Message from the FENS President – January 2020
At the start of 2020, I would like to wish you all a year of important progress in scientific discoveries and personal accomplishments. My good wishes also go to our community as a whole for impactful neuroscientific findings and success in establishing a culture that fosters collaboration as well as personal support and well-being.
Largely boosted by rapid technical advances, neuroscience is nowadays progressing at an impressive pace. Being exposed to recent developments in the field at large is essential, not only to foster collaborations and interdisciplinarity, but also to position our own work within the broader picture; still, it is extremely challenging to keep up to date on our own. This is one of the reasons why participating in large meetings, such as the upcoming 12th FENS Forum of Neuroscience taking place in Glasgow this July, is becoming increasingly important.
In addition to the very attractive programme, which includes 20 plenary and special lectures and 56 symposia with prominent international neuroscientists and vibrant poster sessions, this year the Forum will feature a Brain Debate taking place just before the opening ceremony, on Saturday 11 July 2020. The Brain Debate “Which brains are we studying? And why are we studying them?” will have presentations and discussions by leading neuroscientists on the goals and implications of using different organisms (worms, flies and zebrafish, rodents, primates and organoids) to study brain function and behaviour. As a neuroscience community, it is important that we discuss the merits of focused and comparative approaches and reflect on our scientific mission and vision for the field.
Furthermore, the Forum will offer numerous opportunities for members of specific fields, networks and thematic societies to meet and interact in a focused manner. As usual, there will be numerous pre-Forum Satellite conferences and Special Events during the Forum. In addition, and for the first time this year, the Forum’s pre-programme will host eight focused Mini Conferences on a diversity of topics: behavioural, cognitive and molecular neuroscience, sleep, neuroimaging, neuroeconomics, intellectual disability, translational research. They will be held in the Forum venue on Saturday from 08:30-15:15. I strongly encourage you to consider participating in these new activities.
The Forum is a unique place to meet with colleagues from across the globe, catch-up with old friends and make new connections. The number of attractive social events is remarkable, and the ‘Jump the FENS’ party at Merchant Square promises to be great fun! And of course, the appeal of Glasgow - consistently voted one of the friendliest cities in the world - and Scotland will provide a great framework for these encounters.
Importantly, in agreement with our commitment to foster diversity and equality, the Forum will be a family-friendly environment and accessible to parent researchers. A family room will be available for participants attending with their infants or small children and the FENS-Kavli Network is offering a limited number of childcare grants (deadline for applications: 22 March 2020).
Finally, FENS is committed to fostering meaningful and sustainable scientific exchanges and, to this end, we have initiated a number of concrete actions to minimise the environmental impact of the Forum. In addition, during the registration process and on a voluntary basis, you will be given the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions from your transport, should you wish to do so.
I hope these features have piqued your interest in participating in the 2020 FENS Forum. Early registration, abstract submission and travel grant applications are currently open (deadline for applications: 18 February 2020). I very much hope you can join us!
Prof. Carmen Sandi