Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Brain Awareness Week is an annual global initiative designed to raise awareness among the public about brain-related research and the impact that neuroscientists are having on the world.

This year, NDCN was involved in several activities, each with a different target audience in mind:

Picturing Parkinson's

This project is run by neuroscientist Chrystalina Antoniades and Public Engagement Manager Jacqueline Pumphrey. This work is based on the Oxford Quantification Study (OxQUIP). It is part of a continuing collaboration on art and neuroscience with Dr Jim Harris, Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum.

The project brings together artists, patients and neuroscientists to bridge the gap between objective research into Parkinson’s Disease and people’s lived experience of the condition. For the inaugural event during Brain Awareness Week, the team joined up with artist Yejeong Mutter to explore ways of thinking about Parkinson’s through a performance of 3D art. 

The event was supported by Max Brzezicki, Minchao Lai, Marta Freitas Pereira, Peta Jancek, Brenda Cooley and Lily (Zi Su). It was funded by the University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund.

The Learning Brain: Should you cram?

Holly Bridge and Stuart Clare from the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaing designed a fun game to play on your phone, which tested whether cramming is successful, or whether learning something over a longer period of time produces a better outcome. Participants were chosen either to take part in the quick learning, which is done in a single day, or for a week of learning, where you play the game every day.

In partnership with Oxford Sparks we produced three Facebook Lives:

  • An evening for teachers about the latest insights into learning involving Chris Harvey, Heidi Johansen-Berg, Kate Watkins, Mark Walton and Louise Auckland (5,900 views)
  • A demonstration of how we can re-learn after stroke with Jacinta O'Shea and Tom Smejka (5,600 views)
  • A 'big reveal' from the MRI scanner, showing the results of the cramming vs planning experiment.(5,700 views)

There was also a Twitter Takeover by one of NDCN's Public Enagement Ambassadors, Connor Scott, and Medium articles by colleagues in the Department of Experimental Pscyhology, Nadescha Trudel and Maximilian Scheuplein. Over 2000 people visited the microsite which pulled all the material together.

Big Brain Roadshow

A large number of researchers from our Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging were  involved in delivering another Big Brain Roadshow. This time the show went to Cherwell School, where we entertained 270 children with our play ‘21st Century Phrenology’ and interactive stalls on different aspects of our research, including the physics of imaging, the learning brain and the active brain. Our researchers worked really hard to make their science highly engaging, and they also gave the students a rich insight into life in science.

The children were very engaged and when asked to comment on what they thought of the activity, one student said: 'I loved all of it, it was sick!'

The teachers were amazed too by how their students engaged with the activities. One teacher commented: 'It’s amazing to see how the children are still engaged with this activity, even 25 minutes into it. The children are clearly rising to the challenge of being grown-ups!'

Hagbourne School STEM Day

Clare Mackay organised a stall for the STEM day at Hagbourne School in East Hagbourne. Her team of really enthusiastic engagers, most of them first timers, engaged with around 200 children. They played brain snap with the children, taught them about brain evolution with 3D brains and stuffed animals, and enthused them about brain plasticity with Suzie Scientist.The day was a great success!

Similar stories

New insights gained into how the brain encodes information about the world

Scientists have developed a new way to test the theory that active neurons can change what they signal in the world, rather than keeping a stable correspondence to things (such as a features of an object, or ideas).

Oxford and Quinnipiac researchers discuss integrated clinical care, education, and research in multiple sclerosis

Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital's Mandell Center for Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research welcomed University of Oxford partners in September. Stakeholders from University of Oxford and Quinnipiac University met to discuss ongoing research and future opportunities to develop a Mandell MS Center concept of care in the UK.

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship

Dr Rezvan Farahibozorg has received one of 17 Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships for 2022.

Repurposed drug could help patients with motor neuron disease

A drug typically used to treat enlarged prostates and high blood pressure has shown promise as a potential new therapy for motor neuron disease (MND), according to a new study.

Finding out more about Parkinson’s by monitoring symptoms at home

Professor Chrystalina Antoniades explains how the COVID pandemic accelerated an innovation in one research project into Parkinson's Disease.

Insights into the molecular pathways of progressive multiple sclerosis

Text by Ian Fyfe for 'Nature Reviews Neurology'