Diversity Lunch

Date: Sunday 27 August, 12:30 - 13:30
Location: North Schools / Marquee

The Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience is excited to be organising a "diversity lunch" for its attendees this year.

We hope to use this opportunity to come together to discuss, in an informal and safe setting, the DEI challenges that face our community. By setting dedicated time aside to have these important conversations, we hope to spark concrete actions, and internal reflection, on how we can make our scientific field more inclusionary at all career levels.

We will be joined by representatives of the affinity groups Women in Neuroscience; Women in Machine Learning; Queer in AI and Black in AI.

Please join us on 27th August to be a part of this discussion. All are welcome!

Summary of Diversity Lunch Discussion (Aug 26th 2023)

Round 1 (Challenges and issues)

  • Diversity
    • Lack of diversity in people with different mental health needs, class, socio-economic backgrounds, first-gen status, country of origin – many of which are invisible
    • Lack of representation at the faculty level
  • Equity
    • Lack of assistance for low SES and first generation individuals
    • Barriers to attending conferences that disproportionately hurt certain groups: visas, financial costs, lack of childcare
    • Efforts to increase diversity that do not also increase equity
    • Lack of opportunities and exposure at a young age
  • Inclusion
    • People may not feel comfortable with self-expression or “coming out”
  • Other
    • Productivity-based justifications for DEI (rather than justice-based), which put undue pressure on members of underrepresented groups to increase productivity
    • The persistent notion that math skills are innate, which harms women and racial minorities.
    • Power dynamics and abuse of power by PIs

Round 2 (Existing initiatives)

  • Conference initiatives, including code of conducts, double blind reviews, and streaming talks
  • Mentor/PI initiatives, including lab manuals and reciprocal feedback
  • Broader initiatives
    • Growing up in Science and CVs of failures help to make people feel like they belong
    • Neuromatch academy
    • Diversity statements
    • Databases of female PIs to promote diverse invitees
    • Fast track professorship / post doc grants for women and other underrepresented groups

Round 3 (Suggested initiatives)


  • At the meeting: Diversity chair on organizing committee (on the ground point-person at meeting), gender-neutral bathrooms, avoiding weekends; Local representative who is able to offer guidance for obtaining travel visas
  • Double blinds reviews
  • Making conferences more affordable: hybrid/live stream options, locations, travel stipends, sliding scale/need-based fees
  • Networking support

Broader suggestions:

  • PIs: Improved training, creating lab guides/manuals, mandatory co-supervision
  • Moving DEI efforts to the university/department, rather than lab level
  • Emphasis on diversity and DEI efforts in job ads, hiring, tenure and promotion
  • Improving and increasing institutional DEI efforts (speakers, student outreach, training, parental leave)