The Global Engagement Initiative (GEI), a funding program launched by a group of like-minded partners seeking to increase awareness of brain research and build support for informed policymaking, training, and education, is coming to an end in 2023. As a global neuroscience federation dedicated to promoting neuroscience around the world, IBRO was chosen to lead this effort in collaboration with a number of founding partners: the Australasian Neuroscience Society, the Dana Foundation, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, the International Society for Neurochemistry, the Japan Neuroscience Society and the Society for Neuroscience.
GEI funding has been instrumental in the implementation of numerous successful activities and events around the world, enabling neuroscience societies, groups, and organizations in the Asia/Pacific, African, Latin American, and Pan-European regions to conduct neuroscience outreach and engagement activities in their local areas.
The 3rd Annual Meeting of the Mongolian Neuroscience Society (MNS) in 2016. The GEI supported the development of the society and several subsequent grants have supported the MNS’ annual meetings.
Neurogirl Camp in Ghana was supported by a 2019 Global Engagement Seed grant and aimed at raising neuroscience awareness amongst the senior high school student community.
Throughout the initiative’s life cycle, the GEI has supported 109 successful outreach activities and events in 50 countries around the world, including public lectures and fairs; advocacy events with policymakers, educators, the media and the public; the development of educational videos or multimedia products to increase awareness; and other similar activities.
The UniStem Day 2019, organized with the support of GEI funding, aimed to disseminate stem-cell knowledge and brain research to high school students in Cagliari, Italy.
The 2022 Sinapses project in Brazil, organized with the help of GEI funding, was used to support an event linked to Brain Awareness Week 2022, as well as activities with vulnerable children and a short-term course for educators.
A concluding survey conducted to gather feedback from grant recipients revealed positive personal experiences and perspectives on the program:
“For us, [this grant] was exceptional support at a critical time.”
Global Engagement Seed Grant awardee, Colombia
“[The grant] had an impact among young students. […] I still receive emails from students regarding their interest in pursuing research in neuroscience.”
Global Engagement Seed Grant awardee, Bangladesh
The 11th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience that took place in September 2023 in Granada, Spain, offered an ideal background for a celebration of the GEI initiative’s impact. Not only did the GEI partners meet to reflect on their collaborative efforts to support the global neuroscience community, but activities such as a poster exhibition of international engagement projects and a Special Event on Advancing Global Engagement: Highlighting the Importance of Neuroscience around the World also provided the public with an opportunity to hear from GEI awardees about the methods they adopted to elevate global neuroscience and create long-standing links within and beyond their scientific communities.
Gwladys Temkou Ngoupaye, University of Dschang, Cameroon, María Castelló, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable, Uruguay, Battuvshin Lkhagvasuren, Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, Mongolia and Tracy L. Bale, IBRO President, during a panel discussion at the IBRO 2023 World Congress in Granada, Spain.
Gwladys Temkou Ngoupaye presenting her advocacy projects, supported by the Global Engagement Initiative, during the IBRO 2023 World Congress in Granada, Spain.
Over a 10-year period, the GEI has successfully facilitated neuroscience advocacy and outreach work around the world, supporting the vision and efforts of numerous awardees. IBRO expresses its gratitude to its partners, whose invaluable contributions have been instrumental in the initiative’s success.