Connecting European Neuroscience

FENS President Message October 2020

01 October, 2020 in FENS News

Jean-Antoine Girault (France) is the FENS President for 2020-2022. "It is a real honour to be FENS President and I am looking forward to serving FENS and the neuroscience community." Read his message and find out more about Jean-Antoine's plans for FENS in the coming two years.

"Dear colleagues, dear friends,

It is a real honour to be FENS President and I am looking forward to serving FENS and the neuroscience community over these coming two years, together with Secretary General, Dóra Reglődi, Treasurer, Harm Krugers, and our other colleagues.

In these unusual times, I first would like to express my sympathy and support to those of you who have experienced difficulties, losses or suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to those who have been involved professionally or otherwise in the fight against it.

On a more positive note, I would like to share with you my excitement to take over the responsibility of the FENS Presidency.
Although we were all sorry that we could not meet in person in Glasgow last July, we now have the satisfaction of knowing that the FENS 2020 Virtual Forum was a real success, bringing together over 5,000 delegates from across 88 countries. We learned a lot from this experience, particularly with regards to the advantages of an online format, including the possibility to increase the Forum’s accessibility, and we will definitely take this trend forward in future events.

I was personally really thrilled to have such great speakers on the computer screen in my office and at home; it gives an unexpectedly intimate touch to plenary lectures and symposia. The sessions are still accessible online and I invite all registered delegates who missed talks or posters to continue enjoying the content until 15 October.  

FENS is now a large and efficient organisation that does its best to serve the neuroscience community and promote neuroscience across Europe and beyond. Many FENS activities, in the same way as our members’ and partners’, are being impacted by the current context and our first objective therefore is to make sure they all recover and can be developed further, learning when possible from the current difficulties. As the future remains uncertain, FENS will continue developing activities and initiatives to support its members and the neuroscience community.

Offering a global vision for FENS’ missions and objectives, and the means to achieve them, the Strategic Plan for the next two years has been updated. Now is the time to strengthen those actions which have already been started, and to identify the best way to integrate lessons learned over the last few months. Along those lines, I would like to stress several points which I think are particularly important.

FENS was created to bring together the scientific community and advance research and education in neuroscience in Europe and beyond. As the voice of European neuroscience, FENS takes great pride in its position and strives to promote inclusive and responsible science.

Actions to enhance inclusiveness and openness have been launched by past FENS President Carmen Sandi and her colleagues through the creation of the ALBA Network. This network raises awareness on gender and diversity issues in brain sciences and disseminates positive practices countering discrimination. FENS will continue its strong involvement in this domain, in close interaction with the ALBA Network.

We cannot ignore the fact that the scientific approach to the world is currently under attack and that part of the public is losing confidence in science. One way to fight back is to further improve the quality of science. FENS is committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of the scientific community to carry out transparent, reproducible research to support the next generation of excellent and credible science. Science is a collective enterprise which is more efficient and progresses faster when scientists openly exchange and collaborate. This is an approach that FENS will continue to encourage.

Preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change is clearly another major objective for many. In this context, FENS is concerned by the sustainability of its actions and is taking steps to minimise their environmental impact.

FENS is the federation of national and thematic neuroscience societies and I would strongly encourage everyone to register with the society of the country you are working in. Not only will you automatically become a FENS member and be able to enjoy all the member benefits on offer, you will also be contributing to reinforcing neuroscience at a regional scale. A key objective for FENS in the coming years is to enhance exchanges and interactions with member societies and to develop synergistic actions that are beneficial to neuroscientists in the various concerned countries, taking into account different needs and contexts.

Finally, I would like to remind you that the journal of FENS, your journal, is the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN). In recent years, EJN has evolved and developed many innovative approaches to achieve efficient and fair manuscript handling. EJN has recently been reinforced by the appointment of four outstanding Senior Editors covering a broad expertise in neuroscience. I strongly encourage you to submit your manuscripts to EJN.

I would very much appreciate your feedback and suggestions on the issues mentioned above and any others.

I look forward to working with the FENS community, and I wish you, your families and colleagues good health."

Jean-Antoine Girault 
FENS President
2020-2022

Jean-Antoine Girault signature

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