Addressing the opportunity gap in the Latin American neuroscience community

Posted on 9/09/2022

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The ALBA Network outlines key actions to improve the global inclusion, visibility and success of Latin American neuroscientists 

In a commentary published in Nature Neuroscience (Volume 25 Issue 9, September 2022), members of the ALBA Network review the challenges currently faced by the Latin American (neuro)science community and recommend actions on multiple fronts to close the opportunity gap. 

Despite high research output from the region, inequities arising from economic and political instability as well as sociocultural biases significantly reduce the impact of their scientific contributions on the global stage. Limited federal R&D spending and uneven access to educational opportunities have a negative impact on local research infrastructure, affordability and access to international conferences and publishing, and English language proficiency. It is harder for women and LGBTQ+ individuals to successfully build a neuroscience career in Latin America due to implicit bias against women and sexual and gender minorities, gender differences in education paths, restrictive gender norms and religious influence in the region. 

The ALBA Network strongly advocates for cultivating diverse and inclusive neuroscience workforces and research cultures through intersectoral collaboration. In particular, the region-specific challenges in Latin America need customised solutions such as regional and quantitative diversity data collection, institutional support and advocacy of increased representation and career advancement for women and LGBTQ+ scientists in a safe workplace free of harassment, increased financial support and research investment, comprehensive scientific training and mentoring, and dismantling of the English language dominance among academic and scientific circles. 

“The Latin American Neuroscience community faces specific barriers that prevent the achievement of its full potential and its full development to contribute in equal conditions with the rest of the international community. This work provides objective data to move from awareness to action.”, said Prof. Ana Silva, senior author of the commentary. 

This commentary builds upon a 2020 study on gender inequities in the region by the Latin American Regional Committee of IBRO (IBRO-LARC) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and a subsequent ALBA webinar in 2021 discussing the main barriers to succeed in brain sciences in Latin America.

Read the full press release here.