Brain Awareness Week and Beyond : Encouraging the Next Generation

Colleen D Mcnerney, Eun-joo Chang, Nicholas C Spitzer


The field of neuroscience is generating increased public appetite for information about exciting brain research and discoveries. As stewards of the discipline, together with FUN and others, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) embraces public outreach and education as essential to its mission of promoting understanding of the brain and nervous system.The society looks to its members, particularly the younger generation of neuroscientists, to inspire, inform and engage citizens of all ages, and most importantly our youth, in this important endeavor. Here we review SfN programs and resources that support public outreach efforts to inform, educate and tell the story of neuroscience. We describe the important role the Brain Awareness campaign has played in achieving this goal and highlight opportunities for FUN members and students to contribute to this growing effort. We discuss specific programs that provide additional opportunities for neuroscientists to get involved with K-12 teachers and students in ways that inspire youth to pursue further studies and possible careers in science. We draw attention to SfN resources that support outreach to broader audiences. Through ongoing partnerships such as that between SfN and FUN, the neuroscience community is well positioned to pursue novel approaches and resources, including harnessing the power of the Internet. These efforts will increase science literacy among our citizens and garner more robust support for scientific research.

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