The finalists have been selected by FameLab Malta to compete in the national finals to be held on 17th May 2013 at 8.30pm at the Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Malta is participating for the first time in FameLab, an international competition spanning over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and USA in the search for the next top science communicator.
Twenty-three candidates, who took up the FameLab Malta preliminary challenge, were auditioned at St James Cavalier, Valletta. These included Maltese students and researchers from the University of Malta and industry, in particular pharmaceutical companies.
The topics of their presentations were diverse. These ranged from brain research studying stroke to molecules that light up when they detect certain chemicals like sugar. One participant even performed a 3-minute theatre performance based on the porphyria disease that afflicted aristocracy.
Ecologist Dr Sandro Lanfranco, writer Malcolm Galea and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Dr Ing. John C. Betts formed the panel of judges. The contestants were assessed on three main qualities: scientific content and accuracy, clarity of delivery, and charisma. The standard of all the presentations was exceptionally high and it took the judges over an hour of deliberation to pick the finalists.
They are: Claude Bajada, Anthony Debono, Sarah Dimech, Owen Falzon, Kristina Farrugia, Estelle Fenech Imbroll, Alexander Hili, Denise Hili, Gabriella Mifsud, Michelle Muscat and Faisal Sadegh.
Malcolm Love, a media and communications professional from FameLab UK and who has worked with the BBC will be training the finalists to improve their skills in communicating science during a weekend masterclass on the 27 and 28 April. They will also learn how to tackle radio, TV and print media interviews, and further refine their own presentations for the final contest in May.
At the FameLab Malta finals, each competitor will present a three-minute original and attention grabbing talk that everyone can enjoy. The public is invited to this entertaining and interesting evening on the 17th May at the Teatru Manoel. The event starts at 8.30pm. Entrance is free.
The winner of the Malta final will represent Malta in the Cheltenham Science Festival on the 4 to 9 June 2013, all expenses paid.
FameLab was set up in 2005 by Cheltenham Festivals to find and nurture scientists and engineers with a flair for communicating with public audiences. Since 2007, thanks to a partnership with the British Council, FameLab has gone global, with competitions now held in more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States.
The first FameLab Malta competition is being organised in partnership with the British Council, University of Malta, Research Innovation and Development Trust (RIDT), and with the support of Actavis, Microsoft Innovation Centre, Vodafone, Teatru Manoel, Malta Chamber of Scientists and St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity.
The FameLab Malta initiative is in line with the University’s Trust, RIDT, highlighting the value and usefulness of science and research. RIDT drives to support research activity and to seek additional funds to expand the University’s research studies.