Promoting French Excellence at the Annual Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego

The 46th Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), Neuroscience 2016, was held from 12 to 16 November 2016 at the San Diego Convention Center. This international convention, organized every year in the United States by the American Society of Neurosciences, brought together more than 30,000 participants, including 24,000 scientists and 557 exhibitors, statistics comparable to the 2013 edition in San Diego with a slight increase (4.2 %) compared to 2015 in Chicago. As previously, the public comprised about 50% American scientists, 30% non-US scientists and 20% exhibitors, journalists and others.

For the fourth consecutive year, Aviesan and the ITMO Neurosciences Neurologie Psychiatrie et Cognition, the Ecole des Neurosciences de Paris, the Société française des Neurosciences, with the support of the Inserm-USA Office, and in partnership with the Mission for Science and Technology Technology of the French Embassy in the United States, held the "Neuroscience in France: from Education to Research" booth to promote research centers and doctoral training schools in the field of Neuroscience in France.

About 20 French research centers helped to enrich the information communicated on the booth by participating to a USB key distributed to visitors wishing to pursue a career or their training in France. The ENP provided the map of the doctoral schools of France, completing the map of all the French centers produced by the ITMO. Representatives from Inserm and CNRS in the USA also participated in the animation, as well as several French scientists, such as Serge Picaud (Institut de la Vision) or Philippe Vernier (NeuroPSI) from the ENP network. Once again, the booth served as a rallying point for the French scientific community.

We received 750 visitors, mostly from North American institutions, but also from Europe and Asia. This represents a 20% increase in attendance compared to 2015 and represents the highest number of visits since the booth was set up, reflecting the internationally recognized excellence of French neuroscience and thanks to the existence of PhD training in English, such as the ENP GP offered by the Ecole des Neurosciences in Paris.

As in 2015, visitors were for the vast majority of Undergarduate, Master or PhD Levels, as well as post-doctoral students interested in career opportunities and mobility to France. Several applications also concerned short courses at the Licence level. Nima Deghani and Lyle Muller, ENP GP Alumni from  Alain Destexhe team, and Valérie Bercier, currently enrolled, efficiently assisted project manager Deborah Deslierres in presenting the program to the international student audience during the meeting.

During the conference, the ITMO NNP, the Inserm-USA Office, and the Scientific Service of the Los Angeles Post, in partnership with the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) in San Diego, set up a satellite cocktail to facilitate the bonding between the academic research community and biotechnology companies in the field of Neurosciences. This event welcomed nearly 170 participants and was inaugurated by Mr. Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles. Mr. Etienne Hirsch, Director of ITMO and member of the board of the ENP, presented the landscape of research in Neurosciences in France. And Mr Joe Panetta, President of Biocom (a group representing the interests of California companies in Life Sciences), gave an overview of San Diego's biotechnology ecosystem. 

The next Neuroscience meeting will be held in Washington DC from November 11 to 15, 2017.