Famelab 2014: a talent-show for science communicators

FameLab aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who inspire people to see the world from a new perspective… in just three minutes. If you think you can explain a concept in science, mathematics or engineering in just three minutes using only the props you can carry on stage with you, then enter the FameLab competition. Each presentation will be judged according to the golden rule of the 3Cs: Content, Clarity and Charisma.

Communicating science accessibly and attractively is an ever-growing priority for researchers worldwide. FameLab helps young scientists acquire valuable skills to communicate their work accessibly and attractively to a non-scientific audience. By doing so researchers do not merely 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 research.

Since its birth at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab® has grown into arguably the world’s leading science communication competition. A partnership with the British Council since 2007 has seen the competition go global with more than 5000 young scientists and engineers participating in over 21 different countries. Cheltenham Festivals and the British Council co-produce together the FameLab International Final held at the Cheltenham Science Festival each June. At the international final scientists from across Europe, Asia and Africa compete to see who is the most exciting, accessible and charismatic science communicator. Before going to Cheltenham they have already proved their scientific prowess and earned their crowns as national winners in their own countries.

The Italian edition is organized by Psiquadro-Perugia Science Fest in partnership with the British Council Italia. The contest is divided into a first phase of local selection and a national final in Perugia. The FameLab selection of Naples will be held on March 16, 2014, at 11 a.m. in the Galilei 104 Theatre at Città della Scienza. It is organized by Le Nuvole, Fondazione IDIS-Città della Scienza, Interdipartimental Center of Research on Biomaterials -University of Naples “Federico II”, Il Torchio, CRS4 of Sardinia-Cagliari, Linguaggio Macchina-Cagliari, Spazio per Tempo-Cagliari, Kismet Opera-Bari.

Through the local selections, the 14 finalists (2 for each city) will be chosen to participate at the FameLab Masterclass, a training workshop on science communication, and at the national final scheduled for May 3, 2014 in Perugia. The winner will take part in the international final of FameLab International, with other 23 competitors of as many countries from all over the world in Cheltenham, UK, during the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2014.


To enter FameLab you must be:

  • Over 21 years old and less than 40 (definition of the “young researcher” adopted by the European Commission)

We welcome:

  • Lecturers and researchers in science, engineering or mathematics subjects, including specialist science teachers with a science degree.
  • People who work on applying science, engineering technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry)
  • University students of science, mathematics or engineering (21 or over)
  • People who apply science, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies
  • People who apply science, engineering or mathematics in industry or business

However, we can’t accept people who are already working professionally in public engagement with science, including:

  • Press or PR officers, even for science-related organisations
  • Artists who work on science-related themes
  • Performers whose shows are about science or engineering
  • Science centre staff who work exclusively or mainly with the public
  • Journalists and broadcasters (as their main or only job)
  • Non-specialist teachers

Content: The content of the presentations MUST be scientifically accurate. If the topic chosen has controversy or uncertainty around it, then the presentation must acknowledge the opposing views. The scientific topic presented should be well chosen to suit the audience.

Clarity: Clarity is critical for effective science communication. The structure of the talk is important; as well as making sure the audience and judges can follow the talk and are left with an understanding of the scientific concept chosen.

Charisma: The audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The presenter must have that hard-to-describe but unmistakable quality of charisma. The winner will clearly be the one who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting, who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it.

You can chose to present either in Italian or in English. The international final will be in English.

To participate, please fill and send us the form below (in Italian and in English) to napoli@famelab-italy.it. Entries must be received by March 7, 2014.

The local selection (Naples – March 16, 2014):

  • You will be given a maximum of 3 minutes in which to impress the judges. They are looking for exciting and engaging talks (in Italian or in English) that can be understood by a general public adult audience. Minimal props are allowed but there is no set up time or assistance. Power Point presentations are not permitted.(If you want to be inspired by successful Famelab presentations, you can watch the Youtube Famelab Channel videos).
  • Prepare two 3-minute presentations for the Heat – one for the first audition, and another for the final of the day when the finalists will be selected from the shortlisted group. Subject can be the same, but presentation must differ.
  • You can present either in Italian or in English
  • A public audience will be present.
  • The judges will be able to question you after each presentation and will also give you feedback where possible.
  • If you want to submit a video please read the instructions
  • The 2 finalists go through to a MASTERCLASS and then go to the FINAL.
  • At the national final you will be asked to give a third 3 minute presentation on a science topic that is different from previous auditions.
  • An audience will be present and vote for the audience prize.

We have prepared a special page for you with hints on how to prepare for the competition.


The 1st and 2nd winners of the local selections will receive a prize money of € 400.00 and € 200.00 respectively. The 1st place winner of the national selection will take part in the international final and will win a cash prize of € 1,000.00.

lenuvole@cittadellascienza.itnapoli@famelab-italy.it • tel. +39 081-2428518


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