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Explore the Dana Career Network in Neuroscience & Society

October 10, 2023
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When the Dana Foundation embarked on its new focus of Neuroscience & Society, we knew right away that defining a new field would require a centralized repository of resources for aspiring scholars and practitioners. Whether you’re a future neuroscientist interested in taking your training outside of the lab, or a social scientist wanting to study how changes in the brain can impact day-to-day interactions within our communities, forging an interdisciplinary career can be a daunting—and sometimes alienating—task.

Many of our academic systems were structured to reward depth over breadth, often leaving those who are interested in spanning boundaries without a clear path to follow. For example, most graduate programs encourage you to become an expert in one specific topic, eschewing knowledge from other approaches. For anyone with interests in neuroscience and society who is also seeking practical tools to help build a career in this emerging field, the new Dana Career Network in Neuroscience & Society represents a one-stop shop of resources.

The Career Network, founded by Francis Shen, J.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics, defines Neuroscience & Society as “the cross-disciplinary intersection between neuroscience and fields beyond medicine and the natural sciences, including: neurolaw, neuroethics, neuromarketing, neuroeconomics, educational neuroscience, neurodesign, neuropolitics, and much more.” Shen’s own career spans the fields of neuroscience, ethics, law, and artificial intelligence. He brings his own lived experience as an interdisciplinary trainee to the network, having studied economics and English as an undergraduate and obtaining graduate degrees in law and government.

Students in a lecture hall listening to a presentation
Students at the University of Michigan attend a Dana Foundation Center Network event in April 2023. The audience included undergraduates and graduate students from multiple disciplines. Photo by Arthur Etter.

The Network serves as a hub for trainees to learn more about the field, explore the different subfields such as neuroethics and neurolaw, find relevant job postings, and connect with others interested in harnessing brain science to enable a better future.

The Network formally launched its website, NeuroXCareers.org, in September 2023. As part of the launch, organizers hosted the first-ever Virtual Career Fair, taking place daily from September 11-14. The Career Fair featured presentations from leading experts, followed by breakout room networking opportunities. Across the four nights, 23 different neuroscience and society subfields were discussed including neuromarketing, neuroaesthetics, neuroscience and public policy, neurocinema, and more. For trainees, it provided an amazing opportunity to interact with groundbreaking researchers and learn more about how they navigated their own career trajectories.

Over time, NeuroXcareers.org will also host numerous resources about how to successfully enter the field of neuroscience and society. However, you don’t have to wait to get involved. The website already offers video recordings of past events, including “Neuroscience Beyond the Lab: How Neuroscience is Changing Society and Opening Up New Career Paths.” This interactive session invited a small group of students, recent graduates, postdoctoral researchers, and those looking for a mid-career transition to explore questions such as, “What is “neuroscience and society,” and how can you make a career out of it?”; “What type of education do you need for these interdisciplinary careers?”; and “What are some of the barriers people encounter as they explore these career options?” And if you’re tired of sorting through dozens of different job banks to find a position that fits your background, NeuroXcareers.org continues to collect the most relevant career listings from across the field in one place. The Career Network site also offers a series of interviews with neuroscience and society experts, which will continue to be updated with new videos.

We hope you explore the website and that we see you at a future Dana Career Network in Neuroscience & Society event! For the more information and updates, sign up for the monthly newsletter here or contact info@neuroXcareers.org.

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