National Brain Mapping Lab

What is Brain Awareness Week?

Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. Every March, partners host imaginative activities in their communities that share the wonders of the brain and the impact brain science has on our everyday lives.

Brain Awareness Week was founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), and is coordinated by the Dana Foundation.

When and why did Brain Awareness Week start?

Brain Awareness Week began in 1996 as a modest effort involving just 160 organizations in the United States. DABI organized the first Brain Awareness Week to bring together diverse groups with different interests from academia, government, and professional and advocacy organizations. The goal was to unite them with the common theme that brain research is the hope for treatments, preventions, and possible cures for brain diseases and disorders and to ensure a better quality of life at all ages.

In the 24 years since its founding, Brain Awareness Week has evolved into a global education initiative that has included the participation of more than 7,300 partners in 117 countries. During the 2019 campaign alone, more than 2,500 partner events were held in 50 countries and 45 states.

Who participates?

Brain Awareness Week partners include colleges and universities, hospitals, medical research facilities, K-12 schools, advocacy groups, outreach organizations, professional associations, government agencies, corporations, and more. View the Partner List to see who’s involved, and visit Become a Partner to register.

Partners bring to the campaign their own unique perspectives and messages about the brain: an interest in a specific disease or disorder; a concern for early childhood development; a focus on successful aging; or a concern for the future of medical research funding. As a collaborative effort, Brain Awareness Week offers its partners an opportunity to focus national and international attention on these specific messages within the broader context of our shared interest in brain science.

What types of events are held?

Brain Awareness Week events are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations! Some popular events include lectures, symposia, and panel discussions; lab tours and open houses at neuroscience laboratories; brain fairs with hands-on activities, games, and experiments; programs at K-12 schools; museum exhibitions about the brain; displays at malls, libraries, and community centers; art and literature competitions; concerts and theatrical performances; and social media campaigns. For more ideas, visit Suggested Activities for Brain Awareness Week, or search the Calendar of Events and Partner Reports.

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