Upcoming Events

"Of mice, men and machines - Exploring the diversity of research objects and target groups in neuroscience"

Scientific discovery is based on the novelty of questions you ask, that means if you want to discover something new, you have to ask a different question. Karin Grasenick, Coordinator for Gender and Diversity in the HBP, explored in the presentation “Of mice, men and machines” why diversity in research is crucial to make new discoveries. The session was held at the FENS 2020 related HBP events.

Research depends on the questions asked, the models used, and the details considered. For this reason, it is important to reflect why certain variables are analysed or which aspects might play a role. An example for this is Machine Learning, which can be biased if the data the machines are trained with, is biased too. For example, applications to diagnose skin cancer in medicine more often fail to recognize tumours in darker skin correctly because they are trained using pictures of fair skin. Therefore, it is essential to consider aspects of diversity like gender, age, race, ethnicity, etc. There are several reasons for not training AI properly, among others cost issues or lack of training material for AI or simply because scientists did not think about diversity when choosing the training material or data. However, these examples show that diversity can even save lives.

Additionally, the diversity of the research team matters because diverse people perceive problems in different ways and use thus different methods and processes to solve them which makes diverse team more innovative.

For doing research, two questions must be asked to ensure that diversity is considered. Check out the session “Of mice, men and machines” to find out which questions these are. If you want to learn more about the role of diversity in research, read the blogpost on Common Challenges in Neuroscience, AI, Medical Informatics, Robotics and New Insights with Diversity & Ethics.




Presentation "Of mice, men and machines"

Past events

HBP High Potential Mentoring Programme

Due to its enormous success, the HBP High Potential Mentoring Programme will be continued. It was developed by the (former Gender Advisory Committee) and is designed for early career stage scientists, researchers and managers of science. As individuals and the research community are very diverse, there are different reasons to support the mentoring programme: the lack of female role models in STEM, being part of a minority in the research community, struggling with the compatibility of work and family life as new father or having a different cultural background than the working environment are just some of the possible reasons. Therefore, the programme is for everyone who wants to support equal opportunities and who believes it can help them to pursue their professional career and personal development.

Mentors support their mentees in six to eight virtual meetings between August 2020 and May 2021, each no longer than an hour. To ensure a clear focus on strategic (personal) decisions and/or further career steps of interdisciplinary scientists and managers alike, guiding materials have been designed. Additionally, virtual focus groups will be offered for mentors and mentees can participate in the Peer Group Mentoring. As it is specially shaped for the international and interdisciplinary needs of the HBP, these structures clearly differentiate the HBP High Potential Mentoring Programme from other mentoring programmes. For further info on mentoring, read the on the HBP High Potential Mentoring Programme.

Registration is open until 30th June and we kindly invite you to join the Mentoring Programme and support the next generation of science! Register via:

Report on Equal Opportunities in the HBP

In the last two years, the coordinators for gender mainstreaming and diversity management have implemented a Gender Action Plan (GAP) in the HBP in close collaboration with the Gender Advisory Committee (GAC).

This package of strategies and measures considers gender as part of RRI and fosters measures to improve equal opportunities and career development alike (link).

The Report on the Implementation of the GAP shows that these measures were successful on several levels. The monitoring on gender balance and distribution has demonstrated that the overall gender balance in the HBP is comparable with related European fields of science and career levels and that the proportion of women in leadership positions has increased. On the level of individuals, for example, all participants of the mentoring programme gave positive feedback and could greatly benefit from it both professionally and personally.

In the three years to come, the last phase of the HBP, these activities for gender mainstreaming and diversity management will thus be continued and complemented by further measures. This shows that the HBP is committed to enhance diversity, driven by the appreciation that equal opportunities across different cultures, disciplines, tasks, and sexes contribute to excellence, innovation, and collaboration.

20 Actions for 2020 and Beyond!

The HBP Commitment to Equal Opportunities and Inclusiveness on the International Women’s Day

The HBP celebrates the International Women’s Day by publicly announcing that the HBP leaders have signed a letter of personal commitment to enhance equal opportunities and inclusiveness.

The members of the Science and Infrastructure Board (SIB) endorsed the letter and the attachments, which comprise a vision, the mission to follow the cascade model and a checklist (link).

The checklist gives each leader 20 action steps to care about: from
reflecting statistics to a fair work distribution in teams and individual career development plans.
Every person with a leadership responsibility is invited to join and sign the letter and choose those aspects from the checklist that can be applied to her or his position. HBP leaders thereby counteract the leaky pipeline and strive to implement the reference model of the HBP: Women and men are expected to be represented at each career level in proportion to the level below.

The initial figures are derived at the level of PhD students and Postdocs, based on ratios from sources like the European SHE FIGURES, and/or organisations considered as best practice for each Work Package or Task. If there is a significant difference, the responsible leaders will check closely to try to find the reason. If the reason is discrimination, the HBP will endeavour by all means to fix that.

All HBP leaders are encouraged to sign the letter! Join us, take actions, share your thoughts and suggestions with the Diversity and Equal Opportunities Committee (former Gender Advisory Committee).

4th HBP Student Conference

The Student Conference is immediately followed by a workshop day on 23 January, which will include workshops on “diversity in research” and career planning. Attendees of the Student Conference are invited to participate in the workshop day free of charge.

There is overwhelming evidence that diverse teams deliver stronger and more sustainable results in science and business. To harvest the benefits of diversity, HBP offers related workshops and interactive sessions at conferences.

Same, same or different? Neuroscience, robotics, AI and medical informatics: New insights with diversity

The 3rd Curriculum Workshop on Research Ethics and Sociatel Impact took place Sept. 26, 2019 – Sept. 27, 2019 at Graz University of Technology, Austria

In this 2-day workshop, scientists from neuroscience, robotics, AI and medical informatics provided insights on how they consider variables such as sex, gender, age etc. Additionally, experts in ethics and diversity will introduce Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concepts and their practical application. 

Juliana Nnadi, presented a poster and reflected her experiences at:


The workshop also raised international interest, read the article at the NeuroEthicsBlog


Photo credit: HBP Education Programme





















HBP Leaders' Commitment to Equal Opportunities and Inclusiveness














Workshop Organisers, Lecturers and Participants.
Photo Credit: HBP Education Programme

3rd HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research 6-8 Febr. 19

A workshop on career planning will be offered on 8th of February 2019. This workshop for participants of all genders will provide success factors and challenges for scientific and alternative career options; information on expected formal requirements and the importance of networks, informal rules and biases.; opportunities to reflect individual career goals and to build a roadmap on how to get there as well as to learn from sharing experiences with peers.

Dual Use and Responsible Research Conference 15-17th Nov. 2018

This session will explore how diversity of research objects and/or target groups (that is e.g. differences of sex, age or other physical factors, psychological or societal factors) should be considered in order to improve the probability for robust and innovative findings – and last but not least: funding opportunities. Examples, guiding questions, tools and techniques for diversity research design and content will be presented. RRI context will be provided and discussed.

The Talent Session at the HBP SUMMIT 15-18th Oct. 2018

offered hands on guidelines and support on recruiting and then 'science of team science' with a clear focus on equal opportunities in divers teams, regarding e.g. different disciplines, tasks, cultures, sexes, gender.  

The first HBP conference on Gender and Diversity in March 2018:

A call to action for everyone at HBP” - 1st Gender and Diversity Conference

How to break the glass ceiling in neuroscience?