Didac Carmona from Austria announced as top international science communication star at FameLab International Grand Final

A biochemist, born in Spain and researching in Austria has won FameLab International 2012, the international competition to find the top new science communicator for the 21st century.

Didac had just three minutes to pitch a complex scientific idea, to the panel of judges, which included Professor of Sciences and Society at the University of Bristol and co-director of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, Kathy Sykes, Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group, Roger Highfield and British comedian, writer and actor Marcus Brigstocke. Each assessed the finalists’ presentations on three qualities: content, clarity and charisma. The event took place at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.

Having beaten off stiff competition in the Austrian finals, Didac battled it out with nineteen other budding communicators from across the world to win the coveted prize. During the final, Didac impressed the panel and captivated the audience with his pitch on programmed cell death. His talk included suicidal cells shooting, stabbing and exploding themselves all for the good of the organism.

Across 19 countries, thousands of engaging scientists, engineers and mathematicians have been competing to make it to the FameLab International Grand Final hosted by Quentin Cooper, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Material World. The 19 finalists took to the stage in two semi finals and the grand final to convey the wonder and relevance of a chosen scientific specialism in just three minutes.

For his three minutes on the perilous journey of the sperm, Ioannis Karypides of Cyprus was awarded one of two runner-up prizes, the second going to Poland’s Monika Koperska who explained why paper might be the best way to store information. Monika also received the audience vote prize.

For the first time this year there was also be a very special prize awarded by panels from around the world who were watching the final online. The Online award was won by the UK’s Andrew Steele who told us how we could impress our cinema date with an explanation of how 3D films work.

FameLab aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who can inspire people to see the world from a new perspective. The competition is the brainchild of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. Since its birth at Cheltenham Science Festival in 2004, FameLab® has grown into arguably the world’s leading science communication competition. A partnership with the British Council since 2007 has seen the competition go global and this year’s International Final featured the winners from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, UK and USA.

View photos from the event here.