Mission and History
Our mission is to democratize neuroscience.
What does that mean? Democratization is the act of making something accessible to everyone. Neuromatch seeks to make neuroscience accessible to all by allowing all people from all backgrounds equal access to education and networking opportunities and providing everybody an equal voice in scientific contribution.
Our courses are designed to be constantly iterated upon, ensuring they always offer the most cutting-edge advancements. Our goal is not just to teach techniques, but to actually teach interpretation and process. For example, our computational neuroscience course focuses on how to model any observed phenomenon. Similarly, our deep learning curriculum shows how deep learning can be used in an ethically responsible way to achieve better scientific insights in any field. Our work takes a meta-science approach that allows these teachings to translate to all of science. With the creation of student groups and the support of TAs and expert mentors, our courses result in professional networking opportunities that go beyond the technical teachings of the course.
We want to help proliferate this style of teaching while ensuring that our courses are always accessible to everybody. For this reason, our course materials are all freely available to reuse, share, and view and are always under a CC-BY license.
Our first success was the neuromatch conference held online on March 30-31st, 2020 which brought together nearly 3,000 attendees from around the world as part of 120 talks given by both senior and junior scientists. Reflecting our core philosophy of building connections and community we matched over 500 participants to 6 other partners each, based on interests gleaned from natural language processing of submitted abstracts.
In 2020 we organized a three-week-long online summer school for July 13-31, 2020. This was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which shut down nearly every summer program in the world. At these programs, students, postdocs and faculty would normally gather to acquire crucial skills and build networks that are the lifeblood of academic science. This crisis left an enormous hole in the career prospects of our most valuable and vulnerable scientists. With Neuromatch Academy we aimed to fill that gap, and in the process to build a unique model of individualized, intensive academic training that is available to nearly everyone, rather than to the privileged few. In place of the legacy summer program model, which typically charges ~$ 4500, we offered a three-week intensive program with a small fee for full-time students/academics (with fee waivers available). This program combined features of both legacy summer workshops and online course work to create a unique educational platform that is tailored to furthering academic careers (2021 Impact Report).
Neuromatch Academy represents a unique opportunity to build an inclusive summer school experience that spans the entire globe and provides a fundamental education in modern computational neuroscience. Many of the students who attend the Academy would not have had the opportunity to attend an in-person summer school due to financial or travel restrictions, or to limited space in these schools. The Academy aims to provide equal access to excellent computational neuroscience training for all students regardless of geography, nationality, socioeconomic status, or other factors.
Neuromatch Academy aims to introduce traditional and emerging tools of computational neuroscience and deep learning to trainees with an emphasis on theory and model building. Our student population ranges from undergraduates to faculty in academic settings and also includes industry professionals. Students have a diversity of backgrounds including experimental and computational neuroscience and machine learning. In addition to teaching the technical details of computational methods, we also provide a curriculum centered on modern neuroscience concepts taught by leading professors along with explicit instruction on how and why to apply models.
Neuromatch, Inc. - A Nonprofit
Neuromatch Academy and Neuromatch Conference are both part of Neuromatch Inc., a nonprofit (501(c)(3) in the United States) organization