Written by the PCNS Committee
The Postgraduate Cardiff Neuroscience Society (PCNS) is a student-led society funded by the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHRI). We aim to bring together early career researchers in Cardiff University with an interest in mental health and neuroscience to provide opportunities for learning, socialising and networking.
Throughout the year, we hold events focusing on various neuroscience-related themes to provide postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers with the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests, and learn about the amazing advances happening right now in the world of neuroscience.
“The PCNS provides a good informal setting to engage with like-minded people and provide a platform to discover new interesting areas of research that I might not have come across otherwise.” – PCNS member
We recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary of running neuroscience events, which usually come in one of three types, Science Cafes, Spotlight On… events and simply social!
In our Science Cafés, we hold talks by fascinating and highly regarded neuroscience researchers from a wide range of backgrounds. Often the talk is followed by a related film, accompanied by pizza and wine! These events provide a chance for early career researchers to discuss current, popular or controversial topics in neuroscience.
In our 10th year, we welcomed guest speaker Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England, to discuss the world of artificial intelligence, followed by a screening of Ex-Machina. Whilst in 2017, we held our most popular Café with Professor Chris French for a Paranormal Psychology themed talk, followed by the classic film, Ghostbusters!
Our second type of event are ‘spotlight on’ talks which give attendees the opportunity to hear first-hand reflections of what it’s like to live with a psychiatric or neurological disorder from a patient, or someone from outside of research who works with the condition. These speakers are then often followed by a clinician or researcher with a particular interest in the disorder, to explain how their work relates to the condition and provide some more scientific background.
Previous spotlight events have welcomed various researchers and clinicians with expertise in disorders including epilepsy, obsessive compulsive disorder, Huntington’s disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder. These provide an alternative insight to the disorders that are not usually covered by typical University seminars, and engage the topic from a different perspective.
Finally, it’s well known that postgraduate researchers often experience loneliness, stress, and are at a high risk of suffering mental health issues, so we find it’s important to provide an informal environment for neuroscientists to socialise and have fun. That’s why, some of our events are simply social, allowing everyone to wind down from their research but still enjoy neuroscience. For some it is even a chance to rediscover joy for the subject away from their own research pressures.
We kick-start the academic year with our meet and greet events, which are some of our most popular. Social events allow new students to get to know the neuroscience community, and in previous years we have held quiz nights, brain games and even a Christmas party!
If you are a Cardiff University student or staff member and would like to join us, or for more information, contact the PCNS committee on: firstname.lastname@example.org