July 2015
Contents / home
Special award for Limpopo learner
National Science Olympiad Awards
Youth Science Focus Week
Showing career opportunities to girls
Africa Code Week
FameLab International Competition
My FameLab experience
Debates winners off to New York
Finding solutions to energy problems
Centenary of Proxima Centauri
Meet SAASTA's Gao Tiro
Refocusing our lens on our youth
Science on a research vessel
Partnership to conserve water
Managing freshwater resources
Rhodes and SAIAB promote science
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

Young scientists talk science on a global stage

What results when 27 passionate young scientists are brought together for an international science communication competition?

"The opportunity to inspire and be inspired," says Stevie Biffen, the South African representative in the FameLab International Competition. This exciting event took place at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom on 3 and 4 June 2015.

The winners of 26 countries' national competitions battled it out at the 2015 FameLab International Competition.
South Africa's winner, Stevie Biffen, is in the front row, fourth from left.

Young voices for science

The competition brought together the cream of the crop in young science communication talent, with the winners of 26 countries' national competitions and a representative of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The young voices for science wowed audiences at the semi-finals and a packed final.

Biffen, an MSc(Med) student in Neuroscience at the University of Cape Town, was selected to represent South Africa in the international competition through her success in the FameLab South Africa finals at SciFest Africa in March this year. Her lively and animated style of public speaking and her message in "the science of happiness" gave her an opportunity for a prized international experience, engaging with a multi-cultural, multi-disciplined and multi-talented group of young scientists.

She says FameLab gave her the courage to communicate with the public and the bravery to share her passion for science. "FameLab has given me wonderful memories, introduced me to prolific people and has simply inspired me."

And the winner was ...

This year's overall winner was charismatic Oskari Vinko, representing Switzerland, whose theatrical talk highlighted the ongoing threat of malaria. He took on the character of a murderous malaria parasite and explained how lack of access to effective anti-malarial drugs in sub-Saharan Africa is contributing to the rise of drug resistance.

FameLab is a competition based on the "flash talk" concept, which gives participants three minutes to present a scientific concept to a non-specialist audience in an accessible manner, with only a stage, a voice and a prop or two. In those three minutes, the audience should be inspired and learn something about the science being presented.

FameLab® is an initiative of the Cheltenham Festivals in the UK. The British Council has license to deliver the competition in 26 countries overseas, including South Africa. In South Africa, the British Council has partnered with SAASTA as the national sponsor, and Jive Media Africa to implement FameLab South Africa.

Learn more about FameLab

Videos from the 2015 international final can be viewed on the FameLab YouTube Channel. Information about FameLab South Africa can be found on SAASTA's website and the British Council website.

By Joanne Riley, SAASTA