What are we doing?

Below are a few of the things that we at the BNA are doing for anti-racism in neuroscience and EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion).

BNA Scholars programme 

Early in 2021 we at the BNA have launched our inaugural Scholars programme. We were delighted to receive 78 applications, which were filtered down to our seven scholars. The purpose of this programme is the support students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds, so that they can thrive in neuroscience. Additionally, we wanted to create a supportive community of like-minded individuals through networking opportunities, mentorships, and our bursary schemes. 


Scholar Benefits (which will be available for 3 years)

  • Free membership to the BNA
  • Free membership of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
  • Access to a BNA Scholars’ mentoring scheme administered through the BNA
  • 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 attendance
  • Funding towards FENS Forum attendance

We are very grateful to the Gatsby Foundation for their ongoing support of the BNA which enabled us to start this Scholarship programme, launched in late 2020. We are also extremely grateful those who joined us as Founding Supporters, and to the the other organisations who continue to join forces and enable us to run this initiative.

We would also like to give our warm thanks to SfN for sharing their experience and advice during the planning and set up of the programme.


Open Webinars 

‘Empowering and including you in UK neuroscience’

With an increase in international attention of the Black Lives Matter movement and the global positive reception to #BlackinNeuro, the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) recognises that more can be done to support Black and ethnic minority neuroscientists to join the field, navigate through the learning process and thrive in this dynamic discipline. 

This online webinar was held on 10th August 2020 as an open discourse to discuss experiences, views and aspirations for the future of UK neuroscience - with everyone included. 


Ayan Ahmed - BNA member at the University of Surrey

Anne Cooke - BNA Chief Executive

Emma Soopramanien - Students & Early Careers Representative, BNA National Committee

Emma Yhnell - Equal Opportunities & Diversity Representative, BNA National Committee

The BNA is aware that other groups of individuals are also under-represented or face barriers for involvement in UK neuroscience, including but not limited to LGBTQ, those with disabilities, socio-economic circumstances, or caring responsibilities.

To watch this open webinar click the link here: https://youtu.be/eUSipAJoHMY


Informal Networking and Discussion Group

An informal group was a key ask from our Empowering you and including you in neuroscience webinar and has now been set up on Microsoft Teams. 

This informal networking group is for anyone who is interested in improving EDI in neuroscience:

  1. Are you at the stage in your career where you are in the position to chat and advise underrepresented ethnic groups wanting to progress in a career in neuroscience?
  2. Are you from an underrepresented ethnic group and looking for support and a community where you can flourish in neuroscience?
  3. Are you interested in connecting, learning, and sharing experience relevant to this topic?


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and ALBA Declaration

The BNA is committed towards equal opportunities and non-discriminatory procedures and practices throughout its work.

The BNA strives to avoid biases of any kind across membership, allocation of funding, print and online publications, and access to conferences and events, and when engaged in the employment of staff and election of council and committee members.

The BNA actively seeks to eliminate any unlawful discrimination or bias related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or any combination of these. Discrimination on any of these grounds is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. The BNA further seeks to eliminate any less favourable treatment relating to education, socioeconomics, or personal situation.

In all of BNA’s activities we are intent on providing equity for all and promoting an inclusive culture.

The BNA formally endorses the ALBA Declaration on Equity and Inclusion and works to fulfil its goals. 

For the BNA to endorse, fund or participate in a meeting, the expectation is that the meeting will follow the principles of this Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion policy, and meet the following conditions:

  • At least a third of the total number of speakers at the meeting should be women.
  • Individual sessions in multi-session meetings, and any meeting committees where they are involved, should not be populated exclusively by men.


Carers grants and bursaries 

Festival Bursaries

The BNA is delighted to financially support Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher (ECR) BNA members to attend our biennial Festival of Neuroscience.

To be eligible for BNA bursaries:

  • you must be a Postgraduate or ECR BNA member and you must have either:
    • been a member for at least a year
    • your application will need to be supported by a Full Member of the BNA. 
  • You must be registered to attend the festival
  • You must also be first author on a submitted poster abstract. 

Apply here for our festival bursaries: https://meetings.bna.org.uk/bna2021/registration-and-posters/bna2021-bursaries/

Carer Grants

We are pleased to announce that, with the support of the Guarantors of Brain, the BNA can offer carer grants of up to £200 to help cover care responsibility expenses and enable participation in either BNA-hosted or external neuroscience events. This includes in-person or online events. 

What will BNA-Brain Carer grants support?

We recognise that everyone's circumstances will be different, and we want these grants to meet as many different and varied needs as possible.  So long as you can provide a good case for why you need a grant to cover costs, it will be considered for funding.  Such costs could include but are not limited to:

  • Costs of a childcare provider, either in your home or in an external setting 
  • Cost of an in-home carer for dependent, or cost of an external care setting 
  • Access to teaching or other activities for older children
  • Any other activity/purpose for helping delegates to meet caring responsibilities

Apply for our BNA-brain carer grants here. 

More information about our our awards and prizes can be found here.