CAN Connection – Fall 2023

Message from CAN President Adriana Di Polo

Dear CAN members and friends,

It is with great enthusiasm that I begin this new academic year as President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience. It is an honour to represent our vibrant community, and to contribute to promoting the great research done in Canada.

We are stronger together, and an important aspect of my mandate will aim to increase equity and inclusion in CAN. Increased funding for basic research is key to ensure that no one is left behind, and that all deserving scientists receive funding to allow them to pursue their research endeavours. This is particularly true for trainees, who are often paid through grants obtained by their PIs from the federal government, or directly by federal scholarships. The state of funding for research is currently insufficient in Canada to support a thriving research community, and this is why one of CAN’s main objectives is to advocate for increased funding for research in Canada.

We are strongly advocating for a double/double for science:

  • Double the budgets of the three main federal funding agencies.
  • Double federal support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

In addition, Canada would benefit greatly from an increase in funding for targeted brain and mental health research, so this is our third message to the government. The CAN advocacy team is organizing the second day on Parliament Hill on November 7th and I look forward to joining the team to bring our message and open a channel of communication with politicians and government representatives.

While the objectives listed above aim to improve the situation of all neuroscientists in Canada, we also want to provide specific support for underrepresented and sometimes disadvantaged groups, to ensure we benefit from the inclusion of all talent.

We have developed strong partnerships with the BrightFocus Foundation and the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) to support the participation of members of underrepresented groups in the CAN meeting through travel awards. I am happy to announce that these partnerships will continue for CAN 2024. We are also looking at new ways to help families and people with disabilities attend our meeting by providing accessible venues and increasing help for dependent care.

The primary goal of the CAN meeting is to showcase the amazing research carried out by neuroscientists in Canada. We are looking to diversify the content of our program to better represent our community. In this regard, clinical and social neuroscience, two areas that are historically strong in Canada, will be more present in our scientific program.

Finally, to increase representation in CAN, we are happy to announce that we will be including student representatives in CAN committees. The call for applications in CAN committees is currently open, so I invite you to apply today. Thank you in advance for your very important contributions.

Many of these initiatives have come from comments and suggestions from members like you. We hope you will continue to engage and participate in CAN, which is there for you. We are stronger together!

Adriana Di Polo

President, Canadian Association for Neuroscience.

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