2021 BWN Award

The Annual BiasWatchNeuro Award for Equity and Inclusivity

Call for Nominations

Nominations for the 2021 award now accepted through September 30th, 2021!

Diverse voices and ideas deserve to be heard equitably in science.

Since 2015, BiasWatchNeuro has worked to increase the representation of women in neuroscience and related fields — in particular, women as invited speakers at conferences.

However, women are the not the only group that is confronted with implicit biases and systemic obstacles in science.

Minoritized groups are severely underrepresented at every level of the academic career path.

Even as more diverse student bodies are recruited, the culture in many departments and institutions is not as welcoming to or supportive of those that belong to minoritized groups as one would hope for. 

The reality is that many universities and institutions still embody and perpetuate both the historical influence of being established by men of privilege, and the persisting effects of systemic racism in our society.

It is time to change this reality in our departments and institutions.

Black scientists matter.
Hispanic and Latinx scientists matter.
LGBTQAI+ scientists matter.
First generation scientists matter.
Low income scientists matter.
Disabled scientists matter.
Intersectionality matters.

The purpose of the BiasWatchNeuro Award for Equity and Inclusivity is to catalyze a “race to the top” among neuroscience and related departments, institutes, graduate-and-postdoc-training programs.

The Award aims to:

  1. Recognise existing efforts within departments, institutes, and training programs that enhance equity and inclusivity for trainees
  2. Encourage wide adoption of measures and activities that trainees feel are improving their feeling of belonging

Nominations for the 2021 award now accepted through September 30th, 2021.

Winners will be announced at (or before) the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Nomination Guidelines

Please send letters of nomination to: biaswatchneuro@gmail.com

Who is this Award given to?

The BiasWatchNeuro Annual Award for Equity and Inclusivity is given to a department, institute, or training program in neuroscience or a related field that demonstrates the exceptional creation of a culture where underrepresented and/or marginalised individuals feel integral to the community and thrive.

Nominations can also be submitted for the work of individuals, committees, or groups within a department/institute/program.

Note: Summer programs are not eligible at this time.

Who can submit a nomination?

  • Nomination letters can be written and signed by current and alumni trainees, including graduate students, post-bacc/RAs, postdocs
  • Nominations can be submitted by an individual trainee or signed by multiple trainees
  • Trainees can submit a nomination for their department, institute, or program

Note: Faculty members cannot nominate their current program.

What should be included in the letter of nomination?

  1. First, tell us who you are nominating: Your entire department/institute/unit? A training program in your unit? A specific individual or group in your department?
  2. Tell us why you think their work deserves to be recognised. Give specific descriptions of the activities that promote inclusivity and equity.
    Examples of activities that promote inclusivity and equity are (but not limited to):
    • Having an active inclusive teaching committee
    • Organising a diversity-related journal club
    • Promoting effective accommodation of disabilities
    • Creating regular safe spaces (such as weekly chats) to talk about issues of climate and inclusion
    • Encouraging faculty to perform syllabus review
    • Investing in trainee and faculty recruitment and retention to enhance departmental diversity
    • Organising read-ins for faculty to discuss books on social and racial justice
  3. Tell us about the impact, too (we recognise that no department/institute/program is perfect. You can also highlight any progress that is underway.)
  4. Sign your name(s).
  5. Send it to biaswatchneuro@gmail.com.

Note: More than one letter and/or letters with multiple signatories will be viewed favourably.

Will nomination letters be made public?

BiasWatchNeuro would like to publish nomination letters for winners and runner-ups to showcase successful methods for creating an inclusive and equitable culture so that:

  • other institutes can learn from, emulate, and be inspired as to what they can do better
  • and to provide prospective trainees at all levels with information that can inform their decisions of where to apply to

We hope that this will help us all improve our practices and move towards a day in which all neuroscientists feel seen, respected, and supported.

Note: Signatories and names of nominators will only be seen by the award committee, will always be kept confidential, and NEVER made public. Nomination letters will only be made public with permission and after redactions as warranted to maintain confidentiality of the nominators.

We recognise that no department, institute, or program is perfect…

We are aware that many institutions are in the midst of a process to increase equity and inclusivity and have not yet reached close to their desired goal.

However, the aim of this award — and the nomination letters — is to highlight methods and efforts that are effective, even while realizing that more work needs to be done. 

Please consider nominating your department, institute, or program not because they are perfect, but because some of what they are doing can be helpful for others to know about. 

Finally, we emphasise that any winner of the award will be congratulated for what they have done so far, but expected to do more in the future.

The award is for one year only, and next year, the institution will have to compete for it again…

As we all improve our practices, the standards for winning will increase.

That is the goal of this award — to catalyze a process.

Please send letters of nomination to: biaswatchneuro@gmail.com