Through its global mission, IBRO collaborates with like-minded organizations to raise public awareness about the importance of brain research. In this article, we feature the ALBA Network that, in partnering with IBRO, supports our mission to promote inclusive, equitable, and diverse neuroscience worldwide.
What is the ALBA Network?
The ALBA Network represents brain researchers from around the world committed to promoting equity and diversity in the brain sciences. Through a range of globally focused initiatives, the ALBA Network actively works to counteract bias, cultivate inclusive research cultures, promote the visibility of scientists in under-resourced and underrepresented countries, and champion fair representation of women and other disadvantaged groups in science and academia.
Central to ALBA Network’s mission is a specific focus on understanding the individual experiences of underrepresented groups of neuroscientists and highlighting the complex phenomenon of intersectionality within academia and neuroscience research.
How does the ALBA Network promote equity and diversity in brain sciences?
The ALBA Network fundamentally implements its global mission through four pillars of action: Awareness & Advocacy, Data & Resources, Visibility & Recognition, and Networking & Mentoring.
In partnering with IBRO, ALBA activities in 2023 have broadly focused on increasing the visibility of underrepresented groups of researchers, highlighting the related diversity, equity, and inclusion issues as well as supporting career development and access to opportunities. These initiatives included the development of the ALBA-IBRO Global Diversity Webinars, the ALBA-IBRO Diversity & Inclusion Events and several Podcast episodes.
In 2023, among the aforementioned impactful initiatives, the ALBA Network reached a significant milestone by formulating a multifaceted and more inclusive definition of underrepresentation that considers region-specific circumstances and systemic barriers contributing to disadvantage. This definition aims to foster a universal understanding of privilege across cultural and geographic contexts, ensuring that those benefiting from targeted ALBA initiatives are genuinely the individuals who need them the most.
ALBA-IBRO Global Diversity Webinars
The ALBA-IBRO Global Diversity Webinars were developed based on a previous ALBA Network webinar series with input from a number of scientists and experts from different IBRO world regions including from Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and beyond. The resulting webinars were designed to raise global awareness regarding region-specific barriers that hinder career advancement for different demographics of scientists across the IBRO regions.
The objective of this webinar series was to present opportunities, provide tools, and share knowledge to tackle these challenges, with the ultimate goal of fostering impactful change within the broader academic culture.
The recordings of these IBRO-ALBA webinar discussions can be found here.
ALBA-IBRO Diversity & Inclusion Events and Podcast episodes
Based on community-identified needs, the ALBA Network organized several Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) events in 2023 at major neuroscience conferences.
The Mentoring Circles workshop in Johannesburg
A leadership-focused Mentoring Circles workshop took place at the 2023 International Conference of SONA in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was followed by the ALBA-IBRO panel discussion exploring strategies for building neuroscience capacity and advancing global research equity during the IBRO 2023 World Congress in Granada, Spain. Finally, a networking social was organized at the meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C., USA, featuring a keynote on “Decolonizing Neuroscience Research”.
The discussions from the conference events in 2023 were further extended by the ALBA network through dedicated podcast episodes. Through this initiative, IBRO and the ALBA Network aim to engage a global audience in these vital discussions and thus increase institutional knowledge of the issues and thereby increase the potential for lasting impact and cultural change.
Panel discussion at the IBRO 2023 World Congress
The level of inclusion of underrepresented groups in academia varies significantly across different world regions. The ALBA-IBRO podcast episodes, recorded in 2023, focus on presenting tangible examples to address such disparities. Through these concrete examples and discussions, the goal is to inspire the global scientific community to challenge themselves and strive for improvement in fostering inclusion across academia.
At ALBA, we strongly believe in the power of collaborative efforts to transcend all boundaries. Over the past four years, the partnership between ALBA Network and one of our Founding Partners, IBRO, has been an amazing journey towards our shared EDI goals, particularly focused on providing visibility and fostering professional development opportunities for neuroscientists from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. We are thrilled about the potential transformative change that our joint efforts can bring to the careers of gifted researchers worldwide in the years ahead.
– Zeljka Krsnik (Croatian Institute for Brain Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb), ALBA Chair 2023-24
What is coming up next for diversity and inclusion activities by the ALBA Network?
Supported by IBRO under a multi-annual agreement, the ALBA Network continues its important work to promote equity and diversity in brain sciences, with initiatives focused on indigenous perspectives, the gender gap, accessibility, intersectionality, impostor phenomenon, allyship, and other diversity topics with perspectives from across different world regions.
To know more about ALBA Network’s initiatives on diversity and inclusion in neuroscience and get involved visit ALBA Network’s website.
Discover further diversity & inclusion initiatives and regional opportunities supported by IBRO
- IBRO Diversity Grants for individual IBRO member societies or event organizers from the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin-American, and Pan-European regions with grants for activities or events that promote regional and gender diversity in neuroscience
- Regional funding and training opportunities: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Pan Europe, US/Canada
- WWN inclusive networking and mentoring opportunities for female neuroscientists around the world, with a focus on scientists from underrepresented groups
- IBRO MBL and CSHL Fellowships that aim to increase diversity in neuroscience in the US and Canada region
- INS travel grants that help students and young faculty from diverse backgrounds from North America and under-resourced countries to participate in discussions of the INS
- USCRC SEE Diversity Fellowships aim to increase the successful transition to and retention of diverse, early-career neuroscientists into academic positions