Brain Awareness Week Partner Interview: Sung-Jin Jeong, Ph.D.

This is the second in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Sung-Jin Jeong, Ph.D., is the principal researcher/director of the Neuronal Development and Disease Department/Brain Research Policy Center at the Korea Brain Research Institute.

sung-jin jeong baw partnerThe Brain Awareness Week effort in Korea is a large coordinated effort by several organizations, including the Korea Brain Research Institute, that has reached around 4,000 people the last several years. How difficult is it to reach consensus among the organizers when planning such a large program? Are there any tips you can give?

Since 2002, the Korean neuroscience community has actively participated in Brain Awareness Week (BAW), enhancing the public understanding on neuroscience and scientific value. Over the years, a series of events hosted by more than 15 universities and research institutes throughout the country have become more dynamic and exciting, attracting over 3,000 participants yearly. Korean Brain Society and Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI) are co-organizers, playing a central role in gathering national brain research capacity and strengthening the cooperative network for the annual BAW event.

When planning for such a large program, it is indeed challenging to reach consensus among many relevant institutes. It is critical, however, to induce inter-organizational cooperation and reach consensus encompassing organizers’ needs. We try to make things work by weaving together everyone’s best ideas and key concerns before making major decisions on topics and planning programs.  Over the last few years, main topics presented during BAW were Brain Navigation (2014); Brain, the universe of our mind (2015); and What is Brain Research? (2016).  Fortunately, we have so far had fruitful outcomes and excellent performances by having the earnest discussions on planning each program and efficient role-sharing. We will do our utmost to continue building interactive partnerships with educational and research institutes nationwide, thus engaging the whole neuroscience community with a lively and successful BAW.
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Brain Awareness Week Partner Interview: Gal Richter-Levin

This is the first in a series of Brain Awareness Week partner interviews, in which partners share their experiences and tips for planning successful events. Professor Gal Richter-Levin, is the head of the Institute for the Study of Affective Neuroscience (ISAN), at the University of Haifa, Israel, and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

richterlevinheadshotHow and why did you first become involved in Brain Awareness Week?

In 2010, my Ph.D. supervisor, Prof. Menahem Segal, introduced me to the important activities of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. At about that time, we decided at the Israeli Society for Neuroscience (ISFN) to make it an annual activity of our society to reach out to the public during Brain Awareness Week and to hold lectures in community centers all over Israel.

During Brain Awareness Week, ISFN and the BASHAAR association organized free public lectures all over Israel, on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. Some of the lectures were delivered to adult audiences, and some to high school students; how do the scientists differentiate how they present the information to the two groups?

There is a difference between presentations to adult audiences and high school students—and one can differentiate further between adult and senior audiences. When presenting to high school students, the emphasis is on the potential contribution of science, and in particular neuroscience, to society, with the aim of increasing their motivation to consider science and neuroscience as a future career. In addition, ethical issues, such as animal experimentations and eventual prices of developed drugs, are often discussed.

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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

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