Thursday 16 May 2019
  • Dr Paola Magni from Murdoch University has been announced as FameLab National Final winner and audience choice for 2019.
  • Paola will represent Australia at the international FameLab competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June, competing against scientists from around 25 countries.
  • FameLab is the world’s leading science communication competition to find and mentor young STEM researchers to share their stories with the world. 

Winning over the judges and the audience at the National Final, Paola dived into the world of underwater crime investigation, asking how do you reconstruct the events of crime and identify the culprit when water washes the evidence away?

Paola’s research is finding revolutionary tools for underwater investigation, bringing new witnesses to life – ‘colonising’ plants, plankton, animals and little creatures like the barnacle. The presence and activity of these organisms can help investigators reconstruct and identify how long a body has been in water and track the location of the crime scene. 

This research has global application as it can be key to investigate criminal cases – using science for justice and closure for families.

Paola will represent Australia at the international FameLab competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June, competing against scientists from around 25 countries.

“'It's a huge privilege to be able to represent Australia at the international FameLab competition. We have world class scientists and science communicators in this country and being able to share the wonder of science with people is an amazing experience,” said Dr Paola Magni. 

About FameLab

FameLab is the British Council’s international science communication competition and Australia is one of more than 25 participating countries. It is a training program in a competition format to get people talking about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Applicants have three minutes to present a concept from their field of study to a panel of judges. The judges look for somebody who can shine in content, clarity and charisma - it has to be scientifically accurate, clear to understand and presented with a lot of personality.

“We are thrilled that Paola Magni will bring Australian forensic innovation to a global stage in June. For over a decade the British Council has supported thousands of STEM researchers around the world, promoting international collaboration in higher education and science, and giving audiences the chance to hear about new discoveries that could change our lives.” said Helen Salmon, Director British Council in Australia.

“For the last two years the Australian winners of FameLab have gone on to be Global Runners-Up in the International Competition. We will be following Paola's journey at the Cheltenham Science Festival next month as she shows off her brilliant work which is helping bring justice and closure to many.” 

About Paola Magni

Dr Paola Magni is forensic biologist with key focus on the application of natural sciences to crime scene investigation. She is a researcher and lecturer in forensic science, with experience as expert witness on cases of homicide, suspicious death, animal cruelty/wildlife and food forensic. Paola is an author of papers in international scientific journals, chapters in forensic books and editor of a forensic entomology book. Developer of “SmartInsects”, the App designed to facilitate police and pathologists at crime scenes. Guest speaker in talk shows about science and investigation, she has played an intrinsic role as screenplay consultant for the Italian version of the TV series “C.S.I.”. TEDx speaker, advocate of STEM and WISE.


Notes to Editor

British Council Director Australia Helen Salmon and 2019 Australian winner Dr Paola Magni are available for interview.

Dr Paola Magni winning presentation is available here.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education, and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. 

See also