FameLab Australia 2024: Applications now open

Gain the skills to make your science research famous! 

FameLab is the largest public-facing science communication training program and competition in the world. The Foundation for the WA Museum is the producer and country host organisation of FameLab Australia. The focus of FameLab Australia is to promote excellence in science communication for early career STEM researchers in universities and industry. 

The FameLab difference

No slides. No PowerPoint. No boring. To excel in FameLab, you’ll be trained to communicate your science research in just three minutes, and you’ll be judged according to the 3 Cs of FameLab: your Content, your Clarity, and your Charisma.  

To assist you to explain your research and captivate a general-public audience, you’ll be able to use any props that you can carry onto the stage. Of course, you can also sing if you’d like. Or dance. Just no slides, and no boring.  

Ready? Let's begin!  

No ordinary science communication competition

To start, qualified applicants will attend a science communication training workshop to help them prepare their first presentation – a 3-minute video submission. The applicants chosen for the Semi-finals will receive additional science communication training provided by subject matter experts. The finalists who are selected from the Semi-finals will receive additional Masterclass training as well as a free, immersive, 3-night science communication experience in Perth in September where they will compete live on stage for the title of Australian FameLab Winner. 

Your audience awaits

FameLab provides an ideal platform for early career researchers to tell a national and international audience about their work. It’s your opportunity to bring fame to your lab, showcase your research, represent your organization, and take your career to the next level by creating a profile as a quality researcher and trained communicator. The skills you’ll learn will assist you in a plethora of activities you’ll likely face in your career, from applying for grants, to public speaking at science events, to igniting the imagination of future scientists with presentations at schools. 

FameLab judging critera

The same judging criteria for all FameLab presentations apply globally for all contestants. Content, Clarity and Charisma (the three Cs of FameLab) are central for the identification of quality science communicators. Each contestant has a strict maximum time limit of three minutes for their presentation.

  • Content

The content must be scientifically accurate. If the chosen topic has controversy or uncertainty around it, the presentation must acknowledge the opposing views. The content also needs to be presented in a way that is understandable to a non-specialist, general public audience.

  • Clarity

Clarity is critical to effective communication. The structure of the presentation is important, as well as the need to ensure that the judges and the audience can follow the talk and are left with a greater understanding of the scientific concepts chosen.

  • Charisma

The audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The presenter needs to present their authentic self and their passion for their topic. The winner will have that hard-to-describe but unmistakable quality of charisma, and will be the person who makes science easy to listen to, entertaining and exciting.

Content, clarity and charisma are topics covered extensively in FameLab training in order to provide participants with relevant and useful skills for the competition and their careers.

2024 key dates

In 2024, applicants will be selected to compete in four regional Semi-finals across Australia. 12 finalists will be chosen and flown (at the Foundation's expense) to Perth for the Australian Final on 26 September 2024. The 2024 Australian FameLab winner will then go on to represent Australia at the FameLab online International Final in November 2024 in front of a global audience, and will win a trip to the world-famous Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2025.

1 Feb - 7 Apr

Applications open on 1 Feb - 7 Apr, 5pm AWST. 

April

Online science communication workshop; video submission by 21 April

May

Semi-finalist selection and training 

17 - 21 June

Online Semi-finals

July

Science communication masterclasses

24 - 27 September

Intensive science communication workshop and Australian Final in Perth

November

FameLab International online Final

June 2025

Trip to Cheltenham Science Festival for 2024 winner

1 February – 7 April: Applications 

Applications open on 1 February and close on Sunday 7 April, 5pm AWST. To apply, you’ll need to complete the written FameLab application form available here. 

The questions will require you to briefly explain your research, and provide career information including highest qualification achieved, current organization, professional referee, and evidence of research/projects that you have undertaken including links and titles of any relevant sources of evidence like publications, conference titles, conference posters or evidence of an internal review from a director/dean/head of your organisation. For more details, see the "What You’ll Need To Complete The Application Form" section below.  


April: Online science communication workshop and video submission 

All qualified applicants will be invited to an online science communication workshop. To qualify, applicants will need to complete the application form and provide all information regarding their research credentials. During the first workshop, applicants will be provided with enough information and presentation tips to be able to produce their first 3-minute FameLab video. The videos will need to be submitted by 21 April, and will then be judged by a panel of judges selected by FWAM according to the FameLab criteria of Content, Clarity and Charisma. The judges will select the semi-finalists and FWAM will inform all participants of the results. The videos can be filmed on a mobile phone in a relaxed setting and the quality of the video will not be judged.  

 

May: Semi-finalist selection and training 

Semi-finalists will be invited to in-depth science communication training, covering a range of topics. The training will be provided by experts in the field and will be held online to ensure all participants can participate irrespective of their location. The training provided will ensure each participant is equipped with the skills to deliver their best performance in the Semi-finals.  

17 June – 21 June: Online Semi-finals 

Four online Semi-finals will take place. 12 semi-finalists will contest each Semi-final and will be required to perform their presentation live and in a randomly selected order. A panel of science and science communication experts will adjudicate the presentations and will select the winners from each Semi-final to progress to the national Final in Perth. Winners will be announced live after the presentations have been completed and the judges have had a short time to confer with each other.  

 

July: Science communication masterclasses 

The 12 FameLab finalists will receive additional masterclass training provided by science communication experts, delving deeper into a range of subjects that will assist them to take their science communication skills to an international standard. These masterclasses will prepare the finalists for a high-quality, live, in-person Final in Perth.  
 

24 - 27 September:  Science communication workshop and Australian Final in Perth 

Finalists will be flown to Perth for an immersive science communication experience at the Foundation’s expense. They will be provided with accommodation and all meals. While in Perth, the finalists will attend a 1.5-day intensive science communication workshop covering a range of topics and presented by different specialists. The FameLab Australia Final will be held on the evening of September 26. During the trip, finalists may also attend networking events with invited guests from the broader science community.  
 

November: FameLab International Final 

The Australian FameLab winner will compete in the online international Final during November, hosted by Cheltenham Festivals, UK.  

June 2025: Australian winner's trip to Cheltenham Science Festival, UK 

The prize for winning FameLab Australia 2024 is an all-expenses paid trip to the world-renowned Cheltenham Science Festival in 2025.  

Apply to FameLab Australia 2024 now

Ready to make your science research famous? Early career researchers who want to make their research famous and elevate their profile are now invited to apply to FameLab, and prepare to present their work to a national and international audience. Applications close on Sunday, 7 April 2024, 5pm AWST. 

What you’ll need to complete the application form 

Semi-finalists will be selected using their written applications and the video they submit after the initial science communication workshop. Take your time to complete the application form to ensure yours stands out.

To successfully complete the application form, you will need the following information:  
 

  • An overview / synopsis of your research (200 words)  
  • A short professional biography (200 words)  
  • Evidence of research/projects that you have undertaken. You will need to provide links and titles of any relevant sources of evidence. This may include publications, conference titles, conference posters or evidence of internal review from a director/dean/head of your organisation  
  • The details of a referee who can verify or comment on your research and results. This might be someone who has peer reviewed your work, a supervisor, a director or dean of your institution, or an employer  


The video submitted by applicants who wish to progress to the Semi-finals will need to comply with the following rules: 
 

  • The video must be no longer than three minutes. The content will not be judged after this time limit.  
  • No editing or special effects are allowed.  
  • No other people are allowed in the video.  
  • Props are encouraged, but shouldn’t be excessive or detract from the presenter.  
  • No background music – unless this is the subject of the presentation.  

What you’ll need to succeed at FameLab 

FameLab provides an ideal platform for early career researchers to tell a national and international audience about their work, represent their organisation, and create career opportunities by creating a profile as a quality researcher and trained communicator. A trip to the Cheltenham Science Festival 2025 is also at stake. So, winning won’t be easy.  

FameLab requires a time commitment from all participants to attend science communication training sessions, live events and a live online competition. Where possible, training will be held online and may be recorded to allow for flexibility. FameLab will also require participants to prepare and practice their presentations in order to uphold the professional standards of the competition and to advance to the Final. For training and to compete in the Semi-finals, a strong internet connection will be required.  

Finalists will be required to commit additional time and effort, as they will be required to attend additional masterclass training, and a 3-night trip to Perth. Finalists will also need the drive to out-perform their fellow finalists on a stage in front of a live and online audience.  

Media outlets may also be interested in interviewing finalists, and participants who reach this round should allow for some flexibility with their time to capitalise on any media opportunities provided by FameLab.  

Have you got what it takes to be Australia’s next rising science communication star? 

Terms, conditions and rules

All applicants need to read and agree to the terms, conditions and rules. Download the document here

Need some inspiration?  

Want to see how good you could get? Watch our brilliant 2023 finalists!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply? 

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Citizens and permanent residents of Australia, or international (non-citizen) researchers who can demonstrate a formal affiliation with an Australian institution, who are pursuing studies or working in a scientific field can apply. To qualify, you’ll need to be a student who is currently undertaking MSc or PhD qualifications, or be a postdoctoral fellow or early-career researcher who has received a MSc or PhD degree within the last five years. 

Can I apply again if I applied to FameLab in the past? 

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Yes, if you previously applied to FameLab you can apply again. Only people who have already been finalists are ineligible. 

Can I save my application in draft form and come back to work on it again later? 

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Yes, you will be able to save your application and return to it later to complete it and submit it. 

How are semi-finalists selected? 

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Semi-finalists will be selected on two criteria: their written application and their video submission. The video submission will only be required after attending the first online science communication workshop which will assist applicants to prepare their video presentation. 

How will I know if I successfully qualify as an applicant or have been selected for the Semi-finals? 

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At each stage, all applicants will be notified about whether or not they progress to the next round. FWAM will communicate with applicants using the email address and mobile number they submit in their application form. 

Who are the FameLab judges? 

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FWAM selects judging panels to ensure the highest standards are achieved in FameLab. Panels can consist of a range of experts and personality types, including science communication experts, prominent and highly respected scientists, and journalists and media personalities. 

What does the three-night trip to Perth involve? 

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Finalists will receive free flights, accommodation and meals to attend an intensive science communication workshop, networking events and the live, in-person FameLab Final event. 

What is the FameLab Australia winner’s prize? 

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The 2024 FameLab Australia winner will receive a free trip to the world-renowned Cheltenham Science Festival 2025. The prize will include flights to the UK, tickets to events, accommodation, meals and travel within the UK. The winner will also have the opportunity to network with scientists from around the globe. 

Keen to gain the skills to make your science research famous? Apply now to FameLab Australia 2024!

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