Trinity neuroscientist, Professor Tomás Ryan, has been elected as the new Chair of the European FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence and will serve a two-year term.
He is an Associate Professor in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology and the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN). He is also Principal Investigator of a European Research Council-funded team that was established at Trinity in 2017 and investigates the biology of memory engram storage in the brain.
The FENS-Kavli Network is composed of 30 early and mid-career neuroscientists representing 16 European countries. The Network was originally established in 2014 through a collaboration between the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Kavli Foundation. Up to 15 FENS-Kavli Scholars are selected bi-annually by an international committee, and all Scholars serve an active term of four years.
The FENS-Kavli Network serves dual functions of furthering our understanding of brain function through worldwide collaborations; and of engaging with society and policy makers on issues pertaining to neuroscience and mental health.
Scholars participate in several meetings per year that enable new collaborations on frontier brain research questions as well as challenges and opportunities for European neuroscience. They collaboratively produce widely read opinion articles and white-paper recommendations to European stakeholders on funding schemes and other key issues for neuroscience development. Scholars also engage in outreach activities with the aim of informing the general public about brain research.
The FENS-Kavli Network is responsible for awarding a pair of prizes annually at Europe’s largest neuroscience meeting, the FENS Forum. The FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence Mentoring Prize honours a scientist who has demonstrated leadership in fostering the careers of neuroscientists. The FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence PhD Thesis Prize is awarded to a young neuroscientist for her/his outstanding PhD thesis in any domain of neuroscience. These prizes are unique in celebrating both excellent mentors and mentees.
Professor Ryan said: "I am very excited to have the opportunity to coordinate such a diverse group of highly motivated and talented individuals from across Europe. Science knows no borders, and in this rapidly changing world, the FENS-Kavli Network functions to enable brain research and international cross-disciplinary collaborations by putting early career neuroscientists in the driving seat. But it also has an active role in representing the challenges and communicating the outcomes of neuroscience to wider society.
If we want to live in a rational, evidence-based society that supports scientific progress it is essential that scientists and academics actively engage with policy makers and the public. I look forward to working with colleagues throughout Europe to advocate for European brain research in the coming years."
This communication was first published 15 July 2019 by Trinity College Dublin.