FameLab: Auditioning for the next ‘Pop Idols of Science’

The British Council, in partnership with Jive Media Africa and the South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), invite young professionals and enthusiastic researchers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to sign up for FameLab 2016.

FameLab is an international competition searching for 21 to 35 year olds working in or studying technology, engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, maths or any other scientific discipline. With over 25 participating countries, worldwide, it has been dubbed the ‘Pop Idols of Science’! The South African winner will go on to compete against their peers on an international stage in the UK.

It’s not just about Fame however; this comes at a time where understanding science and technology are essential to our health and wellbeing. Science should be useful and can only be so if the public is able to engage and understand. Unfortunately, scientific concepts and findings are not always communicated all too well to the public. This is what FameLab strives to address.

Contestants have three minutes to present a scientific topic to a panel of expert judges. The challenge is that presentations should be accurate and informative but also entertaining and original, all while making sure the public audience understands.

“FameLab will be won by a brilliant young scientist who can tell a story, inspire an audience, and prove that science is fun. Good science communication is vitally important in South Africa, not just for the talented scientists who want their work to be known, but also for those who can work with brilliant ideas to create solutions to real-world problems,” says Colm McGivern, Director of British Council South Africa.

“FameLab is not only a fantastic platform for developing science communication skills, it also provides young scientists with the opportunity to meet other passionate scientists from diverse disciplines and become part of a greater FameLab international network,” SAASTA, Science Editor, Joanne Riley.

Contestants will undergo training in science communication, preparing them to be the next science personality, ahead of auditions at the heats.

For those who cannot attend the auditions, the opportunity to submit a video entry can keep you in the game. For more information on how to enter, visit the British Council South Africa website. The deadline for video submissions is 31 January 2016.

The National finals will be on May 4th and are being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The specific dates for trainings and heats are as follows:

Institution Training Heat
Mintek (internal) 22 Jan 2016 12 Feb 2016
CSIR (internal) 28 Jan 2016 3 March 2016
Unisa 29 Jan 2016 (internal) 4 March 2016 (public)


2 Feb 2016 18 Feb 2016
UWC (SAASTA) (public) 3 Feb 2016 16 Feb 2016
SKA (internal) 4 Feb 2016 17 Feb 2016
Limpopo (SAASTA)


10 Feb 2016 11 Feb 2016
Fort Hare (SAASTA)


29 Feb 2016 1 March 2016

The winners of the National finals will compete at the International finals at The Times Cheltenham Festival in the UK in June 2016.



About the British Council:

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

For more information, please visit: http://www.britishcouncil.org.za/. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through https://twitter.com/zaBritish

About Jive Media Africa:

Jive Media Africa creates innovative, cutting edge communications; grabbing attention and conveying crucial messages in accessible ways.

An award-winning multi-media company, Jive Media Africa produces media strategies and products that challenge and inform, making a difference in the areas of Science and Technology (Jive Science), Biodiversity Conservation (Jive Earth), Children in the context of HIV/ AIDS (Jive Children) and Human Rights (Jive People).

Jive Media Africa strategises the best combination of media for the message, and importantly, for the target audience.

For more information, please visit http://jivemedia.co.za/. You can also follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JiveMediaAfrica


The South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) is a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF) with the mandate to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering, innovation and technology in South Africa.

SAASTA’s contribution to the NRF’s vision is to grow the pool of quality learners today who will become the scientists and innovators of tomorrow.

All science promotion or awareness programmes within the NRF reside under three key strategic areas that combine to form an integrated and seamless approach.

Through education we build up the supply of tomorrow’s scientists and innovators.

Through communication we celebrate South African achievements in science and technology and build the public’s appreciation of the benefits of science.

By growing the awareness of science through exploration, exhibitions and actual experience, we instil in people an enthusiasm about the wonder and application of the subject, while encouraging greater public engagement in SET issues.

By taking overall ownership of science advancement initiatives within the NRF and on a countrywide scale, SAASTA is responding to an organisational as well as national imperative.

For more information, please visit http://www.saasta.ac.za/.


Anisa Khan, British Council: Newton Fund and Higher Education Programme Manager

Tel: 011 560 9322 Cel: 082 783 8430 Email: Anisa.Khan@britishcouncil.org

Shavaughn Haack, British Counil: Communications Manager

Tel: 011 560 9348 Cel: 082 821 8967 Email: Shavaughn.Haack@britishcouncil.org

Robert Inglis, Jive Media Africa Director Tel: 033 342 9380/2 Cell:  084 357 7333 Email: robert@jivemedia.co.za

Joanne Riley, SAASTA, Science Editor: Science Communication Tel: 012 392 934 9 Email: joanne@saasta.ac.za

Issued by

Zamuxolo Matiwana
Media Coordinator
Email: zamuxolo@saasta.ac.za
Call: (0)12 392 9319