While the foundation for rigorous scientific conduct is created primarily at the university level through strong mentor relationships, scientific training, and the peer review system, there is little systematic, formal training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in experimental design and data analysis. To meet this need, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will implement a multimodal training and awareness building program targeted towards early career scientists on experimental design, data analysis, and reporting communicated through the specific lens of conducting neuroscience research.
The aim of the program emphasizes development of an interactive modular webinar series featuring practical strategies and tools taught by renowned field experts. The program will be combined with communications and related activities that will be held through many of SfN's leading venues for research, including the SfN annual meeting, and includes partnerships with academic institutions. The long term goal of this program is to increase awareness about this essential topic, impart knowledge of best practices, and change practices related to scientific rigor and reproducibility for early career scientists.
It is estimated that neurological illnesses affect one billion individuals worldwide (World Health Organization, 2007), including 50 million Americans, requiring over $500 billion annually in U.S. healthcare costs, not including costs borne by caretakers. It is critical to develop a strong and diverse neuroscience research workforce to find new and innovative ways to prevent and treat neurological illnesses. Further, the research in which this workforce engages needs to be well designed, well vetted, accessible, and replicable; as other areas of science and scientific discovery will benefit from new discoveries.