The world’s biggest science competition goes digital

The FameLab Australia semi-finals kicked off in Queensland, and was judged by Queensland Chief Scientist, Professor Paul Bertsch, Queensland Museum CEO, Dr Jim Thompson and British Council Director Australia, Helen Salmon via Zoom.

FameLab’s new digital-only format, allows you to hang out with the brightest minds in science from your living room.

With most of the world hanging at home for the foreseeable future, loads of iconic STEM brands have had to cancel or post-pone their IRL offerings. But in the last few weeks we’ve also seen some seriously cool tech-led innovation, with brands re-thinking the way that they deliver their physical experiences so that audiences don’t have to leave their living rooms.

Global science communication competition FameLab is the latest science contest to do the digital-only thing. Produced in Australia by the Foundation for the Western Australian Museum in partnership with the British Council, the comp finds and mentors young, early STEM career researchers, encouraging them to share their stories for the chance to win a cash prize and place at the FameLab International Final in the UK.

“FameLab puts young scientists centre stage to help us gain better understand on new discoveries and new technologies,” said British Council Director Australia Helen Salmon.

“Innovation, climate change, artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution are now central to public discourse, and science communication is key to helping us navigate this rapidly changing world.”

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They’ve invited the entire STEM-verse to crash their Western Australia Semi Final on April 6, where 13 talented researchers will tell their science stories in three minutes or less via short videos. No jargon, no power-point, and definitely no need to dress up – think of it like home-delivered STEM content, fresh, fun and to the point.

If you’re tuning in, you can vote for your favourite researcher via the hashtag #FameLabAus from 2pm.

So who’s actually coming?

Keen to see who you’ll be virtual hanging with on Monday? Check out the following Western Australian semi-finalists, and the research they’ll be sharing.

Daniela Scaccabarozzi, Curtin University, Orchid mimicry based on colour illusion
Donkey orchids in Australia uniquely attract native bees using colour as a form of dating mimicry to entice pollination.

Claire Doll, The University of Western Australia, Do Parks have to be Green to be Valued?
A love of running in Perth inspired Claire to study why park’s in Western Australia’s dry climate need to be green. Claire explores how we can deliver water conservation and community benefits with natural landscape parks.

Charlotte Birkmanis, The University of Western Australia, Where Do our Sharks Roam? Sharks are the doctors of the oceans. They regulate our food chains and keep our fish stocks healthy, but they are under threat. Understanding shark habitats will keeps our oceans healthy.

Ana Paula Motta, The University of Western Australia, Kangaroos and Conservation
Exploring the role of traditional Indigenous practices in the Kimberley region on the development of Australian conservation management through data analysis of rock art.

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Jaisalmer de Frutos Lucas, Edith Cowan University, Win the Race Against Alzheimer’s
Close your eyes and remember the last time you saw someone you love? What happens when we no longer no longer remember who is in front of us and emotional ties are lost? Learn how exercise protect from the loss of memories in Alzheimer’s.

Dr Darja Kragt, The University of Western Australia, No more bad leaders
Have you ever had a bad boss? Have you ever wondered why they behave in bad ways? Measuring leadership stereotypes that we hold about ourselves helps to understand the impact on our behaviour. 

Valeria Senigaglia, Murdoch University, Dolphins’ Facebook
Dolphin’s have a large social network. Dolphins influence and react to each other and their environment. Are popular Dolphin’s more resilient than their less popular friends and do they live better lives that we can learn from?

Clare Moran, The University of Western Australia, Let the Siege Begin!
All bacteria in the world love sugar. How do we stop bacteria from getting the sugar they need to grow? Block the sugar. Block the sickness.

Dr Casey Lister, The University of Western Australia, Language: In our Ancestors’ Hands
On death, the brain disappears so fossil records do not help to study language development. What comes first in the biology of language development – the noise or the hand sign? 

Emily Brogan, Edith Cowan University, Lost For Words?
Imagine you wake up lost for words and cannot speak because your brain is holding your mouth hostage due to a stroke. What is the best therapy for people who are lost for words?  

Miaomiao Cheng, Murdoch University, Less Cost, Higher production
To fertilise now, never or when? This is the question. Saving farmers money and increasing crop production using new technology. 

Ana Wang, Edith Cowan University, Let’s talk about sweet molecules in our body
Proteins in our body protect us from disease and provide a way to detect the risk of health problems. Researching sweet proteins help discover better ways for a healthy life style.  

FameLab’s Western Australian winner will be announced online on April 9.

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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