Nural Cokcetin from the University of Technology Sydney was declared joint runner-up of FameLab International 2017 at the Cheltenham Science Festival after beating off competition from thousands of applicants across 31 countries.
Nural earned her place in the top nine at the FameLab International Final alongside top science communicators from Hong Kong, India, Malta, Mauritius, Portugal, South Africa, Uganda and the UK after captivating the crowds at the semi-finals earlier in the week.
Her story about the gut bacteria boosting properties of Australian honey impressed the judges at the grand final and won her the title of joint runner-up alongside Nicole Phoebe Tanner from Hong Kong. Tshiamo Legoale from South Africa was crowned winner after shining through on content, clarity and charisma with her presentation on how wheat can be used to mine gold.
Nural is the first Australian contestant to reach runner-up position at the International Finals since the competition came to Australia in 2014.
This year’s international competition was the largest to date, with 31 contestants in total from Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kazakhstan, Latvia/Estonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, UK and Vietnam. You can meet each of the finalists in this short YouTube video.
Nural 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's research looks at the therapeutic uses of honey, both as both a prebiotic for improving gut health and as an antibacterial agent for infections caused by drug-resistant superbugs. Find out more about her research here.
You can also find out more about Nural's brush with Fame(Lab) in her blog on Australia's Science Channel.
Since its birth at the Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into the world’s leading science communication competition. A partnership with the British Council since 2007 has seen the competition go global with more than 7,500 young scientists and engineers participating to date.