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​Hunt on for Northern Ireland’s Next Science Star

05/10/15

First round applications now open for FameLab 2016

The science communication competition, FameLab Northern Ireland, returns for 2016 and is on the lookout for Northern Ireland’s next science star.

Have you read an article about science in a newspaper recently? Or seen an engineering expert interviewed on TV? That could be you! FameLab, a cross between the X Factor and TED talks, aims to find scientists or engineers who can entertain audiences by breaking down science, technology or engineering concepts into just three minutes.

Organised by the British Council in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Science Festival and Cheltenham Festival, FameLab is a global communication competition which is held annually in over 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. Globally, more than 4000 individuals studying or working in STEM have taken part and the result is a vibrant network of exciting scientists and engineers engaging international audiences, as well as engaging with each other.

Entering FameLab is simple. Choose your topic, which can be anything from why men have nipples to how 3D glasses work, record a short three-minute piece (on your phone will do) and upload the video to YouTube. Presentations will then be judged according to FameLab’s golden rule – the 3 Cs: Content, Clarity and Charisma.

These submissions will then be whittled down to just 10 who will compete to be crowned the winner of FameLab Northern Ireland at the Black Box, Belfast on February 24, 2016, with the winner qualifying for the UK Final.

2015 was the first year of the competition in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Science Festival and was won by Emer Maguire, a Clinical Anatomy Masters student at Queen's University Belfast. She went on to win FameLab UK and reached the International finals, with talks based on the science of flirting and why we kiss.

She now hopes to carve out a career in science communication and would encourage anyone even remotely interested to enter.

She said: “FameLab has helped me see that a career in science communication is actually a viable option and something I would love to pursue. I’ve met some really wonderful and inspirational people through the competition, and have taken part in numerous science festivals – with a talk coming up at the first ever TEDxOmagh event in November. Life’s incredibly busy at the moment, and it’s all thanks to FameLab!

“I didn’t think when I entered last year that I had a chance of winning, and if I can do it, anyone can!”

Also speaking about the competition was Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director, British Council Northern Ireland.

He said: “By entering FameLab, budding science communicators not only have the chance of progressing through to the international finals but will also have the opportunity to take part in a range of professional development opportunities and join an international network of like-minded scientists from across the world.

“FameLab is a truly international competition, opening up new doors and career opportunities which can all start with a three minute presentation in the Black Box.”

If you feel you’re up to the challenge, submit your video to YouTube and email the link along with the application form to famelab_ni@britishcouncil.org. The application, along with full terms and conditions, can be found at nireland.britishcouncil.org. Deadline for applications is midnight, Monday, December 14 2015.

Entrants must be 21 years or over and working or studying in the fields of science, engineering or maths.

For more information on British Council Northern Ireland or FameLab, visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org, follow on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI or Facebook: www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland.