Retention of highly skilled scientists from diverse and underrepresented groups is critical for creating the diverse leaders of tomorrow needed for innovation in neuroscience. To broaden ideas and perspectives in neuroscience and to continue pushing scientific boundaries, the field needs a diverse array of neuroscientists, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. Nowhere is this push more critical than at the post-doctoral and early career stages, when we have already invested so much in these young scientists. Science cannot afford to lose this great talent due to poor professional development support and access to networking opportunities. Support at this critical career stage will result in an increase of the representation of underrepresented minorities in neuroscinces at the faculty level.
To encourage greater diversity within neuroscience-related fields, in 2011 we created BRAINS: Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience, a national program to accelerate and improve the career advancement of neuroscience postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors from underrepresented groups. The program, funded by a R25 grant from NIH's National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), creates unique, life-transforming experiences for participants. The BRAINS program goal is to increase engagement and retention of academic early-career neuroscientists from underrepresented groups by reducing isolation, providing tips, tools, and skills development to prepare for tenure track success, and increasing career self-efficacy. To achieve this goal, the program offers two participant pathways: BRAINS Fellows and BRAINS Affiliates.BRAINS Fellows Program – Includes participation in the National BRAINS Symposia, peer Mentoring Circles, and Cross-Cohort Symposia.
The 2017 Fellows and Affiliates cohorts are currently in progress. The next round of applications will be open in 2019.
For more information about BRAINS, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.