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Who will be Ireland’s new face of science in 2019?

Posted on: 09 Apr 2019

Who will be Ireland’s new face of science in 2019?

Ten of the best new science communicators from around Ireland, including two from Tyndall are heading to the Science Gallery Dublin on 11 April for the seventh FameLab Ireland National Finals. The prestigious competition aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who inspire people to see the world from a new perspective.

Luiza Wasiewska and Andrea Pacheco from Tyndall, along with the eight other finalists, beat off competition from over 120 other contestants through FameLab regional heats in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, as well as a nationwide FameLab video competition.

Luiza Wasiewska

All entrants took part in a taster sci-comms training session and the lucky top 10 benefited from a prestigious master class weekend with BBC producer/public communication skills trainer, Malcolm Love and TV/radio broadcaster, Jonathan McCrea.

Each finalist will deliver a 3 minute talk on their chosen topic. Expect to hear anything from the use of light to check the lungs of premature babies to detecting clots with 3D printing and bovine blood and, is the drastic rise in short-sightedness down to our smartphones! Every presentation will be judged by a prestigious panel of experts according to the golden rule of the 3 Cs: content, clarity and charisma. The winner will then go on to represent Ireland in the International Finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK.

Andrea Pacheco

Communicating science accessibly and attractively is an ever-growing priority for researchers and others working in and studying science worldwide. Organised by the British Council Ireland and funded through the Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme, FameLab helps emerging scientists acquire valuable skills to communicate their work to a non-scientific audience. By doing so, they not only change the common stereotype of the scientist as “the geek in the white lab coat busy doing strange things”, but also justify public funding for their work.

“FameLab aims to inspire, motivate and enable scientists and engineers to share their expertise, insight and knowledge. It is an exciting opportunity for budding science communicators and we know that all who take part in the FameLab programme as participants or audiences are enriched by the experience. FameLab, like all our work in Ireland, strengthens links and collaborations between Ireland, the UK and the rest of the world and we are very proud of its impact over the past 7 years”, Mags Walsh, Director, British Council Ireland.

Luiza Wasiewska and Andrea Pacheco. Photo by Mark Stedman 

Commenting on FameLab Ireland, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications, Science Foundation Ireland, said “Congratulations to all this year’s FameLab participants on their dedication to creating and delivering fantastic presentations. Science Foundation Ireland, through the SFI Discover Programme, aims to encourage more people to engage with STEM. FameLab helps realise that aim by offering participants the opportunity to gain vital skills in communicating what can be complex research topics in an engaging way, inspiring others to join the conversation”.

The FameLab Ireland final will take place at the Science Gallery Dublin on Thursday 11 April at 6pm. Tickets are free and can be reserved at https://dublin.sciencegallery.com/events/2019/03/FameLabirelandfinal
The event will be live streamed and you can watch from 6pm on Thursday 11 April at: https://www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilIreland/. After the event, it will be available to watch on YouTube.

The FameLab Ireland final is hosted by TV and radio broadcaster and founder of SCI:COM, Jonathan McCrea. The judging panel is: Niamh Shaw (Engineer, Scientist, Performer), Peter Brown (Director, Irish Research Council) and Shay Walsh (Managing Director, BT Ireland). The interval act is writer and poet, Dan Simpson.