Trivandrum : The British Council, in association with University of Kerala and Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) today hosted the South India Finals of the world’s largest science communications competition, FameLab. The competition saw 30 participants from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka region, face off as they presented innovative science ideas in less than three minutes each. Prabahan Chakraborty, pursuing PhD in neuroscience from NCBS Bangalore won the first prize. While Rini Sharon, a research scholar at IIT Madras and Gayathri Sankar, an MSc in Chemistry from MG College affiliated to University of Kerala won the second and third prizes respectively. The winners from the South India Finals will compete at the India Finals scheduled to be held at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune in January 2017.
The South India finals had top participants from IIT-Madras; University of Kerala; Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli; National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore and Manipal University, Karnataka among others. Before the competition, the finalists attended an exclusive masterclass on science communications from eminent science communicator Prof. Iain Stewart from Plymouth University, UK. The training focused on honing a life-skill that would help STEM workers reach new audiences with science. Putting their learning to use, the teams showcased the exciting side of science with improved communications and presentation skills and joined an international alumni network.
Speaking at the event, Mei-kwei Barker, Director, British Council South India, said, “This is the first time that FameLab has an India leg and the response has been overwhelming. It was wonderful to see youngsters present complex scientific concepts. We hope more and more participants will make use of this global platforms and take this opportunity to further their skills.”
Dr Suresh Das, Executive Vice President of Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) and Principal Secretary S & T Department said: "Congratulations to all the winners. KSCSTE is very happy to be associated with this exciting event."
FameLab works towards encouraging scientists to inspire and excite the public’s imagination with a vision of science in the 21st century. The competition will provide a platform for researchers to put forth their ideas to the public in an interesting manner; enhance their communication and presentation skills; and engage with like-minded individuals and alumni network besides. Shortlisted applicants from each region will get an opportunity to attend a fully funded science communication workshop jointly delivered by UK and Indian trainers in each region. The FameLab finalists will also get an opportunity to attend a science communication masterclass lead by the best UK trainers.
Cheltenham Festivals began FameLab in the UK in 2005 but, with British Council involvement since 2007, the programme is now truly international, taking place in 27 countries in 2016. National FameLab programmes currently run in Australia, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam.
There is growing, unprecedented global FameLab network of 5000 multi-disciplinary, multi-national, early-career researchers, connected with research, industry and education networks, that are helping to address the issues of diversity and mobility (including social mobility) to support the future growth of the STEM pipeline and the wider social economic benefit this delivers. More than 200 local partners including ministries of education, ministries of science, universities, science foundations and academies already support FameLab, underlining its importance to science communication across the world.
The UK is the world leader in the area of science communication – there are academic programmes in the field and a number of annual, exciting science festivals. Science Communication is a recognised profession and the UK’s experience in science communication has changed the way the media report on scientific topics.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.
We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.