Professor Tara Spires-Jones appointed the President-elect of the British Neuroscience Association
Congratulations to Professor Tara Spires-Jones
Professor Tara Spires-Jones (Personal Chair of Neurodegeneration; Deputy Director - Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences and UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh) has been appointed the new President-elect of the British Neuroscience Association (BNA). With over 2,000 members, the BNA is the UK's largest organisation representing and promoting neuroscience and neuroscientists.
Nominated by members of the BNA, the position of President is a prestigious role and Tara will initially support the incoming President, Professor Rik Henson (Cambridge University), assuming the role of President at the BNA Festival of Neuroscience in April 2023. Tara will become the 4th female President since the establishment of the role in 1968 (when it was the Brain Research Association).
Tara Spires-Jones' manifesto:
I am honoured to be chosen as President-Elect of BNA and very much look forward to working with everyone in the Association to represent and promote neuroscience and neuroscientists. As well as supporting the excellent policies and programmes already in place at BNA, there are a few avenues I would like to pursue in my time as President.
Building capacity including a more diverse, inclusive neuroscience workforce is something I would like to continue to promote. We have a huge challenge in our field to understand how the nervous system works and how to fix it when things go wrong to help the more than 1 billion people worldwide living with brain disorders. To address this challenge, we need the best minds from all walks of life to join us. I’m thrilled to see the new BNA Scholars programme to support students from underrepresented ethnic groups to thrive in neuroscience, to see that BNA was an early signatory of the Alba declaration on equity and inclusion, and to see the BNA-carer grants to support childcare expenses for people attending the festival. I hope to bring some of the ideas I’ve learned working with our local University of Edinburgh Staff Pride Network and Edinburgh Race Equality Network to build on this and continue to make neuroscience and BNA a welcoming place for people of all races and genders, and for people who identify as part of LGBT+ communities.
I would also like to continue the excellent work BNA is doing to promote credibility in neuroscience. The BNA credibility prizes to promote transparent, rigorous science, excellent training courses, and the pre-registration posters at the Festival are already making a difference on this front. During his time as President, Prof Henson plans to build on this and I will be sure to keep up the momentum on this important front for our community.
Finally, I would like to help BNA and our members promote engagement with neuroscientists in academia and industry worldwide, and with the wider public. As we emerge from the global pandemic and the after-effects of Brexit, it will be very important for BNA to emphasize to policy makers and funders that neuroscience research is of vital importance to our society and that international collaborations are key to our success.
As an alumnus and founding member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence, I will bring experience of building an international neuroscience network with a track record of mentoring neuroscientists, supporting diversity in neuroscience, and influencing science policy. By engaging with the public, we can encourage people to maintain their brain health, participate in neuroscience research, and put pressure on their representatives to keep us funded. Continuing BNA's efforts to promote engagement between academic and industry colleagues will help translate the outstanding fundamental neuroscience discoveries being made Britain into treatments to help people living with brain disorders.
Congratulations Tara - from all at CDBS!