A Guide to Pursuing a Neuroscience Career

The Dana Foundation promotes a lot of resources designed for young students in hopes of inspiring them to want to learn more about the brain as they move up the ranks of grade school. But what if you’ve already been inspired and are now looking for practical ways to prepare for a neuroscience career? While there is certainly no “one way” to achieve this, we want to share a few resources that can help point you in the right direction.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) recently published an article on BrainFacts.org (a great resource in itself) with tips for students on how to jumpstart a career in neuroscience. Here are just a few points mentioned:

  1. Compete in Your Local Brain Bee

For students aged 13-19, this is a prestigious opportunity to test what you already know about the brain and learn more along the way. The judges are all neuroscientists themselves, and participating in the competition is a great way to meet peers with like-minded interests. We report on the New York City Regional Brain Bee every year, which then advances into the national and international competitions worldwide. This year’s champion of the International Brain Bee was just determined in Berlin during Europe’s largest brain research conference.

  1. Submit a Video to the Brain Awareness Week Video Contest

The Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Video Contest is sponsored by SfN and provides a wonderful opportunity to people around the world who are passionate about educating the public about the brain in a creative, nuanced way. Plus – cash prizes and an opportunity to attend the organization’s annual meeting where the winners are announced! To read about last year’s winners and to watch the videos, check out this article.

  1. Attend a Society of Neuroscience Annual Meeting

In addition to finding out the winners of the BAW Video Contest, the annual meeting draws upwards of 30,000 people from around the world and has a packed itinerary of events covering cutting-edge research on the brain, a presentation of the Science Educator Award, and a Brain Awareness Week reception.

The SfN meeting is concurrent with the International Neuroethics Society annual meeting, which brings together neuroscientists, researchers, and pioneers in the field of neuroethics. Last year on this blog, we covered discussions on truth and lying, the rise of neurotechnologies, and interviews with renowned scientists, to name a few. Neuroethics remains a rising field as technology and research techniques continue to advance. If investigating the societal implications of neuroscience is something you may be interested in, read through this article we published on how to get involved in neuroethics.

If you are located outside of the US, there are other esteemed neuroscience organizations such as the Federation of Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), and the British Neuroscience Association to look into.

There are plenty more tips on how to jumpstart your career in neuroscience on Brainfacts.org, so be sure to read through the article. In the meantime, we will continue to do our part of working with partners to inspire the next generation of scientists in hopes of an even better future for our brains. If you’re looking to hear from some of our Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives members on careers in neuroscience, we have a YouTube playlist dedicated to just that.

– Seimi Rurup

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