The Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) aims to expand our understanding of the role of internal brain processes in the arc from sensation to action, thereby discovering the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity that produces cognition. You, the SCGB investigators, have enhanced collaborative efforts by bringing together larger yet more tightly knit groups of investigators, which have grown stronger in the past year. We believe this approach is working — groups have increased requests for in-person group meetings, there are signs of deeper scientific connections in the progress reports, and the excitement in the community is evident at our meetings and events. SCGB investigators are thinking together, working together and making great progress on understanding the neural computations underlying cognition.
A unique and important aspect of the SCGB is training the next generation of scientists, through postdoctoral programs, courses and conferences. Communities and collaborations often begin at the graduate-student and postdoctoral-fellow level. The importance of investing in early-career researchers cannot be overstated, which is why we made the decision to include trainees in the SCGB meeting this year. We hope to not only train and support the next generation of scientists, but also lay the groundwork for deep and insightful collaborations at the principal-investigator level. Toward this goal, we have endeavored to make our postdoctoral programming an integral part of the scientific landscape for junior SCGB researchers. We organize regular meetings open to all postdocs in New York, California and now Boston, where junior researchers share their work and get feedback from their peers. These meetings provide “the most useful and insightful feedback” and are a “scientific highlight,” according to attendees.
The courses funded by the SCGB and organized, taught and recommended by you continue to train and engage the next generation of systems and computational neuroscientists. Through courses in Romania, China, the United States, Israel/Palestine and South Africa, the SCGB is educating students around the globe. From courses that focus on building optical and electrophysiological experimental setups from the ground up, such as the Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School in Romania, to the purely computational training provided by the IBRO-Simons Computational Neuroscience Imbizo in South Africa, we are extremely proud of the diversity of courses and the global and collaborative community the SCGB is building.
We hope this meeting will continue to foster collaboration and discussion on work vital to the SCGB mission. In addition to the talks and updates, we will again have time for each collaborative group to meet and work together. This time to work together in person was extremely successful last year, and we look forward to repeating that enthusiasm and productivity this year. There has been a shift in the approach to neuroscientific research, and we are proud to be on the forefront of this shift. Thank you for contributing your time and expertise to these efforts.
David Tank, SCGB Director
Gerry Fischbach, Distinguished Scientist and Fellow of the Simons Foundation