SfN Council Prepares for Member Survey
The SfN Council met on April 28–29, 2022 at SfN’s headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., for its first in-person meeting since November 2019. During these two days, Council renewed an advocacy agreement with a partner organization, listened to plans to host the Life of a Neuron exhibit in New York City, discussed plans for an upcoming member survey, and prepared for Neuroscience 2022.
Spring Committee Updates
SfN hosted its 16th annual Hill Day from March 22–24 virtually. Sixty-five participants representing 27 states and Canada held more than 100 meetings with members of Congressional offices to advocate for increased, robust investment in the NIH and NSF. Hill Day participants also asked for Congressional support of increased funding for Veterans Affairs medical research programs, the CURES Act, and the RISE Act. Hill Day continues to be a meaningful way to advocate for federal support for basic neuroscience research.
Council approved the renewal of an MOU between SfN and the Canadian Association of Neuroscience (CAN) for partnerships on advocacy activities. SfN will contribute funding towards CAN’s advocacy activities geared towards encouraging national investment in neuroscience research. The Government and Public Affairs Committee (GPA) endorsed the MOU renewal and noted that collaborations between SfN and CAN are valuable to advancing advocacy goals in each country.
Continuing to Engage the Public in Neuroscience
In September 2021, SfN launched an immersive experience entitled Life of a Neuron in partnership with ARTECHOUSE after a year of pandemic delays. The exhibit is an interactive story of how common life experiences are made possible at the cellular level and takes visitors through the life story of a human prefrontal cortex neuron. After a successful debut and run at ARTECHOUSE in downtown Washington, D.C., Life of a Neuron is being shown at the ARTECHOUSE located in Chelsea Market in New York City through the summer. The Life of a Neuron is a landmark achievement for SfN developed as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration that illuminates the value of collaborations among science, art, and technology.
Upcoming Opportunity for SfN Member Feedback
With SfN’s last full member survey dating from 2016, Council has convened a working group to oversee preparations for the next survey. The working group includes volunteers serving on the Global Membership, Trainee Advisory, and Professional Development committees based around the world who represent a variety of career stages. The working group is expected to spend the next six months developing an outreach strategy and translating a breadth of topics into questions. Both Council and the working group look forward to hearing directly from members about how the Society can improve their experience in neuroscience.
Returning to an In-Person Annual Meeting
Neuroscience 2022 will be an in-person meeting held in San Diego, CA, from November 11–16, 2022. The Annual Meeting Virtual Product Working Group (AMVPWG) worked diligently to make a series of recommendations regarding virtual programming at the annual meeting, ensuring the program is available to scientists around the world as the pandemic continues to evolve. Much uncertainty remains in the global environment and Council wants to make Neuroscience 2022 as accessible as possible while preserving and emphasizing the value of in-person scientific exchange.
The AMVPWG recommended a slate of Neuroscience 2022 programming to be offered virtually to maximize participation in the meeting content while also prioritizing a return to in-person gatherings. The AMVPWG felt that abstract presentations should not be limited to only those who can be physically present in San Diego and recommended offering virtual posters for Neuroscience 2022. As such, the virtual component includes a poster presentation platform that enables viewers to ask questions or leave comments. The Program Committee and staff will be reviewing feedback from the Neuroscience 2021 poster experience as they finalize the product for this year. The Neuroscience 2022 virtual product will also include livestreams of approximately 23 featured lectures in addition to a selection of symposia and minisymposia that represent the breadth of programmatic themes available at the meeting. Registered attendees both in-person and online will be able to participate in event Q&A through the Neuroscience 2022 mobile app. Registration for the virtual component will be half the cost in all member and nonmember categories.
Council is confident that the significant efforts from the Program Committee and AMVPWG will translate into an inclusive Neuroscience 2022 and commemorate a return to in-person gathering.