FameLab Ireland

Thursday 13 April 2017 -
18:00 to 19:30
Free event – Pre-booking essential

FameLab is back! Held in more than 30 countries this year, the British Council and Cheltenham Festivals have teamed up again to bring FameLab to Ireland. Armed only with their wits and a few props, the top newest voices from the world of science and engineering across Ireland will deliver short 3-minute pieces on bizarre and pertinent science concepts – expect to hear anything from the physics behind Guinness to the power of placebo and the science of figs. Presentations will then be judged according to FameLab’s golden rule – the 3 Cs: content, clarity and charisma.

The FameLab Ireland final will be an unpredictable, enlightening and exciting way to encourage your curiosity and give you a snapshot into the world of science, engineering, maths and technology. As an audience member you will also be involved during the show, with the power to judge the contestants along with an esteemed panel of scientists, media professionals and public figures. The winner of the FameLab National Final will then go on to represent Ireland at the international FameLab final at the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2017.

This is your chance to witness the forefront of scientific research, amaze friends with surprising facts and interact with the people in Ireland responsible for tackling some of the biggest scientific issues in the world today.

The interval act will be talented stand-up scientist and musician Emer Maguire from Co. Tyrone. Emer won FameLab UK in 2015 and has since been spreading her science of love across the world.  

More about FameLab 

FameLab is an initiative of the Cheltenham Festival in the UK. The British Council has licence to deliver the competition in over 30 countries internationally. NASA has licence to deliver the competition in the USA. FameLab International is co-produced by Cheltenham Festivals and the British Council. In 2017, FameLab Ireland is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and is supported by Cpl Resources Plc and Henkel Ireland Limited. It is managed by the British Council Ireland in collaboration with Newstalk 106-108fm, NUI Galway, Science Gallery Dublin, University College Cork, the University of Limerick and the following research centres: APC Microbiome Institute, iCRAG, Infant, IPIC, MaREI and the Tyndall National Institute.

2017 ireland finalists 

1. Aaron Ridgeway – The Time Machine

Aaron is the former Media Ambassador for the Guinness Storehouse and his current role as a Beer Specialist means he continues to act on the world stage as a spokesperson for a global brand, delivering excitement and generating enthusiasm through a love for learning and teaching.  Aaron is known for his creative flair and for incorporating the fascinating science behind the ordinary every-day. He started as a mature student in an undergraduate degree in Chemical Science at UCD last year, where ultimately Aaron hopes to bring his passion for communicating science to a wider audience.

2. Marica Cassarino – Curiosity Didn't Really Kill the Cat

Italian Marica (who has a BSc in Cognitive Psychology and Psychobiology, and a MSc in Clinical Psychology) recently completed her PhD in Applied Psychology at UCC exploring which places in Ireland support better cognitive functioning in adult age. While there she developed a real love of Cork city. A member of the ACME lab (www.acmelab.science), Marica is interested in identifying environmental protective factors for healthy ageing. She loves good food, long walks, arguing with her partner Kamil and playing with their little boy Lorenzo.

3. Shane Browne – Beer's Law

Shane graduated in Biomedical Science at NUI Galway, with a focus on molecular biology; thereafter, he went on to gain experience in Academic Research and Clinical Research before being blessed with the opportunity to work in the domain of Genomics in Limerick. He is passionate about learning, self-improvement and philanthropy and cherishes comedy, competition, conversation, and cats. Try saying that five times fast!  

4. Deirdre Robertson – Ctrl-Alt-Delete: Unfreezing the Brain

Deirdre is a postdoctoral researcher in psychology in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. She investigates how our minds affect our bodies, often without awareness, and what this means for health. Before moving to Trinity, Deirdre spent a year working as a postdoctoral researcher in Columbia University in New York until the lack of Barry’s Tea there drove her home. She believes in the power of scientific research to inform policy and to make positive changes to people’s lives.

5. Patrick Ryan – For Fig's Sake

Pat started his career in science with an undergraduate degree from NUI Galway after which he did a short stint in industry. This role involved applied data analysis which prompted Pat to specialise in bioinformatics with a M.Sc. from DCU. Pat followed this up with a Ph.D  in genetics in Trinity College Dublin, working on gene expression in developing flowers. He is currently back in NUI Galway studying evolution in plant genes as a post-doctoral researcher.

6. William Knott – Raise a Glass

Dubliner Will completed a BSc in Applied Mathematical Sciences at DCU and studied Opera in DIT’s College of Music. He entered industry working in telecommunications, software security and digital media streaming. Over the years he’s been involved in the Maker community and arts including TOG and Nexus MakerSpaces, CoderDojo mentoring, Forma Biohacking, and performing and programming interactive sculptures for Cork festivals. He is currently Maker-in-Chief for Tyndall National Institute MakerSpace, building and designing prototypes and demonstration items as well as construction and presenting the MakerDojo project. 

7. Ana Panigassi – Yes, I Deliver

Ana is an obstetrician/gynaecologist who has specialised in maternal-foetal medicine. She is from Brazil, where she completed her Masters in First Trimester Screening. She was also in the Military Police, tutored medical students of all levels, and worked as a consultant. Now she is a Fellow at BioInnovate Ireland (NUI Galway), and Innovation in Healthcare is her new gig. In her spare time, Ana enjoys quizzes and watching too much TV. She makes her own pasta sauce and wants to be Nigella Lawson when she grows up.

8. Rob Cross – Black Magic: The Physics behind Guinness 

Having previously studied Applied Physics, Rob is currently studying History and Politics at the University of Limerick. He is interested in electoral systems and polling, and hopes to complete an MSc in Statistics in the future. Rob has loved science from a young age, and is also chairperson and speaking coach of UL Science Society. Aside from this Rob hosts his own radio show on ULFM and also writes poetry.

9. Ross Murphy – What Does It Mean to Be You? 

Ross is originally from Co. Louth and despite setting off his school's fire alarm in a chemistry experiment, he somehow managed to make it to Trinity College Dublin where he is in his 3rd year of his Biochemistry degree. He enjoys applying scientific knowledge to philosophical problems and questioning the world around us. In his spare time he enjoys reading, drawing and convincing people he could pull off a moustache. He speaks fluent Irish, passable French and enough Japanese to ask for directions.

10. Joanne Duffy – The Gene Genies

Joanne is an adoptive Galwegian on the cusp of completing her BSc in Microbiology, with grand plans for a PhD working on the recombinant expression of barnacle glue. She loves NASA, managed NUI Galway's first Science Fair and talks about science every week on the radio for her show Schrodinger's Chat on Flirt FM 101.3. Her idols are Tim Minchin because he’s a genius and Beyoncé because... well, she's Beyoncé.

MC & Judges 

We are delighted to announce this year's host as multi-award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, and founder of SCI:COM, Jonathan McCrea. He will be joined by our judging panel of: Sarita Johnston (Manager Female Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland), Dr Tim McCormac (Head of Research, Dundalk Institute of Technology) and Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin (Asst Professor, School of Mathematics & Statistics, UCD).