Neuroscience & Society Grants
American Brain Coalition (ABC)
The American Brain Coalition brings together organizations that represent neurological and psychiatric patients, families, and professionals to advocate for increased research that will lead to better treatment, services, and support to improve patients’ quality of life. The Foundation supports coalition programs including the ABC’s hosting of Congressional Neuroscience Caucus informational briefings.
The Foundation supports the efforts of BioBus to bring neuroscience experiences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education to underserved populations in New York City during Brain Awareness Week.
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
FENS is an organization consisting of 22,000 European neuroscientists whose mission is to advance neuroscience education and research in Europe. Dana grants to FENS have supported its public programming and translating of materials on the brain for the general public. The Foundation also provides support for the FENS grants program to support Brain Awareness Week (BAW) participants in Europe..
International Brain Bee
The Brain Bee is a live question and answer competition for high school students that tests their knowledge of neuroscience. There are local competitions in more than 50 countries, engaging more than 50,000 students across six continents every year. The culmination of this program is the international competition held every year in conjunction with major scientific conferences. The Foundation provides funding to support the program.
International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)
The Foundation was a founding partner of the IBRO Global Engagement Initiative which aims to increase awareness and build support for brain research, informed policymaking, training and education through activities and events that are culturally sensitive and regionally relevant.
The Foundation also provides support for IBRO’s grants program to support Brain Awareness Week (BAW) participants outside Europe.
PBS television station WETA
The Foundation provided partial support for the Washington D.C.-based PBS television station WETA for a prime-time documentary series called Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, with award-winner Ken Burns as executive producer. The series is part of its Well Beings package of workshops, a mental health language guide, and user-made videos and chats. The series first aired in June 2022, and is often available for streaming at PBS.org.
Science Live Productions Inc.
Foundation support to Science Live Productions Inc. funds two Dana Foundation Neuroscience & Society Programs as part of its New York City-based Secret Science Club program, a live, monthly science lecture and performance series for adults. The events are recorded and can be watched later on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.
Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
SfN is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and the nervous system. The Foundation has collaborated with the SfN on several activities, including these current projects:
BrainFacts.org: The Foundation provides a three-year grant to SfN to maintain and expand the Brainfacts.org website, the trusted global information source about the wonders of the brain. The grant will support the creation of content that advances storytelling on the intersection of neuroscience and society, drawing connections between neuroscience’s achievements and their benefits, challenges, and implications for society.
Science Educator Award: The Foundation awards annual grants to SfN to fund the Science Educator Award. This award honors two outstanding neuroscientists who have made significant contributions to educating the public about neuroscience; one who conducts education activities full time and one who devotes time to research while conducting outreach, policy, and education activities. Honorees are actively involved in teaching and outreach initiatives, including programs for professional advancement, student mentorship, and the development of educational resources. Learn about previous SfN Science Educator awardees
University of Washington
The Foundation supported the production of BrainWorks, an award-winning television series for middle school aged children that portrays the neuroscience field as accessible and exciting. In each episode, viewers follow University of Washington neuroscientist Eric Chudler, Ph.D., and a team of curious kids as they visit laboratories and clinics to learn about different aspects of brain science, such as how exercise affects the brain, sleep, and brain-computer interfaces. Episodes are available on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.
The Foundation is supporting an update of the Franklin Institute’s Neuroscience & Society high school curriculum. The curriculum offers an in-depth focus on neuroscience through the lens of societal issues relevant to older teenagers. The update will convert the curriculum to a fully online format, provide more robust resources and background content for educators, and incorporate emerging topics in neuroscience and neurotechnology such as brain organoids, cognitive enhancement, and brain-machine interfaces.
University of California, Irvine, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (UC Irvine)
The Foundation is supporting UC Irvine’s LEARNMEM2023 Frontiers for Young Minds (FYM) Live Review at the International Conference on Learning and Memory. FYM is a nonprofit journal that publishes scientific articles written by scientists for young readers and engages children in the review process. Children work with graduate student mentors to evaluate the articles, provide feedback to the authors, and accept or reject the manuscripts for publication. The LEARNMEM2023 Live Review will bring this experience to the stage in front of a live audience. This unique event will enable children and scientists to work together to co-create articles that are accessible and exciting to younger audiences.
BrainMind is a nonprofit platform and private community of scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, and policymakers collaborating to accelerate neuroscience research and entrepreneurship to most benefit humanity, especially to collectively shepherd, support, and grow high-impact ideas that might not receive corporate or federal funding. The Foundation is providing support for organizing the first BrainMind Neuroethics Summit, including a series of pre-summit stakeholder meetings.
Dana Centers Project
The Dana Foundation is seeking US-based strategic partners to design and host a Center for Neuroscience & Society, one that is deeply committed to rigorous interdisciplinary training in neuroscience, that engages in research with an eye towards addressing practical issues raised by advancing neuroscience, and that grows a new generation of interdisciplinary experts who are empowered to embed neuroscience and its implications in a societal context.
Proposals for planning grants were due July 6, 2022, with a start date as early as October 1, 2022. Recipients of planning grants have the opportunity to submit a full proposal to be considered as a candidate to host a Dana Center. Proposals for a Dana Center will be due in mid-2023. We anticipate a Dana Center will be announced in late 2023. Dana Centers will be funded at approximately $1M annually for 5 years. More details
Flaschner Judicial Institute and Center for Law, Brain & Behavior (CLBB)
The Flaschner Judicial Institute, established in Boston in 1978, assists both new and experienced Massachusetts judges throughout their judicial careers through continuing education and professional development, seeking to advance the administration of justice by promoting the highest possible standards of judicial professionalism. The Center for Law, Brain and Behavior’s (CLBB) mission is to transform law and public policy with accurate and actionable neuroscience. CLBB promotes science-informed approaches in the courtroom, executive agencies, and the legislature.
With the Foundation’s support, Flaschner and CLBB will create a pilot judicial education program for state court judges in Massachusetts focusing on topics in neuroscience. This project will explore how a better understanding of neuroscience by judges who act as the gatekeepers for the admissibility of expert witness opinion testimony and scientific evidence in general will enable neuroscience to play a productive role in the decisions made by judges and juries.
A Foundation grant will support the creation of the Dana Foundation Career Network in Neuroscience & Society (“Career Network”) at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard. The Career Network’s goal is to expand and diversify the next generation of neuroscience and society students, practitioners, and scholars by acting as a virtual meeting place, and offering programming, conversations, and a place to post and search for opportunities in the field.
The Hastings Center
The Hastings Center and its scholars produce publications on ethical issues in health, science, and technology that inform policy, practice, and public understanding of bioethics. The Foundation is providing support for the Center to develop “Neuroscience and Society,” a featured article series of six scholarly articles or essays published in an open-access format each year. The series will enable researchers in neuroscience and scholars addressing its relevant ethical, legal, and social implications to be in sustained and dynamic conversation with one another, policymakers, and wider publics.
International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)
The INCF is a non-governmental organization that aims to develop, evaluate, and endorse standards and best practices that embrace the principles of Open, FAIR, and Citable neuroscience. INCF also provides training on how standards and best practices facilitate reproducibility and enables the publishing of the entirety of research output, including data and code. The Foundation supports its efforts to create and disseminate neuroethics educational resources through training, promotion, and advocacy to the global neuroscience and neuroinformatics communities.
International Neuroethics Society (INS)
The International Neuroethics Society (INS) is a nonprofit membership group that aims to encourage and inspire research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science. The Foundation is sponsoring part of the Society’s operating budget for 2023.
The Foundation supported Neurocon, an in-person conference hosted by Rice University’s Neuroengineering Initiative, in Houston in May 2022. The conference brought together academic neuroengineering researchers with private sector developers and investors.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
The Foundation has funded a series of seminars convened by the AAAS for state, federal and administrative law court judges on emerging Issues in neuroscience for the past ten years. These seminars are part of Dana’s expanding role in fostering discussion of neuroethical issues. Sponsored seminars and webinars have provided opportunities for judges to better understand the role neuroscience is playing, and may play, in making legal determinations in the courts, from the admissibility of neuroimaging evidence to decisions about criminal culpability, and from the limits of memory to the effects of substance addiction on the brain and behavior. In addition to targeting the judiciary, upcoming programming will also reach court staff and attorneys whose work or interests involve a need to understand neuroscience in the context of legal areas such as health law, science and technology law, tort law, etc. The current round of funding will sponsor increased efforts to evaluate and track the effective impact of the judicial seminars.
Arizona State University
A grant to Arizona State University supports the Barbara Gill Civic Science Fellowship, which sponsors an emerging thought leader to develop new models for bidirectional public engagement on emerging neuroethics issues. The outcomes of this project include the creation of new, evidence-based models for public engagement, testing and evaluation of these models at different sites in the United States, and dissemination of tools and findings to the science public engagement community. The National Informal STEM Education Network, whose hub is at Arizona State University, serves as the host organization for the Barbara Gill Civic Science Fellow.
The Foundation is funding a pilot collaboration with Boston University’s College of Communication to support 6 monthly Dana Discovery Dialogues series for multistakeholder engagement in Neuroscience & Society topics, and a Dana Discovery Roundtable, for journalists who cover Neuroscience & Society topics. The roundtable will help the Foundation gain a better understanding of journalists’ needs to support their efforts in improving science communication around Neuroscience and Society topics.
Flaschner Judicial Institute and Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior (CLLB)
The Foundation is supporting the creation of a pilot judicial education program that will develop and evaluate models for deep engagement with demonstrable potential to change real-world practice of judges. In the context of increasing number of cases involving neuroscientific evidence, advances in neuroscience increasingly present promise and peril to the legal system. This project will explore how a better understanding of neuroscience by judges, who as gatekeepers for the admission of scientific evidence into the legal system, will enable neuroscience to play a productive role in decisions made by judges and juries, maximizing its potential to do good, while minimizing its potential to do harm. Unlike most one-off judicial seminars, this project focuses on depth over breadth by concentrating intensively within a single jurisdiction on a focused set of issues over the course of multiple deep engagements over a year. These efforts aim to leverage neuroscience insights to improve the legal system.
Knowable Magazine (Annual Reviews)
The Foundation is funding “Inside the Brain: A Lifetime of Change,” a three-part series of virtual events in 2023 that examines how neurodevelopment shapes every stage of our lives, from the maternity ward to the end of life. These events will encourage and facilitate dialogue between non-specialist audiences and expert scientists, policymakers, and other with deep knowledge and experience of the event topics. Outcomes will include a plan for a virtual workshop series aiming to create deeper engagement opportunities for professionals to understand and apply relevant neuroscience findings in their work. The foundation will fund one pilot workshop, which will allow professionals to ask questions directly of scientists and to discuss neuroscience issues as a group, creating an informal, collaborative learning environment and building community.
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
The NAS is a private not-for-profit society of distinguished scholars charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. The Foundation supported its workshop series to guide development of materials to help judges in considering scientific evidence. Outcomes included the design of educational materials intended to improve judges’ use and consideration of science in managing cases involving scientific and technological evidence worldwide. The workshop contributed to large-scale global efforts based on initiatives in the US and United Kingdom that have helped to equip judges with the understanding to engage with experts who can inform the court on scientific issues in dispute, such as genetics, neuroforensics, and disease causation. The Foundation also supported the Academy’s 2021 consensus study on legalities, regulations, and ethics of brain research using neuro-chimeras and organoids to enable study of neurodevelopmental disorders, brain infections and diseases, and potential treatments. The consensus study is of value to ongoing deliberations by federal grant agencies, private sector funders, and regulators on guidelines for this line of research.
Partnership in Law and Neuroscience
The Foundation provided support to The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Mass General Hospital, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Law School and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience based at Vanderbilt Law School, for the curation and dissemination of research and legal cases at the intersection of law and neuroscience. Professors and practitioners can keep updated on neuroethical developments through three complementary streams: the Law and Neuroscience Bibliography, founded and hosted by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience; the Neurolaw News, an email newsletter providing critical updates in the bibliography, events, opportunities, and also curated by the Research Network; and a new Case Updates series, disseminated by the MGH Center for Law, Brain & Behavior.
The Foundation partnered with Research!America to study public understanding and perceptions of brain health research and neurotechnology. Outcomes from the funded 2022 survey will enable the Dana Foundation to facilitate multidirectional engagement with academic, government, and public stakeholders with sensitivity to Americans’ interests, understanding, and concerns about neuroscience. See an executive overview of the study, and a slide deck of survey results (PDF).
The Foundation provided funding for the Royal Society’s Neuroscience and the Law program. These seminars and courses for judges, lawyers, and scientists in the UK were developed to explore the benefits and risks posed by applying neuroscience to the judicial process.
The Foundation is supporting a Neuroscience and Society Design Sprint, a collaborative effort that will bring together neuroscience researchers, policymakers, and community members (such as teachers, local business owners, and community leaders) to implement community-driven solutions to challenges at the intersection of neuroscience and society, such as how to embrace neurodiversity in education or the workplace. A co-creative approach will be taken throughout the process, from the identification of community challenges during collaboratively-planned listening sessions, to a participatory/crowdfunded budgeting approach for allocating funds to pilot the strongest proposed solutions that were prototyped during the Design Sprint. By utilizing an approach that honors the unique skills and strengths of each partner in the process, outcomes from these efforts will translate neuroscience research into local societal impact that can happen with communities rather than for them.