Dr Anne Cooke
Chief Executive, BNA (British Neuroscience Association)
It’s even more crucial in these testing times, with Brexit on the horizon and COVID-19 causing unprecedented, ongoing challenges to research, that the neuroscience community comes together to share advice and offer support to each another.
Earlier in the pandemic, the British Neuroscience Association held a consultation with neuroscientists to ascertain the impact of COVID-19 on neuroscience research, both at that time and looking ahead to the future.
The findings – from over 400 researchers across a range of research settings and career stages – showed around 88% had seen a negative impact on the progress of their research. Nearly a third of respondents stated they may need to leave neuroscience as a direct result of COVID-19 disruptions.
Findings like these raise serious concerns over the future of research into the nervous system and its disorders. Neuroscience research advances our understanding of conditions that contribute to disease worldwide such as dementia and epilepsy.
Moreover there’s growing evidence COVID-19 itself has serious direct and indirect effects on the nervous system, including encephalopathy, stroke, and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Championing global collaboration and partnerships
Alongside increased calls for support and funding to sustain neuroscience research, it’s critical that the neuroscience community takes every chance to unite and connect to keep advancing the field and share and celebrate the latest research and opportunities.
We must keep championing partnerships and collaborations, not just in the UK, but globally – engaging with international research that can spark innovation and change the course of the world.
Scientists thrive on the sharing of ideas and embracing differences. Right now, it’s more important than ever that we continue to meet, even thought we can only do so online. It’s essential we inspire debates, discuss research, and actively encourage the next generation into neuroscience, inspiring them with what’s possible and remaining focussed as a community on continuing to achieve a deeper understanding of the brain and nervous system.