British Brain Bee, Registered Charity Number 1175560, is a non-profit initiative that fosters an interest in brain sciences, psychology, and mental health in schools. We have been running an annual competition called the England Brain Bee (www.brainbee-uk.com) for three years now. We aim to:
- Create an interest of school students in brain sciences and STEM
- Provide students with practical lab experience which will enhance their chances of getting into the best universities
- Provide them with an opportunity to meet with neuroscientists, neurologists, clinicians and university students and explore a career in sciences and medicine
- Tackle inequality in STEM by encouraging girls and young women to choose a scientific career
The London Brain Bee competition is comprised of 2 parts: neuroanatomy and neurohistology test and a written multiple-choice question exam. Students are tested on their knowledge about the brain, neuroscience research, psychology, mental health, neurochemistry and neurophysiology. In between the challenges, students listen to inspiring talks from neuroscientists and carry out brain-related activities.
In addition to the main competition, the London Brain Bee Ambassadors are planning to visit London schools in deprived areas and inspire young kids to choose sciences as a future career.
To involve more people who are not currently involved in sciences, British Brain Bee is putting a lot of emphasis on girls. For this, we visit girls' schools and encourage every school to send an equal number of male and female participants in the event, thus reducing gender inequality. In this way we will increase the opportunities for women to pursue a wide range of careers that need skills in science.
We also focus on people with low socioeconomic status (SES), including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income and people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people, too. We will work hard to fund travel expenses of children from these backgrounds to increase their participation in STEM activities.
Why do we run Brain Bee?
1) British Brain Bee is supporting the UK Government plans to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of scientists to meet business and research needs of the UK in the future.
2) The growing burden of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, means that more neuroscientists are needed to address current and future medical challenges. By nurturing our children and igniting an interest in neuroscience earlier this may lead to a long-lasting passion for science.
3) To improve educational attainment because students will study a subject that demands for critical thinking and extracurricular learning. Also science competitions improve reasoning and critical thinking skills, and also fosters friendship and team work.
4) The educational nature of the Brain Bee event will help to change public misconceptions about the brain and, by bringing neuroscience experts and the public together, it will help bridge the gap between public and science.
5) To increase community cohesion and social integration because people from different backgrounds will come together to an annual competition, play games, network and compete in scientific challenges, making them feel as one big community connected by the interest in the brain and psychology.
6) To empower and support a community culture that nurtures and supports innovative neurosciences professionals, and brings businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other community institutions together to prepare secondary school students and communities for 21st century jobs.
7) To increase awareness of neurodegenerative diseases which is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity currently in the UK. By targeting the young generation, right habits of lifestyle, food, and physical activity may develop earlier thus protecting or retarding the next generation from such brain diseases.
8) To increase awareness of mental diseases common among teenagers like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, including its causes, symptoms and treatments, leading to better ability to tackle these emotional and mental states.
9) To increase chances to get into the top universities through enhancement of UCAS application and increase employability due to encouragement to obtain a university degree in neurosciences
Why do we need money?
We need funds to:
1) organise and run the London Brain Bee competition which will take place on 17th of March 2018 during the Brain Awareness week;
2) cover travel expenses and registration fees of the UK representative in the International Brain Bee in 2018 in Germany;
3) expand the number of schools participating in the competition and to cover the costs of neuroscientists and Brain Bee Ambassadors visiting schools;
4) provide schools with neuroscience study books and resources.
We are taking action to focus on the root causes of social problems (in particular young people unemployment and poverty) to tackle them at the earliest possible stage. STEM education is increasing in popularity--more schools are incorporating STEM into their curriculum and making it a key part of what they teach. STEM, including neurosciences, can help students learn to think logically, improve math test scores, and give students career training.
We think that high-paying neuroscience jobs can be the way out of poverty for students. Science jobs are everywhere and the rising burden of neurodegenerative diseases show no signs of slowing down. Even as certain STEM trends come and go, we can expect to see the overall number of jobs in STEM fields increase. We believe that neuroscience education allows students to gain access to a world of higher-paying jobs and improves their odds of succeeding in any profession.
The London Brain Bee will also produce critical thinkers, innovators and problem-solvers, connect classrooms to real-world problems, encourage inquiry and collaborative learning, foster university and career readiness and cross-sector partnerships that will provide informal learning opportunities in their communities.