Nine of the finest new science voices from across the country, including two from Swansea University, will battle to represent the UK in FameLab – the world’s foremost science communication competition.
Rebecca Ellis and Dr Elizabeth Evans from Swansea University will have just three minutes to win over the judges with their clarity, charisma and scientific content when they go head-to-head in the final round of the competition which is being held online next month.
The winner will win £2,000 and will go on to compete against 24 other countries in the FameLab International Final, to take place at Cheltenham Literature Festival in October.
Hosted by science journalist Greg Foot from BBC Radio 4’s The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?, the FameLab UK Final will be streamed live on Cheltenham Festivals YouTube Channel on Wednesday 3 June at 7pm as part of the Cheltenham Science Festival at Home. The judges are TV presenter Dallas Campbell, cyber-security expert Dr Jessica Barker and Cheltenham Science Festival’s Head of Programming Dr Marieke Navin.
Rebecca, a 28-year-old PhD student originally from Halifax, West Yorkshire, now living in Swansea, is researching care pathways for autistic children, and will deliver her three-minute talk at the final in the form of a poem.
She said: “I am very pleased to be representing both Swansea University and Wales at FameLab this year. I always learned best when my teachers were passionate and explained topics in a clear, informative and creative way. I want to emulate that and combine both the creative and the scientific parts of my personality by performing my presentation in the form of a poem. I enjoy performing, I like a challenge, and there's something very uplifting about seeing passionate people talk about their work.
“As an autistic individual myself, the idea that my research could help improve the lives of other autistic individuals and their families is exciting and worthy of sharing.”
Dr Elizabeth Evans, a teaching tutor in Swansea University’s engineering department, will use the final to discuss the topic of hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. On reaching the final, the 28-year-old from the north-west of England said: “I'm extremely honoured (if nervous!), to have reached the national final of FameLab along with Rebecca. I've been competing in the Swansea heats for several years so it's testament to how much I've learned from the experience that I'm finally going through to the nationals!"
FameLab was set up in 2005 by Cheltenham Festivals to find and nurture scientists and engineers with a flair for communicating with public audiences. Since then it has gone from strength to strength alongside a global partnership with The British Council. Competitions are now held in over 25 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.