Neuroscience has become a hot topic in scientific research because it allows us to learn more about the brain’s functioning and then use that knowledge to make interesting and cool gadgets for the benefit of society.
Having said that, it becomes quite difficult to get into this field or know where to start given the lack of easily accessible materials for a beginner.
In this article, I have listed some of the best ways for you to get started in this fascinating field.
Volunteering or remote part-time internship
Getting your feet wet in neuroscience is best done through volunteer work or a part-time internship. In order to volunteer in a research lab of your choice, you can either contact the professor directly or apply through a portal. This is an opportunity to work with some of the best minds in neuroscience research, make useful connections, and grow professionally as well.
You can find some of these part-time internships on NeurotechX’s website. You can also find the research labs and companies working in the field of your interest here.
Participating in neuroscience or neurotechnology hackathons is a great way to get into neuroscience where you get to do interesting projects with like-minded people. You get to network with individuals who are on the same journey as you, gain valuable experience building the project from the ground up, and have a cool project to show off your abilities at the end of the hackathon. You can even earn exciting prizes if you make a clean sweep.
Owing to the pandemic, many of the hackathons went hybrid or completely virtual so that you could participate from the comfort of your own home during the weekends. You can also target in-person hackathons happening near your place.
Here are some of the hackathons you can target:
- NatHacks organized by NeurAlbertaTech.
- BR41N.IO Hackathon organized by g.tech medical engineering GmbH
- NeuroDataReHack organized by Allen Institute
Summer and Winter Courses
Numerous universities and organizations offer summer and winter courses to teach basic concepts of neuroscience. Largely, such courses are designed for those with no prior knowledge of neuroscience, which means all you need to have is the curiosity to enroll in one. You also acquire a certificate after successful completion of the course and have the opportunity to network with other students who share your interests.
These courses mostly require a small fee to register but also involve financial aid, which can be availed if you are unable to afford it. Most of these courses have also become virtual, thanks to the pandemic. Given below are some of the many courses you can register for:
- Neuromatch Academy
- BCI & NEUROTECHNOLOGY SPRING SCHOOL
- Summer Workshop on the Dynamic Brain by Allen Institute
- Computational & Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) Summer School
- Winter School “Ethics of Neuroscience and AI” 2023
You can also collaborate on an interesting project with your peers who also share an interest in neuroscience, or build a project individually if you have some fascinating ideas. You can learn the necessary skills to build the project along the way, and then show it off on Github or a website page for your project, which you can then share with others. You can also take your project and demonstrate it at various events or competitions.
Lastly, you can take some online courses to learn about neuroscience. These courses can be taken at your own pace and in your own time. Some of these courses are offered by the top professors in elite universities through MOOCs on various educational websites. Listed below are just a few of the many options available to you online:
- Computational Neuroscience course offered by the University of Washington. You can also try other related courses on Neuroscience.
- Courses offered by EPFLx
- MOOCs offered by Harvard University
Let us know in the comments section other methods you have tried to get started in Neuroscience.
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