News Story

On Friday 7 June 2024, at Parabola Arts Centre during Cheltenham Science Festival, eight of the best science communicators from across the UK vied for the title of FameLab UK Champion in front of a live audience. 

FameLab is the largest public-facing science communication competition and training programme in the world. Early-career researchers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths entertained a live audience with three-minute talks, armed only with their wits and a few simple props. The result was an engaging and enlightening way to encourage curiosity and expand the public understanding of scientific topics and research. 

This year’s fantastic finalists gave us a bite size taste of science covering a range of talks including, Wisdom from Wonderland, The Stars, Death by Papercut, Parkinsons and we even welcomed our first social scientist who delivered a talk about the Forgotten Girls. They definitely wowed the judges and the audience.

Our FameLab UK 2024 Finalists were:

Yasna Najmi

from Gloucestershire and West Midlands, working in the field of Dentistry 

Aaron Monson

 from Northern Ireland, working in the field of Solar Astrophysics 

Vanessa Madu

 from South East, working in the field of Statistics 

Nicola Pierce

 from East Midlands, working in the field of Social Science 

Richard Dyer

from East of England, working in the field of Astrophysics

Zoë Bell

from North East, working in the field of Pharmaceutical Chemistry 

Joni Wildman

from South West, working in the field of Bio-based construction materials, applied mycology  

Bethany Facer

from North West, working in the field Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (brain scans) 

The esteemed judges for the night included, space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, science communicator, Jon Chase and youth advocate Sam Ajakaiye. The fun filled night was compered by local comedian Shirley Halse. 

It was a tough decision but after careful deliberation the judges decided that this year’s joint runners up were Yasna Najmi with her talk titled, Let's talk about the T in Teeth and Richard Dyer with his talk titled, How to Stop Time. Joni Wildman was victorious and crowned the FameLab UK winner 2024 with her talk titled Love is in the air: Spore dispersal in the fungal kingdom. Over a hundred people in the audience voted and choose Richard Dyer as their favourite. 

All finalists received a certificate and the Winner, Runners Up and Audience Winner received a trophy. The Winner also received £500 and an all-expense paid trip to 8th Silesian Science Festival in Katowice, Poland (7 – 9 December 2024) – courtesy of our FameLab International partner at the University of Silesia in Poland, The European City of Science 2024. 

Joni, the UK Winner will now move on to represent the UK at the International Final which will be live streamed on our FameLab YouTube Channel on Friday 29 November 2024. She will compete against nine other countries: Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates as they vie to be the World’s Best Science Communicator 2024. Be sure to tune in live to cheer on the UK. 

Cheltenham Festivals is delighted to work in Partnership with a number of organisations around the country called Hubs, who run FameLab in each of their regions. Special thanks to this year’s partners from:

FameLab UK will return to Cheltenham Science Festival on Friday 6 June 2025 when we will also celebrate 20 Years of FameLab