Neuronline Spotlight: Advice to Help You to Collaborate Globally
The open exchange of ideas is key to scientific progress, and while knowledge sharing is common among peers, labs, and institutions, the scientific community is increasingly recognizing its value and providing incentives to form global connections.
Neuronline, SfN’s learning and discussion website, regularly features neuroscientists who have built and maintained collaborations with other researchers around the world. Explore these resources for their reflections and advice:
How to Build the Foundation for Strong International Collaborations
Clare Howarth, Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, and Brian MacVicar, codirector of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia, reflect on a collaboration that has spanned years.
Their collaboration began when Howarth was a postdoc in MacVicar's lab — and in March 2017 their collaboration resulted in a study published in JNeurosci featuring authors from five countries. In this video, they detail how the project came to be and what they did to keep it running smoothly, including advice for building productive working relationships across time zones.
MacVicar even reflects that the global nature of their work helped them to reach their findings sooner. "There is someone working on the paper 24 hours a day," he says. "It's quite exhilarating. You send information off and while you go to sleep, someone's working on it and coming back with variations.”
How Building Community Can Help Your Science and Career
Mychael Lourenco, a research associate at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and member of SfN’s Trainee Advisory Committee, shares how an informal conversation kicked off an unexpected collaboration with a scientist from Kentucky.
As Lourenco spoke with a fellow conference attendee, the two realized they shared an interest in Alzheimer's disease, but approached it from different perspectives. They exchanged emails and decided to partner.
Based on his experience, Lourenco advises colleagues to prioritize networking. "You never know what kind of tools and expertise people may have. You never know what opportunities may arise from meeting people," he says.
Global Approaches for Collaboration and Networking
To find collaborators, you have to be visible, shares Martha Dávila-García, associate professor at Howard University. Her presentation on using social media to build interactive networks is one of three talks presented in this Neuroscience 2017 recording of an event with Women in World Neuroscience (WWN), a mentoring and networking organization.
Orly Weinreb, vice president of research and development at NeurOptic, Ltd., shares how networking with people in industry is one way to find good collaborators and funding for your research. Pamela Butler, associate professor at New York University, rounds out this article by discussing how and why to disseminate your data through effective scientific writing. “You’ve done all this work,” she says. “It’s really important to get it out there, and to share it with people, both for your career and most especially for the information that it gives people to understand science.”
Neuronline, an SfN website, helps neuroscientists advance in their training and career and connect with the global scientific community year-round.