Author & Fotos: Rebecca van Rijn

Cover Foto: Richard van Wezel presenting the member organisations of BCB-NL.

On November 4th 2020, Brain Cognition Behaviour – The Netherlands (BCB-NL), had its official start event with more than 100 participants. BCB-NL is the new overarching platform for research in the field of brain, cognition and behaviour in the Netherlands. It is a strong and ambitious umbrella platform of Dutch research organizations in the field. The main goals of BCB-NL are to stimulate interdisciplinary research and collaborations, to increase knowledge exchange and to represent the researchers in the field (the BCB-NL vision document can be found here).

The start event was opened by prof. Alexander Sack (Stichting Hersenstimulatie) and prof. Lydia Krabbendam (NeuroLabNL). Prof. Heleen Slagter (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie) and prof. Richard van Wezel (NeuroLabNL) introduced BCB-NL’s vision and goals and underlined the importance of interdisciplinarity in the field of brain, cognition and behaviour. Many societal challenges can only be properly solved with interdisciplinary research efforts and collaborations between fundamental and applied researchers. For example, to fully understand the functioning of the brain in order to prevent and cure mental illness, neuroscientists, animal researchers, psychologists, cell-biologists and ethicist need to work together. As such, Prof. Heleen Slagter and Prof. Richard van Wezel emphasized the role BCB-NL intends to play in lobbying for interdisciplinary grants.

NWO representative dr. Rob Heinsbroek warmly applauded the initiative. He expressed his hope that BCB-NL would work on making research even more coordinated, even more goal-oriented and even more relevant for society.

Crucially, researchers that attended the event were asked to share their insights about what BCB-NL can do to support interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and to represent the field. In breakout sessions (this is an online function where participants of the plenary sessions are divided into separate smaller groups) the participants discussed bottlenecks they experience, possible solutions and a 10-year vision for BCB-NL. The outcomes were summarized in a plenary session that was chaired by prof. Liesbeth Sterck (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Gedragsbiologie) and prof. Stefan van der Stigchel (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie). The results are currently being analysed – stay tuned for the outcomes and next steps.

Prof. David Anderson from Caltech University gave us the honour to close the evening with his keynote presentation on ‘The neural circuitry of sex and violence’. Prof. Anderson’s work is an exquisite example of the high-level, interdisciplinary research that is done in the field of brain, cognition and behaviour. We want to thank prof. David Anderson for his wonderful presentation and all participants for their input in this first BCB-NL event. The energy in our virtual meeting was filled with positivity, enthusiasm and ambition, thanks to all that contributed.

P.S., BCB-NL also presented its new logo during the start event. The logo was designed by Vera Mekern MSc, a PhD candidate at Leiden University. Here are some quotes by our members about the logo:

“a beautiful logo with a strong colour that represents different forms of connection (neurons, people, groups) and it shows that connections are dynamic” and

“these blobs are us, the different disciplines that collaboratively make up the study of brain and behaviour”.

The New BCB-NL logo

Author & Fotos: Rebecca van Rijn