The international FameLab competition as part of the Cheltenham Times Science Festival took place from 7-8 June. This year’s finals featured contestants from Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kazakhstan, Latvia/Estonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, UK, and Vietnam. With a total of 31 science communicators taking part from across the world, the 2017 competition was the largest to date!
Deirdre Robertson was Ireland's representative and competed in the second heat against Korea, Mauritius, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Vietnam, Uganda and Czech Republic. You can watch her brilliant performance at the FameLab semi-finals here (36 mins in) which outlines how psychologists have discovered that visual cues can help to remobilise those suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Although this is where Deirdre's FameLab journey ended, she has since been offered some interesting international opportunities – watch this space!
Deirdre is a psychologist who applies behavioural insights to policy and health. She is a research officer in the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland and an adjunct assistant professor in Trinity College Dublin. Before this, Deirdre spent a year working as a postdoctoral researcher in Columbia University in New York until her supply of Barry's Tea dwindled and she decided to move home. As part of her research Deirdre investigates how our minds affect our bodies, often without awareness, and what this means for health.
And as for the FameLab 2017 champion? Congratulations to South Africa's Tshiamo Legoale whose talk on phytomining got the 2017 vote. You can watch the FameLab final and see all nine finalists give it their all. And if you'd like to learn more about each finalist, take a look at these short interviews.