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New Edition of “How Your Brain Works” at Brain Awareness Week 2024

Backyard Brains in Serbia - Brain Awareness Week 2024

Schools, museums, libraries, community centers and other public venues in over 75 countries— last week, the entire planet was firing spikes in honor of the brain during Brain Awareness Week 2024! An annual event organized and partly funded by Dana Foundation and International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), it’s the biggest joint scientific outreach in the world whose goal is to get more people to think, talk, make, partake in experiments and get generally excited about the brain.

And just like every previous year, we were part of it too, personally or in spirit through our gear! This time around, our SpikerBoxes have conquered five countries (that we know of): from our own to Canada, the UK, Serbia and Austria.

But the Serbian high school teachers and students were in for a special treat.

“How Your Brain Works” Now Speaks Serbian Too

"How Your Brain Works" Serbian edition

After Spanish and Italian editions, our book “How Your Brain Works” (MIT Press, 2022) got its first expanded edition. The good news is, there are several more experiments that we worked on with our fellows since the 2023 Summer Research Fellowship. The bad news, the book is in Serbian, so the new experiments aren’t available to our US audience for the time being! We hereby extend our gratitude to Nordeus Foundation, Center for Promotion of Science and the US Embassy in Serbia, who have made it all possible.

But the book launch, several workshops and media appearances weren’t the only way we popularized neuroscience in Serbia. We also donated neuroscience combos (the book + Neuron SpikerBox Pro + Human SpikerBoxO) to 23 schools around the country. These schools are now joining the ranks with a couple Serbian universities, two primary schools and a grammar school that have already received our gear over the past years. It will translate to thousands of students getting a chance to do hands-on neuroscience in the classroom!

More BYB Neuroscience at Brain Awareness Week 2024

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5 Brain Awareness Week Ideas (Apply Now to Get up to $1,250 in Grants!)

Brain Awareness Week Ideas

Second week of March is always a special time of year for brain buffs. That is when educators from around the world join in for neuroscience outreach in schools and local communities!

Money’s always scarce, but your organization doesn’t have to tap into its own funds. If you write up and submit a proposal within the next couple of weeks (through October 31), you may get up to $1,250 to fund your Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities for next March. This year, the IBRO/Dana Foundation Grants Program was expanded by 60%, so your chances of winning are bigger than ever!

But where to begin? You don’t need to break your head over activity ideas. We have a lot of wildly popular, effective and customizable hands-on experiments that have already made many an appearance during previous BAWs. Or, if you prefer something new, you can always scour our blog for inspiration from our fellows and interns! All of our experiments were designed to be conducted in makeshift labs, classrooms or public spaces. Being attractive and appealing whether you’re reaching out to middle-schoolers, college students or the general public, they all stand for democratization of neuroscience.

But what if you can’t make the second week of March? No worries. You’re not in any way required to stick with the exact BAW dates (March 11-17, 2024), nor will it affect your chances of getting awarded. Do it whenever you want, as long as you use the official Brain Awareness Week branding.

5 Brain Awareness Week BYB Classics

The foremost reason why these experiments strike a chord with so many people is that they break down very complex and sophisticated concepts in a way that looks and feels lo-fi enough not to intimidate anyone. Being featured on TED doesn’t do them a disservice either!

Another reason why we chose them is that they don’t take a lot of time or equipment.

1. BAW All-Time Favorite: Human-Human Interface

Required: Human-Human Interface + Guide

What does it take to achieve control over another person’s arm so that it moves because you wanted it to move? In its essence, this is an experiment in advanced neuroprosthetics that’s cooked up for audiences as young as 5th grade!

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Get up to $1,500 in Grants for 2022 Brain Awareness Week Outreach

Grants for 2022 Brain Awareness Week Outreach Dana Foundation

Are you part of an organization registered as public charity in the US or Canada?

If yes, now is the time to apply for up to $1,500 that you can use towards planning out an outreach for next year’s Brain Awareness Week (March 14 – March 20, 2022)!

If awarded, you could use this money to organize workshops, brain fairs, interactive programs geared towards school students, undergrads, underserved communities or the general public. There are no formal limitations as long as your program is free for attendees and has to do with neuroscience or brain health! Brain science doesn’t have nearly enough presence in school curriculums, so all initiatives to try and fill in the gap are more than welcome.

If you’re worried about the pandemic, fret not: both in-person and virtual events are eligible for this grant!

How to Apply & What Kind of Programs Do They Support?

Applying is simple: just head over here to register as a Partner. If you’re registered already, just log in here and follow the link to submit your application. The Foundation provides a bunch of resources to help you plan out your program – check them out before applying!

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