Enter FameLab and become the new face of science in Switzerland

Are you 18 to 35 years old and studying or working in science in Switzerland? Are you passionate about your job and keen on exciting public imagination with a vision of the 21st century of science? Then this competition is for you!


FameLab is an international science communication competition for young researchers. It aims to find the new voices of science and engineering across the world. CERN has been chosen as the venue of the regional semi-finals for Switzerland. To compete, all you have to do is prepare a 3-minute talk that is scientifically accurate but also engaging to a non-scientific audience and impress your jury and your audience
on Saturday 4 Februrary, 2012 at the Globe of Science and Innovation.

Famelab aims to provide new opportunities for scientists to develop their skills as communicators. FameLab was set up in 2005 by Cheltenham Festivals, one of the UK’s premier cultural organisations, in partnership with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). In 2007 the competition was adopted by the British Council as one of its flagship science engagement projects. It has become a truly global event: in 2012 more than 20 countries will participate in the competition. The extent of its popularity is heartening: in Turkey alone, a staggering 20 million TV viewers tuned in one year to watch the national FameLab final.

Switzerland has now caught the FameLab bug and in early 2012 the competition will kick off for the first time in Zurich and Geneva, where finalists for the national finals in Zurich will be selected. In the national finals one young scientist will be selected to represent Switzerland in the international FameLab competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK in June 2012. The FameLab experience has a long-lasting positive impact on the participants, who go on to take part in science events, make presentations on television and radio, and engage in numerous public activities.

Rules and Regulations in Short:

•  To enter FameLab you must be 18-35 years old and studying or working in science in Switzerland. This includes private and public sector employees, teachers, technicians and anyone working in the fields of natural sciences and engineering (including biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, pharmacy, physics, psychology, robotics, astronomy, etc.). Science communication professionals – journalists, writers, TV and radio presenters, public relations specialists and performers whose shows are about science and engineering – are not allowed to enter.

•  For the regional competition in Zurich or Geneva you will have to prepare two exciting, engaging and charismatic 3-minute presentations about your research or topic of interest (powerpoint presentations are not allowed and only minimal props can be used), that can be understood by a lay audience.

•  Presentations will be accepted in French or English. However, at the national finals in Zurich and at the international finals in Cheltenham, the presentation will have to be in English.

• In the event of a particularly high number of participants, the regional competition will be divided into a preliminary round in the morning/afternoon and a final round in the evening. For this reason, all participants must prepare two 3-minute presentations. Both presentations may deal with the same topic, but should not be identical.

• Presentations will be judged by 4 to 5 jury members from the world of science and media, in front of an audience that will be involved in the selection process.

• The 10 best participants selected at the regional heats will attend a weekend masterclass in science communication and compete in the national finals in Zürich in March 2012. The winner of the Swiss national finals will represent Switzerland at the International FameLab competition in Cheltenham, UK.

How do I enter?

1. Fill out and submit the registration form by the deadline on http://www.famelab.ch/

2. Come to the Globe at the appointed time on Saturday 4 February and follow important instructions that will be published closer to the date on the competition website and on the dedicated CERN website

What do I win?

•  The finalists will win a 2-day masterclass in science communication. They will work with UK and Swiss science communicators and media trainers to develop their media and presentation skills.

•  The Swiss FameLab winner chosen at the final in Zurich will attend the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK and compete in the FameLab International competition

•  The winners of the regional competitions will receive a digital camera. The national finalists can win a laptop. There will also be an audience award.

•  Gaining the audience's appreciation for your passion for science and appearing in newspapers and being on TV is probably the biggest prize!

For more information, check out http://www.famelab.ch/ or http://famelab.org/ or write to info@famelab.ch

by Paola Catapano, FameLab@Cern Project coordinator, Communication Group