Did you think scientists couldn’t have fun? Think again – you may have been looking in all the wrong places.


February sees the international FameLab competition getting underway for the first time in South Africa. FameLab 2013 Competition is open to scientists, mathematicians, engineers or technologists studying or working in South Africa and who are between 21-35 years of age.

Hailed as “Pop idols for scientists” the competition originated at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005 and has spread like wildfire to include 25 countries. Contestants have 3 minutes to explain a science concept using only what they can carry onto the stage with them – and no PowerPoint!

The competition kicks off with regional heats and regional semi-finals around the country. Finalists win great prises and attend the FameLab master class before competing in the national final at Scifest Africa in Grahamstown on the 15th of March. The winner of the national competition walks away with a R10 000 grand prize and an all expenses paid trip to represent South Africa in the international final at Cheltenham in the UK.

The aim behind the competition is to encourage young scientists to talk about their work – improving their communication skills to public (or non-science) audience – critically important where science and technology impacts on the whole of society. The competition also seeks out new spokespeople for science – to inspire a new generation of scientists and challenge public perceptions about what it means to be a scientist.

If you are a scientist, mathematician, engineer or technologist either studying or working in South Africa and in the age range 21-35, then FameLab is for you. Registrations are already open and the competition is attracting researchers, academics, and young professionals who are eager to share their science with the world.

Participants can register online, and then come with their 3 minute talk to one of the regional heats. The heats take place in Johannesburg (21st Feb at SciBono Discovery centre), Durban (26th of February at The KZN Science Centre) and in CapeTown (28th of Feb at the CapeTown Science Centre). If you can’t make one of the regional heats you can also enter by uploading a video to the FameLab site before the 15th of February.

For registration forms, more information and tips on how to impress the judges visit www.britishcouncil.org.za/famelab

The competition is an initiative of Cheltenham Festivals. It is run in South Africa by the British Council and independent science communication agency Jive Media Africa with the kind support of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA).


Remo Chipatiso
Head: Partnerships and Projects Team, British Council
remo.chipatiso@britishcouncil.org, Tel: +27 (0)82 809 9989

Robert Inglis
Director, Jive Media Africa, robert@jivemedia.co.za
Tel: +27 (0)84 357 7333

More information:
FameLab international: www.famelab.org
FameLab South Africa: www.britishcouncil.org.za/famelab

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