Digital Learning Expands to Include Year-Round Virtual Conferences
As a part of its commitment to the scientific training and professional development of its membership, SfN is developing a slate of virtual conferences that provide a new venue for members at all career stages and in all parts of the world to connect with experts across the field and with each other.
By expanding SfN’s venues for learning, scientific training, and professional development, the virtual conferences will increase opportunities for members to stay apprised of ideas and issues emerging from the field and to grow their professional skillsets year-round, taking an adaptive approach to facilitating discovery.
“Starting early in your career, but at any stage, you need to find scientific training resources that support your personal and professional growth,” said Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, chair of SfN’s Neuroscience Training Committee. “As a leader in the neuroscience community, SfN has a role to play in providing those resources to inspire members to learn, connect with peers, and take advantage of opportunities that will allow them to grow as scientists.”
Flexible Scientific Training
The first in this year’s lineup of virtual conferences, “Enhancing Rigor and Transparency in Neuroscience,” took place April 10, attracting 1,300 registrants. It is available on demand on Neuronline for members to share with their students, PIs, labs, colleagues, and departments.
As a part of the work it has been doing over the past three years to focus attention on the importance of scientific rigor, SfN partnered with NIH and neuroscientists around the world to create training resources to enhance rigor in experimental design, data analysis, and reporting as a part of NIH’s initiative Training Modules to Enhance Data Reproducibility (TMEDR). Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the April virtual conference aimed to share insight and practical approaches for enhancing the rigor and transparency of neuroscience research.
Following this model, the next virtual conference will take place in June, with a focus on single cell genomics. This conference will cover recent technical and conceptual advances in single cell analyses in the brain that are providing scientists with new approaches to better understand brain development, evolution, and disorders.
Lifelong Learning and Professional Development
A third virtual conference, to take place in early 2019, will depart from scientific content to address an important professional development topic: implicit bias. This virtual conference will define implicit bias, share best practices for mitigating bias against women and other underrepresented groups in science, and highlight institutions that have successfully implemented best practices. It will draw on resources developed by SfN under a past NSF grant for Increasing Women in Neuroscience (IWiN). Oversight of this virtual conference will be provided by SfN’s Professional Development Committee, which will also guide future topic selection for professional development and diversity-focused virtual conferences.
SfN’s Neuroscience Training Committee will guide the topic selection of future conferences that concentrate on scientific training, with scientific training including programs, activities, and initiatives that advance higher education and training in neuroscience. Additional virtual conferences will be announced as they are selected and designed. Topics under development include machine learning, iPS cells and their derivative uses, and neuroethology.
Members can register for virtual conferences on Neuronline.
Looking to the Future
As the Society develops a program of virtual conferences centered on topic areas that emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of advancing the field and the variety of professional skills that are crucial throughout one’s career, SfN volunteer leaders will consider how to best incorporate advances in neuroscience research, experimental rigor and reproducibility, new tools and techniques, and focus areas for professional development, and provide recommendations for customizable resources that support SfN’s diverse membership.
Toward the dual goals of supporting training and offering stand-alone opportunities for professional growth at any career stage, SfN will continue to evaluate and expand digital learning opportunities to complement the collection of resources for learning and discussion currently available to all members on Neuronline.
Last revised July 19, 2018