A critical development towards public awareness activities related to brain research has been the organisation of a yearly Brain Awareness Week.
Brain Awareness Week is a public information campaign initiated in 1996 in the United States by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to focus public attention on the importance of the brain and brain research. It is an effort to bridge the gap between scientific advances and the public understanding of their implication for society.
The main purpose of the Dana Alliance is to inform and advance education about brain research. The Dana Alliance is supported by the Charles A. Dana foundation, a private, non-profit philanthropic organisation with particular interests in neuroscience and education.
Last year's Brain Awareness Week boasted activities in 27 countries, ranging from the USA and Canada through to Europe, but nothing could have prepared us for the scale of this year's event. A staggering 1'100 Brain Awareness Week partners in 41 countries produced the largest and most diverse international calendar of events to date. In Switzerland it was hold under the auspices of the Swiss Society for Neuroscience and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) and under the high patronage of Mr. Charles Kleiber, Secretary of State for science and technology. In the UK it overlaps with National Science Week, co-ordinated by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
An extraordinary array of "grass roots" activities in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia clearly demonstrate the strength of interest in the brain -and interest shared by the public at large, scientists and professionals, educators and students, young and old alike. From a multi-function Brain Park in Shanghai and Brain talk show in Calcutta to interactive lectures in St Petersburg, an open-air Brain Fair in Plymouth, a Brain Fair in the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Brain Awareness Week (13 - 19 March 2000) reached its biggest international audience to date.
In 2001 Brain Awareness Week will take place from March 12 to 18.
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