Swansea researcher in the Finals of FameLab
Dr Sarah Forbes-Robertson, a cancer researcher at Swansea University’s School of Medicine, has won the Wales heat of FameLab—the science world’s equivalent of Pop Idol.
To win, Sarah gave an initial three-minute talk to judges on the human genome, based on which she qualified along with 10 others for the next round. In the semi-final she handled questions on science and media and impressed audiences and the judges alike with her talk on limb development.
Sarah, 35, is a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Medicine's Human Cancer Studies Group. She works on cancer biology (particularly cancer of the thyroid and breast) at the molecular genetic level.
She said: "I am amazed that I am through to the finals. All the talks were of such high quality and they all deserved to win. I thoroughly enjoyed the day though. I really have a passion for my subject and I love coming up with new and fun ways to explain what I do. A lot of people think that to understand science you have to be really brainy, but I think it’s just a question of finding the right way to explain it.
"I am excited about attending the masterclass on science communication. It's an amazing opportunity to be trained to communicate on TV or radio. And of course I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to host my own Channel 4 show!"
Judges for the heat included Vivienne Parry, Science Journalist and TV Presenter, and Professor Sir Martin Evans, Director of the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University.
Sarah will face nine other finalists from Swansea, Newcastle, Edinburgh, London and Belfast on June 10, 2006, at Cheltenham. She will have to give a five-minute talk on a scientific topic to a live audience.
FameLab is a national competition to find the UK's best new talent in science communication. Finalists win a weekend masterclass in science communication. The overall winner gets the chance to appear on Channel 4 and a cash prize of £2000.