NeuroSymposium Founders Awarded Forces Avenir Prize

The founding members of the NeuroSymposium project were recently awarded a prize from Forces AVENIR.

The NeuroSymposium is an exchange platform focused on the brain. The ongoing project was spearheaded by three graduate students from McGill (Laura-Joy Boulos, Alexa Pichet Binette, Robin Sawaya) and two students from UdeM (Elsa Tremblay, Philippe-Antoine Beauséjour). Their goal is simple: to promote neuroscientific collaborations both intra- and extramurally across the province of Québec, that is among neuroscientists and also with experts from other disciplines. In a first phase, the students consistently devoted themselves to build a strong and active neuroscience community through annual symposiums. Their forum gathers young researchers in neuroscience from across the province to convene, discuss, exchange ideas and socialize. Held for the first time in June 2016 at the Grande Bibliothèque, a symbol of vibrancy and transmission of knowledge in Québec, the first event of the NeuroSymposium created the perfect environment to foster discussion among young scientists. The second edition took place on June 15 2017, and was also a great success. Beyond the traditional poster and oral presentations, the team offers new and innovative means for students to present their work. While “pitch-talks” encourage presenters to frame their work in a manner which would make the content more accessible to the greater public, panel discussions engage students and catalyze critical thinking.

More than just a forum that showcases the work of the graduate students who presented, the NeuroSymposium highlights the innovative, state of the art and cutting-edge research currently in progress across the province of Quebec in all branches of neuroscience, molecular, cellular, systems and clinical. In an increasingly connected world, which at the same time is growing increasingly more competitive, building a strong provincial network will give neuroscience research in Québec greater exposure and will allow it to shine even more brightly on the national and international stages.

After successfully bringing these young neuroscientists from across Quebec together, and after witnessing new collaborations happen at a student level between neuroscience labs from different universities, the five students are now fervently working towards their second objective: to open-up the community of scientists to the rest of the society. They believe that the brain should be made more accessible because everybody has one (!) and because, more than anything, they believe in interdisciplinary, translational approaches, at the intersection between researchers and physicians, biology and computational engineering, neuroscience and art, psychology and philosophy, the brain and society.

This innovative initiative is evolving into an influential long-term actuality, and, as such, will continue to promote the incredible work of the next generations of neuroscience investigators, not only at McGill, but across the province.

More info on Forces Avenir here: http://www.forcesavenir.qc.ca/universitaire/description/