PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Public awareness for brain research
A world wide endeavour

Beatrice Roth  

Elaine Snell  

Pierre J. Magistretti  

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.


A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.