Special Interest Events will be part of the official Forum programme to promote and discuss specific activities or topics of general interest to the neuroscience community.

Special Interest Events will have an established agenda/programme and may include a social gathering at the end of their established programme.

Special Interest Events will take place at the venue throughout the Forum days. The majority of Special Interest Events will be open to registered participants.

The Brain Debate “Which brains are we studying?

Neuroscientists use a broad range of organisms (from worms, flies and zebrafish to rodents and primates, and now to organoids) to study brain function and behaviour. This Brain Debate aims at illustrating why different scientists study different systems and what can be achieved with different approaches. Animal preparations are frequently presented as ‘model organisms’. Does this suggest that the ultimate goal of animal work should be to understand and treat the human brain? Translating animal brain research to clinical implications is certainly a key goal of a large part of the research carried out. The neuroscientific community may, however, have diverse views on the purpose of studying many systems, on what can be achieved with different brain ‘models’, and on what the ultimate goals of each research field and envisioned applications may be. In this Brain Debate, we will discuss the merits of focused and comparative approaches and reflect on our scientific mission and on our vision for the field.

For more information click here.

The most important skill a scientist needs, after the research and technical skills needed to execute a study, is the ability to report their scientific endeavours in the written form. Indeed, there is no point in conducting research if one cannot articulate new scientific knowledge.  The aim of this workshop, which will be presented by the editors of four international, society-owned neuroscience journals, to discuss what happens to a paper once the ‘submit’ button is pressed. We will discuss what editors consider when deciding whether to review a paper, what we expect from reviewers, what we expect in a good paper, how journals expect data to be represented and statistical analyses reported and issues around journal metrics.  Each of the editors will be attending the FENS forum and will be available for discussion about current papers, prospective papers and special issues.

Chair: John Foxe, USA:  Editor of European Journal of Neuroscience

  • Juan Lerma, Spain: Editor of Neuroscience. “What happens to your paper once submitted to a journal”


  • Jeff Dalley, UK: Editor of Brain and Neuroscience Advances. “The peer-review process and what we expect reviewers to do”


  • Marina Picciotto, USA: Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience. “What we expect in a good paper”


  • Guillaume Rousselet, UK: Section Editor European Journal of Neuroscience. “Representation of your data and statistical analyses”


  • John Foxe, USA: Editor of European Journal of Neuroscience “The impact factor: a useful metric or the poison science?”

Additional aims are:

  • to stress the importance of Society-owned journals,
  • to show that we as editors are approachable and want to publish good science
  • to show that we are scientists ourselves who have gone through the submission process many times and
  • to dispel the idea of conflict between the author and Editors/reviewers




“Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.” Peter Higgs, Nobel prize winner
The preference for dramatic, novel and positive findings over incremental, reproduced or negative findings within a ‘publish or perish’ culture is jeopardising the reproducibility, replicability, and reliability of neuroscience research. While this issue has been recognised for some time, and is currently being addressed by many research councils, institutes and journals who are adopting credible initiatives, there is still a perceived – or in many cases actual – pressure on neuroscientists to publish ‘high-impact’ articles (and in high numbers).
In this special event, we will hear about credibility initiatives that have the potential to increase the reproducibility, replicability, and reliability neuroscience research, which will not only benefit scientific progress in the long-run, but also address a major cause for the poor mental health of research.

The Dana Foundation, in collaboration with FENS, SfN, IBRO and other partners of the Global Engagement Initiative, welcome those with an interest in public outreach to a reception celebrating public awareness and engagement. Following introductions, posters from various outreach activities and initiatives, including the international Brain Awareness Week (BAW), will be on display during a networking reception. Scientists and the public alike are encouraged to attend and exchange on different approaches to support public outreach and engagement. The event will host an award ceremony for the Brain Awareness Week Excellence Award winner(s), given to an organizing entity of the best European BAW project of the past two years.

The earth’s climate is undoubtedly changing. Although scientists are, to a large extent, receptive of this fact and aware of the causes and consequences of the current environmental crisis, identifying what we can do as a community, at the level of laboratories, research institutions and individually as scientists remains elusive.
This special interest event offers a forum to discuss what we can do to adopt a more sustainable model for life-sciences. The organizers will present the results of a small survey performed among neuroscientists and their research institutes to trigger the discussion on the environmental footprint of our community and to start identifying solutions. A panel of academics, activists and life-science industry representatives, among others, will share their viewpoints and experiences implementing concrete actions towards an environmentally friendly life-science framework.
In addition to raising awareness on the impact of life sciences on the environment, we will highlight the need to better measure and document this impact, including plastic and Co2 emissions in scientific events and research centers. We also aim to draw up a list of concrete actions that define gold-standards of sustainability for our scientific community.
Join us either with your physical presence or by teleconference and add your voice to this discussion! Drinks/snacks will be offered! This special interest event is organized by the FENS-Kavli Scholars (FKNE).

Social media has become an essential tool in the distribution of scientific information amongst professionals in the field of neuroscience and the general population, with Twitter being the platform most commonly used by scientists. How can scientists (and more specifically neuroscientists) best use Twitter to communicate science (both their own and that of others). This workshop will bring together a panel of four specialists who use Twitter on a regular basis as a tool for science communication. They will share with the audience their tips and tricks on using Twitter from making a good profile and finding the relevant people to follow, to engaging on Twitter, finding content and the best ways to interact with a community.

This interactive Special Interest Event allows you as FENS Forum participant to meet with representatives from business, industry and public sectors, all with a neuroscience background. The speakers will share with you how their neuroscience background contributed to their career-paths.
Following this event, the speakers will be available to answer your questions in an informal setting within the Forum career and training area from 14:30-15:30. This event will be followed by the FENS Job fair from 15:30 – 17:30.
Download the session programme.

The European Research Council (ERC) is an organisation of the European Commission aimed at funding excellence in research, as part of Horizon 2020. It supports investigator-driven frontier
research and stimulates scientific excellence by awarding long-term grants to individual researchers from anywhere in the world to carry out their research in a European host organisation. With 4 main granting schemes, the ERC supports researchers at different stages of their careers. The Starting Grant supports young investigators moving to independence. The Consolidator Grant strengthens recently created teams. The Advanced Grant provides to well-established scientists an opportunity to develop innovative or high-risk research. The Synergy Grant brings several teams together to jointly address complex research topics. The ERC has been very active in supporting cutting-edge and innovative research in all fields of neuroscience. Besides giving details on these different schemes and how to apply, this session will also be a unique opportunity to meet with ERC grantees presenting their project and sharing their ERC experience.

  • Introductory remarks
  • “The European Research Council (ERC): funding opportunities for investigator-driven research in Europe”
    Dr Nicolas Voilley, Research Programme Officer for Neuroscience, European Research Council (ERC) (presentation 15 minutes + Q&A 10 minutes)
  • Sharing “ERC experience” with ERC grantees
    2 x 10 minute presentations

The Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) brings together over 180 graduate neuroscience schools and programmes representing approximately 30 European countries.
MSc and PhD neuroscience school programmes will present themselves during the NENS Graduate School Fair throughout the FENS Forum 2020. Join us at the NENS Fair where you will have the opportunity to share experiences and get detailed information about the attending graduate neuroscience under-graduate and graduate programmes. Further, you will have the chance to see the work of the students enrolled in these graduate schools: the best 10 selected posters of the school programmes registered with NENS will be displayed at the Fair.
Students are particularly encouraged to visit the NENS Fair area.

Openness in the public debate on animal research has been increasing in many European countries and research institutions. Since the 2014 launch of the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, research institutions in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Switzerland have also adopted policies and practices that seek to improve transparency with the public. The event is designed to support researchers and institutions that wish to be more open about the animal research they conduct. The focal theme of the workshop is to discuss how and why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders should talk about animal research; it is not a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

Discover more about the history of brain sciences through a symposium organised by the FENS History Committee and hosted by the Hunterian Museum of the University of Glasgow. The symposium will highlight the exhibition of original drawings by Santiago Ramón y Cajal at the Hunterian Museum, along with works by other prominent researchers. A pioneer of modern neuroscience, Cajal’s contributions to brain illustration are noteworthy not just for their scientific value but also for their artistic qualities. Contrast his work with that of other prominent scientists and discuss your impressions at an evening reception.

Continuing the success of the neuroscience pub talk events for the general public @ the FENS Forum Copenhagen in 2016 and Berlin 2018, the FENS-Kavli Scholars will continue the Science Café Series in Glasgow 2020. Five venues will host ten featured talks by FENS-Kavli Scholars to inspire discussions centered around emerging topics in neuroscience with direct relevance for society.

FENS Forum attendees are highly welcome to participate in these engaging discussions. Join in communicating neuroscience to the general public!

Free Drinks provided to the first 30 attendees at each location!

The principles of replacement, refinement and reduction – the “Three Rs” put forward by the European Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes – continue to shape scientific research across the EU and beyond. In this context, the search for alternatives to animal models increasingly influences the development of research projects. At the same time, the importance of employing the correct model – be that animal or otherwise – remains key to the reliability, and indeed utility, of any results.
The discussion will cover situations involving a shift from high to low complexity models, from animal models to experiments in humans, and animal to in vitro models. Speakers who have made such changes will discuss their reasons for doing so, the challenges encountered and the impact on their working methods.

Organised by the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence (FKNE) under the umbrella of the FENS Committee for Higher Education and Training (CHET), the event will focus on topics relevant for senior postdocs, newly appointed and mid-carrier PIs. The approached themes include: how to get the first PI position, selection of team members, application and management of funds, the mid-carrier gap, early and mid-career mobility, and coping with stress while balancing life with career.

The overall aim of the event is to bring together the attendees with current mid carrier FKNE and FKNE alumni PIs to share concrete experiences and problem-solving skills, and start to create a network among the future generation of PIs.

The event is structured in two main sessions:

Starting and mid-carrier PI hurdles (I)

14 July 2020, 12:30 -13:30

Scheduled as a lunch seminar, the topics mentioned above will be addressed in a series of short talks by the FENS-Kavli Scholars and FKNE alumni.

This event is open to all FENS Forum attendees.

Starting and mid-carrier PI hurdles (II)

14 July 2020, 19:00 – 20:45

During the evening session – workshop format – several round tables will be organised simultaneously, and the afore-mentioned topics from the lunch seminar session will be discussed in-depth between the FKNE Scholars and alumni, and selected participants.

This evening workshop is limited to 50 participants. No registration fee envisioned.
Priority in selection will be given to senior postdocs, recently appointed and mid carrier PIs.
Pre-registration and selection required.

–  Submit here your application to attend the workshop.

Application deadline25 May 2020

Click here to download the programme

This event is convened by the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence. This workshop will communicate insights and experience on advocacy activities for neuroscience policy and funding in Europe. The goal of the workshop is to inform neuroscience researchers about strategies, mechanisms, and challenges of science advocacy in Europe; and to encourage individuals to find effective ways of engaging on policy issues.
Speakers will include active neuroscientists with significant experience in science advocacy, as well as policy professionals who work on a daily basis in implementing neuroscience funding and organization.
The event will include a panel discussion where audience engagement is highly encouraged.