FameLab is a communications competition designed to engage and entertain by breaking down science, technology and engineering concepts into three minute presentations. Contestants from around the world take part armed only with their wits and a few props that they can carry onto stage – the result is an unpredictable, enlightening and exciting way to encourage your curiosity and find out about the latest research.
FameLab was started in 2005 in the UK by Cheltenham Science Festival and has quickly become established as a diamond model for successfully identifying, training and mentoring scientists and engineers to share their enthusiasm for their subjects with the public.
Working in partnership with the British Council this global competition has already seen more than 7500 young scientists and engineers participating in over 30 different countries. NASA has license to deliver the competition in the USA in the field of planetary sciences.
“Following 20 heats, 8 regional finals and 2 video rounds, on 22 April our 10 FameLab UK finalists from all over the UK met in London to battle for the title of FameLab UK Champion 2015.
Keen to take home a prize of £1750 to further their careers in science communication as well as the chance to move on to the FameLab International Finals at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in June, in this 10th edition of the competition our finalists presented scientific insights from the fields of physics, pharmacology, biology, medicine, engineering, computer science and chemistry in only 3 minutes and faced our judges for a thrilling question round to test their knowledge.
Speech and language therapist Emer Maguire represented Northern Ireland at the UK Final and won the favour of our judges and audience with her talk about the ‘Science of Love’. Emer went on to represent the UK in the FameLab International Final
Together Cheltenham Festivals and the British Council co-produce the FameLab International Final held at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival each June. The 2015 FameLab International Final features the national winners of FameLab competitions held in over 25 countries across four continents.
The 2015 edition of FameLab International saw competitors from Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Vietnam as well as a candidate representing CERN to compete for the title of FameLab International Champion 2015.
For the first time in FameLab history The Times Cheltenham Science Festival hosted three international semi-finals, shortlisting nine of the 27 candidates to go on to compete in the Grand Final on the following day. Click on the links below to watch all three semi-finals again:
At the FameLab International Final on 4 June 2015, 9 finalists presented their 3-minute talks in front of a packed Science Festival audience, with thousands more watching online. In the end, Oskari Vinko from Finland, who is currently studying for an MSc in synthetic biology in Switzerland, was crowned winner. Oskari’s winning talk was a call to arms highlighting the ongoing threat of malaria. Dr Gill Samuels, who was chairing the judging panel on the night, said Oskari was chosen as the winner as he “reminded us of a significant world problem”.
The two runners-up of the competition were François-Xavier Joly, a PhD student at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Montpellier, who spoke about the important role of millipedes in the process of decomposition in the natural world, and Norwegian experimental particle physicist Lillian Smestad, representing CERN, who described what happens when you fall into a black hole.
Visit the FameLab YouTube channel to watch the FameLab International Final again.
For more information about FameLab International visit the British Council’s website, our Facebook page or contact Tim Slingsby.