The newsletter of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.
New electronic version – you can navigate through our headlines by clicking on titles in the table of content, and jump back to the top using the arrow on the bottom right of this window.
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience’s mission is to advocate for neuroscience research and to represent Canadian neuroscientist’s interest at the federal and international levels. As new President of the Association, I invite you to renew your membership today to help us reach our goals, for the benefit of our community.
You can visit our membership page here. Please share this message, and invite your colleagues to join us also. Your membership allows us to have a strong voice when we advocate on your behalf to the government and decision-makers.
Budget consultations have already started, and we encourage you to voice your opinion and advocate with us for increased research funding through the federal funding agencies, and for increased support for trainees. Please scroll below to see how you can get involved, and learn about CAN’s advocacy efforts.
Save the dates for #CAN2019
Planning is well underway for our next meeting, which will take place May 22-25 2019 in Toronto. Scientific Committee Chair and Co-Chair Paul Frankland and Ruth Slack have already put together a list of plenary speakers and sessions that will present the latest in neuroscience research in a broad range of topics. You can read more below, and visit our meeting website often for the most current information.
The CAN meeting is also an opportunity to build relationships, and reinforce our community, so I encourage you to participate and get involved.
Plans for the upcoming year
CAN has many ongoing projects for the coming year. We will continue to advocate for increased funding for fundamental research, and remain involved in initiatives of interest to our community. One such initiative is the implementation of an Athena-SWAN type initiative in Canada, which aims to increase equity and diversity in the scientific world. We invite you to read more about this and participate in the consultations NSERC has launched. More here.
I also want to bring to your attention the launch of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) Consultation website. This site solicits input from the academic community on how they should move forward. You can also read a recent article in University Affairs about the CRCC.
We are also very proud to announce the launch of the CAN Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) subcommittee, formed and led by CAN board member Stephanie Borgland. We look forward to working with this committee to promote and increase EDI in neuroscience.
If you are attending SfN, join us for the CAN Social at SfN18 in San Diego, on November 6th. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with all your Canadian colleagues, and our friends from abroad. More information here.
Finally, some of our colleagues and members have been denied visas to attend meetings in the USA, including the SfN meeting, because of their country of origin/birth. This situation is unacceptable, and incompatible with the spirit of free circulation of ideas and scientists that are at the heart of the global scientific enterprise. If you, or some of your colleagues, have been denied a visa, we would like to hear from you. More here.
Jaideep Bains, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Get ready for budget 2019!
Building on the investments made in budget 2018, Canada now has an opportunity to
- Increase its support of the federal funding agencies, including CIHR, to better support its health researchers.
- Increase its investments in the next generation of scientists.
Canada’s economic growth will depend on the diversification of its economy to compete in a changing world. Supporting health research and the next generation of scientists are some of the highest-yield investments in Canada’s future that any government could make.
Read our submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finances:
How can you get engaged and get your voice heard in advance of budget 2019?
There are multiple opportunities to give your opinion in advance of the federal budget.
The budget is tabled in February or March every year, but consultations start long before.
The FINA consultations occur in the summer and fall. While the deadline to submit a written brief has passed, it is still possible to participate in the in-person consultations, as the FINA committee tours Canada in late summer and early fall.
Follow the FINA website for updates:
You can register for their newsletter
The Finance Minister also holds pre-budget consultations in the Fall. These were announced in November last year. Consultations can take place in person, online, and on social media – we invite you to participate to make sure increasing research funding stays on the government’s mind.
We invite you to meet your Member of Parliament
Have you received funding from the federal government to support your research? Have you made a discovery that can lead to a better understanding of the brain and nervous system? Do you think government support of science is important?
We encourage you to meet with your member of Parliament, and to build a relationship with him or her. It is through an open-ended discussion with elected officials that we can work with them to build a better country for all Canadians. You can write directly to your Member of Parliament, to let them know what you do, and how investing in science is good for the health, prosperity and economy of all Canadians. Your MP is your representative in Ottawa, so bringing science to his or her office is a great way to keep this important topic at the forefront of the government’s mind.
Framing your message
The government has stated the priority for budget 2019:
Economic Growth: Ensuring Canada’s Competitiveness
The government is most likely to take heed of messages that help it achieve this goal, so please keep this in mind.
In line with this, the CAN advocacy committee argues that Canada will benefit from building Canada’s evidence-based health research economy.
This message is very much in line with recent statements by the Minister of Health, the honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor – view tweet.
The grants awarded by @CIHR_IRSC reflect Canada’s true character – 82 went to researchers beginning their careers and 11 to Indigenous health research.
Yet these won’t just keep Canadians healthy, they’ll grow our economy too! Every $100 million spent creates 1,800 new jobs! pic.twitter.com/s6cjRSwx1J
— Ginette Petitpas Taylor (@GPTaylorMRD) 14 août 2018
Science Policy Session at #CAN2018 – Take home messages
Take home messages for our panel discussion with four MPs at #CAN2018
We were very happy to welcome four Members of Parliament at the Canadian Neuroscience Meeting in Vancouver, on May 14th. A representative from each of the four main political parties of Canada participated and very generously shared with our audience of neuroscientists some insight in the decision-making process in Parliament.
Liberal MP Joyce Murray, Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux, NDP MP Fin Donnelly and Green Party MP Elizabeth May participated in a panel discussion with CAN leadership and with an audience of CAN attendees.
There was an open and honest discussion between scientists and elected officials, for the benefit of all.
Some of the take-home messages from this discussion were:
- Members of Parliament need to hear from their constituents about the issues that matter to them, so reach out to them.
- You can help your MP make the case for increased funding for research by showing how it helps to reach objectives stated in their program. It pays to study each party’s program.
- It is worth talking to members of all parties. MPs in the ruling party are closest to power, however, opposition party members have different insights, and can help to understand the best way to influence the government. And of course, the opposition party of today can be the ruling party of tomorrow.
- Even parties that have historically been less science-friendly can change their views and direction, especially if solid arguments are made and framed in a way that resonates with their objectives.
- MPs are not intimidating! They were elected to represent Canadians, so they welcome opportunities to discuss issues with voters. We encourage you to invite your MP to events you organise. You may be surprised to see they are happy to attend!
SfN feature on CAN advocacy in Neuroscience Quarterly
Read an article in SfN’s Neuroscience Quarterly on CAN’s advocacy efforts:
The Society for Neuroscience’s support (both financial and in-kind) of CAN’s advocacy efforts has been of crucial importance to allow CAN to develop its advocacy program.
Visit the CAN website often to stay informed of advocacy opportunities, and get in touch with us if you have ideas and opportunities to share with us!
Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in Neuroscience
CAN is proud to announce the composition of the newly established EDI subcommittee:
- Stephanie Borgland | U of Calgary (Co-chair of the committee)
- Liisa Galea | UBC (Co-chair of the committee)
- Lisa Saksida | Western U
- Tamara Franklin | Dalhousie U
- Jibran Khokhar | U of Guelph
- Wendie Marks | U Saskastchewan
Scientists denied visas to participate in meetings in the USA
Scientists are being denied visas to attend meetings in the USA based on their country of origin. The travel ban proposed by President Trump affects travelers from countries with majority-Muslim populations, including Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen and Somalia, was upheld by the US supreme court in June 2018.
CAN strongly condemns this ban and reaffirms our position that science can and must remain a builder of bridges between the peoples of all nations, regardless of differences in political views, religious beliefs or country of origin. Scientists around the world share a desire to advance knowledge in ways that benefit all humans. Read our statement from 2017, when the travel bans were first proposed by the Trump administration here: Science as uniting global force.
CAN is considering several lines of action to help scientists affected by the ban, but a first step would be to see how many are affected by the ban. If you or a colleague of yours has been denied a visa to the USA and is from one of the countries targeted by the travel ban, please get in touch with us.
Consultations on a made-in-Canada version of Athena-SWAN
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced recently that she will consult students, researchers, academics and others to discuss their views on how to adapt the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) initiative for a “made-in-Canada” approach. (Press release)
Athena SWAN is a charter that was established in the UK in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Other countries have also implemented Athena SWAN-inspired initiatives.
As committed to in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada will be adopting an Athena SWAN initiative in Canada, adapted to the Canadian context and reflecting the comments brought forth by post-secondary institutions in Canada. Canadians are encouraged to share their views and ideas about the Athena SWAN initiative with NSERC and Minister Duncan.
Written comments should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information here:
EDI-neuro session at #CAN2018
Judy Illes led the interactive Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in Neuroscience (EDI-Neuro) lunch workshop on May 14th, 2018 at our annual meeting in Vancouver, BC.
In advance of this meeting, CAN prepared a series of figures with data about representation of women and minorities in academic and university settings.
In response to the feedback received at the EDI-neuro session, the CAN board has proposed the creation of a CAN Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity committee, mentionned above.
13th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting – May 22-25, 2019 Toronto
Plenary speakers announced!
The CAN2019 Scientific program committee, led by Paul Frankland and Ruth Slack, is proud to announce the keynote, presidential and plenary speakers.
Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
Deputy Director, Stanford Neurosciences Institute
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Julius Axelrod Prize, Society for Neuroscience (2016)
Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University
Professor, McGill University
Canada Research Chair in Genetics of Pain (Tier I)
E. P. Taylor Chair in Pain Studies
Director of the Pain Genetics Lab
Guo Li Ming
Adjunct Professor, The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
CAN2019 Key dates
|Hotel reservations at CAN rate||now||April 22, 2019|
|Call for parallel symposia||October 22, 2018||November 26, 2018|
|Call for satellite meetings||October 22, 2018||November 26, 2018|
|Call for poster presentations||November 22, 2018||January 31, 2019|
|Call for Young Investigator Award nominations||November 22, 2018||January 31, 2019|
|Meeting registration opens||January 7, 2019|
Thank you to all participants in the 2018 CAN meeting in Vancouver!
Congratulations to Scientific Program Chair Shernaz Bamji, Co-Chair Paul Frankland, and the 2018 program committee on their success and many thanks to Local Chair Timothy O’Connor for his hard work in coordinating all local events.
Many thanks to Public lecture speakers Luke Clark and Catharine Winstanley for highly engaging lectures on the topic of addiction.
(Click on image captions to view full size images)
Congratulations to all award winners!
2018 CAN Young Investigator Award winner: Karun Singh
CAN Advocacy Award winners: UBC students who launched the “Neuroscience through the ages” initiative – View their website here: historyofneuroscience.com
Top three CIHR BrainStar awards of 2017:
- Lauran Cole | Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary
- Andrew Kaplan | Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University (winner of the Marlene Reimer BrainStar of the year award)
- Nicole E. Burma | Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
View our CAN2018 image gallery on Flickr
CAN Social @ SfN2018 in San Diego
Time: 6PM-9PM (private event until 9PM, venue opens to the public after)
The Tipsy Crow features three floors, each with a different theme, and the Drink Exchange – it’s like the stock market so if a certain drink isn’t selling it’s cheaper, and if a certain drink is really popular it’s more expensive. Prices change throughout the evening!
Keep in touch
Meeting & Membership secretariat:
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Let us know what you think of the new format of the newsletter!