Feb 17 2016 Posted: 00:00 GMT

The National University of Ireland Galway, organised the first ever ‘FameLab’ heat held in Galway last week, with the sold out event being held in An Taibhdhearc in the city centre. FameLab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world, where talented presenters explain scientific concepts to a general audience, in just three minutes.

 The competition is open to scientists, mathematicians and engineers across Ireland working in industry, business, research, academia, education, public service or other sectors, including specialist post-primary science teachers and third-level students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

 Five of the ten presenters were researchers currently working at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland centre for research in medical devices, with academics, PhD students and undergraduates representing Marine Science, Applied Mathematics, Environmental Geochemistry, Pharmacology and Biotechnology from across the University also competing. Presentation titles from CÚRAM included the topics; ‘How does Gravity affect our bones?’, ‘Can Biomaterials Fix a Broken Heart?’, ‘Can Biomaterials be used to treat Back Pain?’, ‘Is being a Couch Potato in your DNA?’ and ‘Cells: The building blocks in the playground of life’.

 Commenting on the event, Dr Rachel Quinlan, one of the event organisers said “It’s great to see the wide range or research activities going on across the University and the enthusiasm with which the audience engaged with the topics. I would hope that this is the first of many more FameLab competition heats in Galway to come’. 

The winner of the event, Prof. Michel Destrade, Chair of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, and runner-up Dilip Thomas, PhD student in CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, will both go forward to the FameLab Ireland Final, to be held at the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday 7th April 2016.

 Prior to this, they will take part in a Communications Masterclass, run by some of the best science communicators in the world, to develop invaluable media and presentation skills and get the opportunity to network with scientists from many different scientific fields.

 “I would like to congratulate all ten of the presenters involved” said Prof Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, “communicating what we do in the laboratory to the general public is extremely important for us and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity for our researchers to do so in such an entertaining and engaging manner.’

 FameLab Galway was organised by the NUI Galway College of Science in conjunction with the British Council, Ireland. The event also featured the winning short films from the 2015 ReelLife Science schools video competition. MC on the night was Dr Iain McLaren and the panel of judges included Brendan Smith from the Insight Centre, Dr Miriam Haughton from the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway, Prof Donal Leech, Dean of Science, and Michelle Ni Chroinin from the Press & Information Office at NUI Galway.

FameLab Ireland 2015-16 is managed by the British Council in collaboration with Newstalk 106-108fm, NUI Galway, Science Gallery Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and the University of Limerick.  The initiative is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and is supported by Cpl Resources Plc and Henkel Ireland Limited.

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