On 5 May 2016, Erinn Fagan-Jeffries from The University of Adelaide was declared winner of FameLab Australia for her brilliant horror-film tale about the caterpillar-killing parasitoid wasps that are saving our spuds.
She then went on to represent Australia at the international FameLab competition at the Cheltenham Times Science Festival in June 2016, where she competed against scientists from more than 25 countries.
In 2016, there were three International FameLab semi-finals and a subsequent grand final. Erinn made it through to the Grand Final, alongside contestants from Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA.
Each of the Grand Finalists was asked to prepare a second presentation, which had to be significantly different to the one they delivered at the semi-finals. This time, Erinn took to the stage with her tale of the tiny crustaceans that are living underground in the seemingly uninhabitable desert in Western Australia.
The competition was incredibly tough, but it was Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam from Malaysia who was crowned winner of FameLab International 2016 for his charismatic and compelling presentation on the genetics and cellular basis of cancer, which he closed with a rallying call to the importance of science communication. Spain’s Alba Aguión and Qatar’s Aida Rafat were announced joint runners-up with their tales of exploding cicadas and water distillation.
The grand final was held in front of a packed audience at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, with thousands of fans around the world also watching live online.
Erinn said: "It was 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”.
Watch this short recap video of the 2016 international finalists, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or follow the conversation on #FameLabAus for the latest updates on FameLab!