Thank you to Sarah Lau for the post.
I recently had the honour of MCing the WA semi-final of FameLab 2016 at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle.
FameLab sees early career researchers share their research in a three minute presentation – using everything from props to poetry, but certainly no PowerPoint!
Beginning in 2005 at the Cheltenham Science Festival, FameLab has grown through a partnership with the British Council to include over 5000 researchers in more than 25 countries, becoming one of the leading international science communication competitions.
In WA, the 12 competitors spent the day leading into the semi-final in an intensive science communication workshop with leading science communicators and broadcasters (and ASC luminaries), including Frankie Lee, Renae Sayers and Kylie Sturgess.
The evening then lit up with the finalists showcasing a diversity of styles and topics to an appreciative audience.
The judging panel had the challenge of evaluating each presenter and presentation on ‘content, clarity and charisma’.
It was a tough call, but the winner of the WA semi-final was Mahmoud Bassal from The University of South Australia, with ‘The Cancer Conundrum’, about genetic and metabolic changes in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Mahmoud also took out the Audience Choice Award.
The runner–up was Toby Brown from ICRAR-University of Western Australia and Swinburne University, with ‘Chasing Shadows’, about how dark matter shapes our Universe.
Programs such as FameLab are important in promoting excellence in science communication and demonstrating the many benefits of communicating research in interesting and accessible ways.
On a personal level, it is a very rewarding experience to be part of a program which helps early career researchers build their communication skills to expand the reach and impact of their research.
If you are in WA this week, you can see some of Australia’s best and brightest early career researchers share their work at the national FameLab final at the WA Museum in Perth on 5 May 2016.