Knowing Neurons

2023 NeuroPolicy Paper Competition

Announcing the results of Knowing Neurons' NeuroPolicy Paper Competition, generously sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists!

Early-career neuroscientists submitted short-form policy papers that advocated for specific, actionable policies related to neuroscience. Submissions that met Knowing Neurons' editorial standards received feedback from our editing staff as part of our editorial process (detailed on our Submissions page), and have been evaluated by an anonymous panel of expert judges.

First and second place winners will receive cash awards, items from our Shop, and an opportunity to appear on Knowing Neurons' podcast. Selected authors may also be supported in advocating for their proposed policies in partnership with key science policy and advocacy organizations.

First Place

Establishing a Framework for Global Mental Health Diplomacy

By Manaswini Kar, Keerthana Manikandan, and Jonathan Klonowski

Establishing a Framework for Global Mental Health Diplomacy
Manaswini profile photo

Manaswini Kar

I am a PhD candidate at the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. I study the processing of natural sounds in the auditory cortex. Apart from science, I love hanging out with friends, trying out new food, watching movies and exploring new music. I also enjoy sketching, watching Pittsburgh Symphony Opera and the Pittsburgh Ballet and binging onto history and anthropology content.

Keerthana Manikandan

I’m a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. For my thesis, I’m currently studying the neural basis of cortical networks and its role in sensation. I’ve obtained my bachelors in biomedical engineering from India. Outside of the lab, I’m either found curled up with a good book or trying new food or watching new movies.

Jonathan Klonowski

Jonathan is a current PCGC & CDDRC graduate student fellow researching the genetic etiology of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) through bioinformatics and the analysis of ‘omics data. A biologist-by-training, he is interested in a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of disease, from developmental biology and genetics to molecular biology and biochemistry. As the president emeritus of the Allegheny Science Policy and Governance (ASPG), he enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge of Science Policy, Advocacy, Communication and Diplomacy (Sci-PACD) to help others develop in their field(s) of interest. Recently having stepped away from his role working towards increasing the participation and uplifting the voices of underrepresented groups at the National Science Policy Network’s (NSPN) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, he is preparing to start an internship with the Special Competitive Studies Project think-tank. When not applying himself to the aforementioned endeavors, he is either cycling, snowboarding, or hiking.

Second Place

The Truth is in Your Eyes: Regulating the Covert Use of Pupil Biofeedback

By Erin Morrow

The Truth is in Your Eyes: Regulating the Covert Use of Pupil Biofeedback
Erin Morrow profile photo

Erin Morrow

Erin is a PhD student in cognitive psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She uses behavior, pupillometry, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate how emotional arousal affects the structure and content of human memory. Erin also has strong interests in brain and mental health policy, neuroethics, and science communication. She currently serves on the Student/Postdoc Committee of the International Neuroethics Society. Previously, she earned a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University. Outside of the lab, Erin enjoys music, graphic design, and calligraphy.


Are you interested in writing your own science policy piece? See the writing resources below.

Policy Writing Workshop by the Journal of Science Policy & Governance

Policy Memo Workshop by Penn Science Policy & Diplomacy Group

Other writing resources are available at the Journal of Science Policy & Governance and the AAAS

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