Thursday 13 April 2017

The last FameLab semi-final of 2017, held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle on Wednesday 12 April, was a night jam-packed with a vibrant audience and future-thinking ideas. 

The semi-final returned to the Perth Museum and was MC’d by Science Communicator Sarah Lau who introduced nine of the country’s brightest minds to the stage. 

The competitors told their dynamic three-minute science stories —on topics as diverse as diet to big data. 

But only a few can be winners on the night:

  • Winner: Bronwyn Ayre, University of Western Australia 
  • Runner Up: Ifrah Abdullahi, Telethon Kids Institute 
  • Audience Choice: Chaminda Ranasinghe, Edith Cowan University

Bronwyn’s research is inspired by her love of nature and her passion to answer ecological and conservation questions using genetic techniques. 

Ifrah Abdullahi’s work investigates the health and developmental outcomes of immigrant and refugee children in Western Australia. 

Helen O’Neil, Director of the British Council in Australia, says, “Last night’s semi-final in Fremantle provided an enlightening insight into some of the great research coming out of labs across Australia.  We heard nine engaging and inspiring stories of science from some of the country’s brightest minds, but it was Bronwyn who stood out to the judges on the key criteria of content, clarity and charisma.”  

Bronwyn and Ifrah are now set to compete in the national FameLab grand final hosted by superstar astrophysicist, Dr Alan Duffy – at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle on 4 May.

The Australian winner will be flown to over to the UK to present their piece 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 7,000. FameLab trains them to be advocates and storytellers with the aim of making science part of national and international conversation.

Notes to Editor

Media enquiries; to speak with Bronwyn or Ifrah, or British Council Director Helen O’Neil, contact Siobhan Moylan, +61 422 755 785

And 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 2017 is presented by British Council and Cheltenham Festivals | Founding partners: Western Australian Museum and The McCusker Foundation | University partners: Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and University of Western Australia | Venue partners: Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Queensland Museum, Museum Victoria and Western Australian Museum | NSW presenting partner: Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer | QLD presenting partner: World Science Festival, Brisbane | WA presenting partner: Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Office of Science | media partner: Australia’s Science Channel | training and advocacy partner:  Inspiring Australia

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. 

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. 

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government. 

FameLab® is an initiative of the Cheltenham Festivals in the UK. The British Council is licenced to deliver the competition in 25 countries. NASA delivers the competition in the USA.

See also