The European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience announces the 2022 ESCAN Young Investigator Award.

The two winners of the ESCAN Young Investigator Award 2022 are Dr. Camilla Nord (University of Cambridge, UK) and Dr. Emiel Cracco (Ghent University, Belgium). Both awardees have shown academic independence, a strong commitment to Open Science practices, and possess a strong track record in wider dissemination of academic research.

Dr. Camilla Nord has made substantial and innovative contributions at the intersection of cognitive-affective neuroscience and mental health as evidenced by numerous high quality publications that highlight the translational importance of reliable and robust measures.

The role of homeostatic neural and cognitive mechanisms in mental health conditions

To survive, organisms maintain homeostasis by predicting, detecting, and regulating their internal state. Many neuropsychiatric disorders show profound disruptions in homeostatic processes, including in motivational drive, appetite, and interoception. The neurocognitive basis of homeostatic processes may represent an important target of current or putative mental health treatments. This talk will discuss three recent attempts to uncover the role of homeostatic mechanisms in mental health symptoms and their treatment using experimental medicine, psychopharmacology, and functional neuroimaging. It will also outline a conceptual model of mental health treatment development, focusing on how measures from cognitive neuroscience could be clinically useful, and the current challenges in realising this translational potential.

Dr. Emiel Cracco has made substantial and innovative contributions in the fields of social perception and action representations as evidenced by a number of high quality publications that advance a coherent theoretical framework of social perception that scales up from one person to many actors.

Social neuroscience beyond the dyad – How does social perception scale up from one to many?

We live in a complex social world. Navigating ourselves in this world critically requires us to process, interpret, and respond to the actions of the people we encounter. Importantly, we rarely see those people in isolation. Yet, surprisingly, almost all research on social perception has studied how we process the actions of individuals. In my talk, I will address this gap by scaling up research on social perception from one to many. More specifically, I will discuss behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI, TMS, and EEG) studies showing that in situations with multiple agents, we simultaneously track the different agents’ actions not only in visual but also in motor areas of the brain. Building from this, I will then discuss what happens if the actions performed by these agents are actions that we cannot simultaneously execute and will end by discussing if, in addition to the agents’ actions, we also represent the relationships between their actions. Together, this research provides important new insights into how the brain is able to deal with the vast complexity of social life with seemingly no effort.

Beyond these awards, ESCAN would like to confer a ‘Commendation Award for Open Science’ to Dr. Lei Zhang for his commitment to advance Open Science tools in the field of social, cognitive and affective neurosciences.

The ESCAN Young Investigator Award honours early achievements of scientists working in the area of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and is meant to promote further ascendance of a research star. Scientific excellence should be represented in high-impact publications. The award is intended to first and foremost celebrate the innovative, robust, and substantial scientific contributions of the applicant. Beyond the outstanding scientific contributions, we also consider overall achievements of the applicants and contributions to the wider community, in terms of adopting Open Science practices, esteem, outreach and visibility.

The award includes a honorarium in the amount of 1000 Euro and provides resources to fund travel to the biennial ESCAN meeting (max. 500 Euro). The 2022 award recipient is expected to attend the upcoming meeting from 19th to 22nd of July 2022 in Vienna, Austria, and to deliver an award talk.

Eligible are researchers with a PhD awarded not longer than 5 years ago on the basis of the PhD award date (plus one year per child and/or plus maternal or paternal leave) whose research falls within the scope of the society’s key focus. Candidates must be active members of ESCAN. Self-nomination is possible.

Applications will be evaluated in terms of the candidate’s:

  1. Scientific Contributions (70%)
    based on the novel, robust, and transformational nature of the candidate’s research output. The research is expected to contribute to the credibility of the field and to adopt Open Science practices (for example, studies are pre-registered, findings are replicated, data and scripts are made available, and/or findings are published as preprints). 
  2. Scientific Achievements (20%)
    based on theoretical contribution, evidence of research independence, service to the scientific community (peer-review, editorship, open science contributions) and grant capture.
  3. Esteem, outreach, and visibility (10%)
    based on past awards, international invited talks, keynotes, participation in international symposia, public engagement, media coverage.

Documents to be submitted

  1. A maximum 2-page document explaining the key scientific achievements of the candidate. Emphasis should be given on how these achievements map onto specific research articles of the candidate. This document can be written/signed by the nominator or the applicant herself/himself in case of self-nomination.
  2. CV (maximum 2 pages) to cover education, employment, awards, international invited talks, keynotes, participation in international symposia, contributions to Open Science, public engagement, service to the scientific community, media coverage, engagement with non-academic audiences or any other information the candidate deems necessary.
  3. Publication list, including citations as provided by Scopus (excluding self-citations), and H index. The applicant should highlight the publications for which the PhD supervisor is not included in the authors’ list.
  4. Copies of the candidate’s three most important peer-reviewed papers.

Please submit all documents in the aforementioned order, as ONE single pdf file named after the surname of the candidate (e.g., “SURNAME.pdf”).

Deadline for submission: Monday 7th of March 2022, 23:59 CET

Award decision: Beginning of April 2022

Submission is closed.