Neuroscience of Consciousness Winter School in CIFAR’s Brain Mind & Consciousness Program
TWCF Number
Project Duration
August 1 / 2022
- July 31 / 2027
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
North America
Amount Awarded

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Katherine (Kate) Geddie
Institution The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

This project supports the activities of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness (BMC), with a particular emphasis for five Winter Schools on the scientific study of consciousness. The main goal of the BMC program is to grapple with the fundamental underpinnings of consciousness and relate the findings to biology on the one hand and philosophical questions on the other. The BMC program invites industry, civil society, healthcare, and government experts to join its fellows for in-depth conversations that drive change and innovation.

This four-day Winter School, proposed for each December from 2022 to 2026, aims to strengthen the training of the next generation of leading researchers from across the globe in the neurobiology of consciousness and higher-order cognitive processing.

The school will be structured each year to provide around 40 participants with the opportunity to learn from and interact with leading researchers on frontier topics in consciousness research and specific leadership and science communication training. The target audience is a select cohort of outstanding postdoctoral fellows and senior graduate students worldwide who will be chosen through a highly competitive application process managed by CIFAR BMC Co-Directors Adrian Mark Owen and Anil K. Seth as well as Global Scholars associated with the program. Research lectures will be provided by a mix of BMC Fellows and invited speakers. CIFAR leverages its network of experts to provide training around leadership and communication for the Winter school participants.

The Winter school is structured so that there are opportunities for group work, such as developing an experiment or working together on a presentation. It also combines structure and stimulation such as lectures and discussion time with unstructured time like mentor-mentee lunches to spur productive cross-disciplinary scientific discussions. The topics covered at the Winter school include grant writing, science communication, careers in consciousness research, and the future of the field.

The Winter School will contribute to developing a community of consciousness researchers, strengthen the connections between early-career researchers, and promote greater awareness and appreciation for different approaches and theories in the field. The project, therefore, serves as a strategic partnership to strengthen the field of consciousness research in support of the Accelerating Research on Consciousness Priority.

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