The UW BRAINS program receives a Sloan Foundation grant to develop an online directory for neuroscientists from underrepresented groups

Seattle, July 28, 2020 - The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recently awarded a $145,000+ grant to the BRAINS Program to create a dynamic online program directory and networking resource. This project will enhance understanding of career networking needs, increase within community resource sharing and networking, and facilitate connections between BRAINS community members and external stakeholders.

Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience (BRAINS) is a University of Washington-based program designed to accelerate and improve the career advancement of neuroscience postdoctoral scholars and assistant professors from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and disability status groups. Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke since 2011, BRAINS has connected 130+ accomplished early-career neuroscientists across seven cohorts to skill development opportunities and a dynamic network of professionals in the biomedical workforce.

The directory will be designed to complement existing networking resources, and it will be based on BRAINS community and external stakeholder input. A primary function of the directory is to increase connections among BRAINS community members and to facilitate mentoring, sponsorship, collaborations and resource sharing among community members across a range of career stages. BRAINS community members will also have the opportunity to share a mini-video about their work through the directory. Privacy settings will be individually-managed, allowing members to elect which information is available publicly and to other BRAINS community members. “This project is an opportunity to raise the profile of the many outstanding neuroscientists who are part of the BRAINS community,” said BRAINS leadership team member Dr. Joyce Yen.

Importantly, the BRAINS directory, along with a number publicly available directories and online resources, will help dispel the myth that it is hard to find minoritized neuroscientists and that few neuroscientists from underrepresented groups pursue faculty careers. The BRAINS directory will complement a growing number of resources and larger efforts across STEM that are currently in development such as BlackInNeuro and the Spark Society's Database of Cognitive Scientists of Color – designed to amplify the work of BIPOC in STEM.

“We are really excited to be able to develop this resource that centers the interests and needs of our BRAINS community members to connect with one another as well as with the broader STEM community,” says Dr. Claire Horner-Devine, BRAINS leadership team member.

BRAINS is directed by Dr. Sheri Mizumori, BRAINS PI and Professor of Psychology, UW, Dr. Joyce Yen, BRAINS Co-I and Director, ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, UW, and Dr. Claire Horner-Devine, BRAINS Co-I and Founder, Counterspace Consulting LLC. We gratefully acknowledge support received from the NINDS of NIH (grants R25NS076416 and R25NS094094) and the Washington Research Foundation.

For more information about BRAINS, please visit: http://brains.washington.edu.