FameLab International Science Communication Competition

What is FameLab?

FameLab is an international science communication competition that challenges contestants between the ages of 21 and 35 to present a scientific concept/topic of their choice to the general public with clarity and charisma. Contestants have only three minutes to present their concept/topic, without slides and with only the props they are able to carry onto stage.

The competition is held in over 25 countries, including South Africa, and culminates in the winner of each country final participating in an international final at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham, UK in July 2017.

For more information about the competition, visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/about/famelab.

SKA SA Heat, Cape Town, 7 March 2017

SKA SA, in collaboration with the British Council, Jive Media and SAASTA, will host a FameLab heat in Cape Town on Tuesday, 7 March 2017.

The heat is open to tertiary education students and young professionals studying or working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in South Africa. Presentations for this heat must communicate concepts/topics in astronomy, big data, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, space sciences, or any other SKA-related field.

Science Communication Training

A science communication training session in preparation for the heat will be held in Cape Town on Friday, 24 February 2017. Places are limited, so apply now! Return transport to both the training and heat will be provided from/to central points on CPUT/UCT/UWC/US campuses and the SKA SA offices in Pinelands.

Participating in the FameLab training and/or heat is a great way to develop and perfect that three-minute elevator speech about your research or work in STEM.


There are loads of prizes up for grabs, but (are you ready?), the winner of the SKA SA heat will win a trip to Mauritius in August 2017, to participate in a SKA SA Science Communication Workshop and share their FameLab experience with tertiary students, content specialists and science communicators from Africa.

Enter now!

Apply to participate in the science communication training via email at anja@ska.ac.za. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 22 February 2017.

Enter the SKA SA FameLab heat by registering online (select the Square Kilometre Array [SKA] heat from the drop-down menu). The closing date for applications is Sunday, 5 March 2017.

But wait, there’s more!

Video Entries

SKA SA will accept video entries from SKA SA interns, Young Professionals and staff in Klerefontein and Rosebank; SKA SA bursary students outside Cape Town; and postgraduate students outside of Cape Town working on research directly related to astronomy and/or the SKA. Three participants will be selected and brought to Cape Town to participate in the heat on Tuesday, 7 March 2017.

Upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo or another video hosting site and copy the link. You do not have to list the video as ‘public’, you may upload it as ‘hidden’ or ‘private’, if you prefer. Then send an email to anja@ska.ac.za to tell us about yourself, your chosen topic and why you should be selected, and paste the link to your submission in your email (videos attached to an email will be deleted). Please use the subject “FameLab Video Entry”.

The closing date for video entries is Monday, 27 February 2017.

Videos should:

  • be no longer than three minutes (content will not be judged after this time limit)
  • contain no editing or special effects
  • have no background music (unless this is what you are talking about)
  • not involve other people or excessive props (follow the guideline ‘props they can carry on stage’).

We are not assessing video/filming quality, we simply need to be able to hear and see you clearly, so feel free to submit entries filmed on a smartphone or camera.

Nozipho Gumbi, 2016 FameLab South Africa winner, at the 2016 Famelab International Final held during the 2016 The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham, UK.


Additional information about the SKA SA heat is available from anja@ska.ac.za.