The FameLab national final returned to the WA Maritime Museum overnight to a jam-packed audience of future-thinkers, science enthusiasts and friends and family of finalists who were flown in from around the country.
The 11 competitors told their dynamic three-minute science stories to a curious audience — on topics as diverse as diagnosing dementia to why we need to study echidna poop.
But there can only be one winner on the night... Drummmm roll please!
The winner of FameLab 2017 is Nural Cokcetin from the University of Technology Sydney!
Nural’s research focuses on the antimicrobial and prebiotic properties of honey, with a drive to use this knowledge to develop new treatments for infections caused by multi-drug resistant superbugs, and to use honey to improve human gut health. Her research has investigated 25 different Australian honeys and her studies show that favourable changes to the beneficial bacteria of the gut could be achieved with daily consumption of just 20g of honey.
Andrew Katsis from Deakin University was the Runner-up for his work into attentive birds.
Andrew's research investigates the ecological role of incubation calling and prenatal learning in a small Australian songbird - the zebra finch. Specifically, he is investigating whether calling to an embryo can alter its development by exploring the effects of prenatal sound on nestling begging behaviour and cognition. Understanding these adaptations will help us predict how species might respond to extreme conditions occurring under climate change.
And an honorable mention was given by judges to Bronwyn Ayre for her amazing work into the pollination of Kangaroo Paws. Bronwyn’s research has discovered that insects are not good at pollinating Kangaroo Paw flowers - an iconic group of plants in Western Australia.
Helen O’Neil, Director of the British Council in Australia, says, “Last night’s national final was a truly wonderful night for science communication. We heard 11 engaging and inspiring stories of science from some of the country’s brightest minds and the judges faced an incredibly difficult decision. However, it was Nural who stood out on the three key criteria of content, clarity and charisma.”
Nural Cokcetin says, "The [FameLab] experience has been truly amazing - I feel so lucky to have been able to work with such a brilliant team of science communicators and advocates of the importance of science communication. I have learnt so many new ways to approach talking about research and connecting with the public and exciting them about the work we do. I am really excited about winning, really excited about meeting all the other passionate researchers in the UK next month and all the new opportunities it will bring”.
Nural will now head to the UK to present her fascinating talk at the huge FameLab International Grand Final at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in June, competing with scientists from more than 25 countries.
More than 120 researchers in Australia have taken part in FameLab, joining an international network of 7000. FameLab trains them to be advocates and storytellers with the aim of making science part of national and international conversation.
Don’t forget to keep up with all of the action by following British Council Australia on Facebook and @auBritish on Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #FameLabAus. For further information, visit famelab.org.au