Despite a concerted effort from many stakeholders to increase the accessibility of scientific careers for women and underrepresented groups around the world, many continue to encounter difficulties in pursuing a career in neuroscience. Faced with challenging personal and societal obligations and systemic barriers, many may feel that a career in science is simply out of reach.

Through its innovative funding and support framework, IBRO consciously strives to promote access to international career development opportunities in an equitable and inclusive manner. Indeed, IBRO holds itself to the highest standards when implementing its funding programs, with strict criteria and review processes in place to ensure that any IBRO-supported activity or event is executed transparently and without bias. In 2022, this led to a 55:45 female to male gender ratio across IBRO grants and training opportunities around the world.

In addition to promoting inclusive access to its funding programs, IBRO has introduced flagship programs, such as the Diversity and Parenthood Grants that specifically aim to address societal needs by furthering opportunities for underrepresented groups within the field of neuroscience, including women. This support can be beneficial in many different ways. IBRO aims to support researchers at all stages of their personal and professional development, from enabling scientists to remain active at times when personal demands may call into question the feasibility of a long-term scientific career, to offering scientists the possibility to strengthen their competitiveness.

Thanks to a recent IBRO Diversity Grant, Dr. Lihle Qulu, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, was able to provide female scientists in South Africa with training for two essential academic skills with a long-term impact: grant applications and scientific writing.

IBRO’s strategic global partnerships with advocacy organizations such as World Women in Neuroscience and the ALBA Network constitute a key element of its efforts to promote diversity and equity in the brain sciences. IBRO and its partners aim to shine a light on the challenges facing women and underrepresented groups in neuroscience careers and training, through networking opportunities and mentoring frameworks offering neuroscientists around the world the opportunity to exchange and learn in a supportive and stimulating environment. IBRO strives to provide access to thought-provoking resources and discussions, and practical tools and resources to support scientists as they progress throughout their career. Moreover, IBRO works with all its partners around the world to ensure its collaborations are implemented in an inclusive manner.

IBRO’s belief in the value of diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible science underpins all its efforts to serve the global neuroscience community, evidenced by its internal processes, dedicated funding programs, and collaboration with like-minded organizations. As IBRO works to identify new ways to meet evolving needs in an ever-evolving global landscape, it welcomes suggestions and feedback from the wider community to increase its global impact in these areas.

To find out more about the challenges women and underrepresented groups face in neuroscience, and the actions undertaken by IBRO and its partners to promote inclusive, international neuroscience, you may be interested in the following resources:

Discover IBRO’s partners

The ALBA Network was established in 2019 with the help of IBRO, FENS and SfN, with the goal of promoting equity and diversity in the brain sciences. The goals of the network are to:

  • Promote best practices to counteract bias
  • Recognise outstanding contributions to science and diversity
  • Provide networking and mentoring opportunities to promote careers for members of underrepresented groups

World Women in Neuroscience (WWN) is an independent consulting, mentoring and networking organization established in 2016 that aims to identify, promote, and implement mentoring, networking, and science advocacy opportunities for neuroscientists across the world with special attention to scientists from under-resourced countries.