News Release

Rewarding excellence in Open Science

This year’s prize winners improve collaboration, aid data sharing and facilitate progress

Grant and Award Announcement

McGill University

The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes

image: The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes view more 

Credit: The Neuro

Several promising Open Science initiatives will receive critical support thanks to The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes. The prizes recognize projects, services, tools, and platforms that unlock the power of Open Science in neuroscience to advance research, innovation, and collaboration for the benefit of health and society. The 2022 winners have shown leadership and ingenuity in providing tools and resources to other scientists that aid in data sharing and collaboration.

International Prize - $80,000

Nick Halper, Megan Peters, Kathryn Bonnen, Patrick Mineault, Anne Urai - Neuromatch

Neuromatch is an online community of computational neuroscientists whose mission is to foster inclusive global interactions for learning, mentorship, networking, and professional development. Made up of both the Neuromatch Academy and Neuromatch Conference, the project provides open access educational resources and infrastructure to enable thousands of underrepresented scientists to break through barriers in their career paths.

Many scientists around the world cannot participate in scientific discourse due to barriers in financing, education, and closed networks among well-funded labs. Neuromatch reduces or removes these barriers by providing always-affordable, pay-what-you-can education, networking, and scientific communication opportunities. Through Neuromatch programs, new researchers can create a network of loose and strong ties, receive specialized and multidisciplinary scientific training, get experience in presenting scientific research, and be given the tools and experience to function as both collaborative and independent researchers.

Together, the Academy and Conference has served 20,000 participants from 105 different countries. The popularity of their programs is shown in their YouTube channels which have more than 10,000 subscribers and 68,000 hours of watch time. Courses at Stanford University, Harvard University, Queen’s University and others are using Neuromatch materials.

International Trainee Prize - $10,000

Justine Hansen - receptor atlas and neuromaps

Only three years into her PhD in the lab of Bratislav Misic at The Neuro, Justine Hansen has already spearheaded two promising Open Science projects, which have opened new avenues regarding the organization of the human brain.

The current lack of open, whole-brain receptor distribution data prevents the study of how multiple neurotransmitter systems relate to brain function. To overcome this, Hansen compiled PET data from 1,238 healthy individuals to construct a whole-brain atlas of 19 receptors and transporters. She and an international team of researchers then mapped this receptor atlas to brain structure and function and published the results on bioRxiv which has been cited 25 times so far. She also made the data openly available on github.

Her second project, neuromaps, is a collaboration with researchers from The Neuro, the University of Pennsylvania, the Douglas Research Centre and the National Institute of Mental Health. It brings together more than forty existing brain maps in one place to help scientists find correlations between patterns across different brain regions, spatial scales, modalities and brain functions. It provides a standardized space to view each map in comparison to each other, and assesses the statistical significance of these comparisons, to help researchers distinguish meaningful correlations. This compiled dataset was made publicly available, as well as the software required to replicate these analyses. Since publishing neuromaps in Nature Methods the paper has been downloaded more than 2,100 times and its Twitter thread shared more than 100 times.

Canadian Trainee Prize - $5,000

Agah Karakuzu - qMRI-BIDS, qMRLab, VENUS and NeuroLibre

As a PhD candidate in the lab of Nikola Stikov at Montreal’s École Polytechnique, Agah Karakuzu has helped develop four Open Science applications in brain imaging. The first, qMRI-BIDS, brings FAIR principles to quantitative MRI data. By keeping track of how the data were produced, qMRI-BIDS improves reproducibility and allows independent labs to reuse the data. Currently qMRI-BIDS provides open access to thousands of scientists around the globe for incorporating qMRI into their research.

qMRLab is an open-source toolbox for data simulation, analysis, and visualization to create the central component of a transparent qMRI workflow.

VENUS is software that provides a workflow to process MRI data that can be shared openly regardless of the machine manufacturer. Karakuzu has received more than 13 invitations to present VENUS to researchers in various disciplines, two of them being keynotes.

The last project, NeuroLibre, is a powerful preprint server for reproducible Jupyter notebooks for neuroscience that seamlessly integrates data, code, runtime, text and figures. Upon acceptance, notebooks can be freely modified and re-executed through the web by anyone, offering a fully reproducible, “libre” path from data to figures.

Open Science Prize Ceremony + Networking event

This year, The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes will be awarded in-person at the Open Science in Action Symposium on Nov. 30, 2022. Networking reception will follow the awardee presentations. To register, click here.


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