Brain Awareness Week 2017: Why Become a Partner?

Brain Awareness Week 2017 (March 13-19) is only a couple of months away, and it is the perfect time to become a Brain Awareness Week partner! Partners participate in the campaign by organizing creative and innovative activities within their communities to educate the public about the brain and the promise of brain research. Many different types of organizations can become partners including K-12 schools, universities, medical and research institutions, professional groups, government agencies, and outreach organizations. Partnership is also geographically diverse, with partners located in more than 45 countries and six continents.

Partners can publicize and share their events on the BAW Calendar of Events and access free resources including event ideas and planning tips, outreach tools, education and science links, and downloadable resources. Partners within the United States can even order free publications and promotional materials to distribute to their audiences. A new video, “Why Become a Brain Awareness Week Partner,” which explains in detail the benefits of becoming a partner, includes interviews with partners and showcases stunning photos submitted by partners around the globe:

You can also find answers to commonly asked questions about Brain Awareness Week on our FAQ page.

– Amanda Bastone

Submissions Due: Design a Brain Experiment Competition

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For students still thinking about submitting a proposal for this year’s Design a Brain Experiment competition, you have just under one week before entries are due! All applicants have until Wednesday, January 11, to send their hypothetical brain experiment to competition@dana.org. Just remember to reference the competition guidelines to be sure all of the requirements are met.

Our scientific advisors will review all submissions after next week, and the winners will be announced during Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19). First and second place winners will receive cash prizes on behalf of their school or sponsoring nonprofit institution.

For any students who missed the chance to submit, not to worry. The Regional Brain Bee is another competition that’s coming up next month. To find a Brain Bee competition near you, use the Brain Awareness Week calendar of events to search your state.

Good luck!

Neuroethics and the BRAIN Initiative

brain-initiative-neuroethicsNeuroscience “is the science that is going to change the way people live, die, and think about themselves,” said Stanford Law professor Hank Greely during the third annual BRAIN Initiative investigators meeting, held in Bethesda, Md., last week. Research into the workings of the brain raises many ethical questions, some common to bioethics and others—such as questions of agency, consciousness, and identity—that are unique to the brain and central nervous system.

Neuroethics has been mentioned from the first public announcement of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative in 2013; a BRAINI workgroup is devoted to the topic. It is one of nine BRAIN Initiative priority funding areas for the coming fiscal year (grant info). At this meeting, a regular session was devoted to the topic, featuring five of the members of the workgroup, and it also came up in other sessions.

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Progress in BRAIN Initiative Research

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President Barack Obama fist-bumps the robotic arm of Nathan Copeland during a tour at the White House Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Oct. 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the less than three years since the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was announced, researchers have made measurable progress towards creating new tools and sharpening existing ones to study the brain. Though its goals are long-term, in a few cases this progress already has shown promise in helping people.

These tools “allow us to do things that, in the past, were unimaginable,” said Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse during the third annual BRAIN Initiative investigators meeting, held in Bethesda, Md., this week. For example, imaging tech such as fMRI and PET have enabled us to make maps of brain activity and create a brain atlas of the concentration of serotonin transporters and receptors. But to reach goals as ambitious as characterizing the many types of neurons and other cells in the brain—or even to get a good count of how many types there are—we need to improve both the speed and the resolution of our tools.

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Brain Awareness Week 2017 Building an Audience

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is only a few months away, so it’s time to start planning your outreach activities! If your organization or school plans to participate in the campaign, be sure to register as a BAW partner with the Dana Alliance to take advantage of free resources and services.

In particular, you’ll want to check out the Outreach & Promotion section of the BAW website for tips and tools to reach your target audience. Whether you’re planning an event for the general public, high school students, or seniors, the Dana Alliance offers strategies to build your audience via online outreach, advertising, media calendar listings, and forming partnerships.

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The official Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives BAW 2017 logo

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