that any local meeting you are planning is first deemed to be feasible (e.g. COVID-safe) by the University, or by an off-campus venue, before going ahead.  Health and safety of individual local events is the responsibility of the local venue, not the BNA.
  • Please note that any non-refundable costs incurred without first confirming that the event is deemed to be feasible cannot be met by the BNA.
  • Since this is a one-off and very rapidly developed scheme, we may not have thought of all eventualities!  If you are planning to hold an event using this funding, please get in touch with office@bna.org.uk and discuss. We're here to help you!

FAQs

How do I apply for this funding?
In the fist instance, please email office@bna.org.uk.  We will then ask you to complete a short form.

I'm a neuroscientist in the UK or Ireland and was planning to travel to SfN, but I'm not a BNA member.  Can I still take part in one of these local events?
Yes! If the BNA Local Group in your area is holding one of these BNA funded events, you are welcome to attend whether or not you are a BNA member.  However, we would of course love to have you as a member of the BNA family (from just £1 a month!) - join online today.

I'm a neuroscientist in the UK or Ireland; I was not planning to attend SfN, but I'm interested to see the posters that would have been presented by my local colleagues.  Can I still take part in one of these local events?
Yes! If the BNA Local Group in your area is holding one of these BNA funded events, you are welcome to attend whether or not you were planning to attend SfN. Indeed, it would be great to give those who were planning to travel to Chicago the chance to present their poster to a local in-person audience, so please go and ask them about their work!

How do I know if there's a BNA Local Group in my area?
Please check the list of Local Groups and their Local Group Representatives here.

How do I know if my BNA Local Group is running one of these events?
Please contact your own Local Group Representative, listed here.

I would like to hold one of these events, but I'm not a BNA Local Group Representative.
Please contact your own Local Group Representative, listed here, and discuss with them about applying for funding. 

I'm a Local Group Representative and would like to use the funding for a local meeting, but not for people who would have atttended SfN in Chicago.  Is that OK?
No: this is one-off funding that is specifically in response to the cancellation of the in-person aspect of the SfN meeting, and to help mitigate the impact on those affected.

I'm a Local Group Representative and would like to run a local event for those who would have atttended SfN in Chicago. Can I invite others as well?
Yes: although the primary purpose of the event should be to provide a chance for people who would have travelled to Chicago to present their work, you can include other posters and invite other people to attend (whether or not they were registered for SfN, and whether or not they are BNA members).  However, the main purpose of the event must remain at the heart of your event, and any other activities must be to enhance not detract from this purpose.

Is it OK to run a local event before or after 9th-19th November?
The purpose of these events is to provide a chance for those who were to present in Chicago, the opportunity to present to a local audience instead. Given these individuals will have therefore planned their work and posters, and scheduled time during this period to give a presentation, any local event should fall in this window. However, if there are particular circumstances in your Local Group that make this difficult, please contact us at office@bna.org.uk to discuss.

I have more questions!
Please get in touch with us and we'll do our best to answer them! Email office@bna.org.uk.

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