Niraj Lal competes in National FameLab competition

Niraj Lal competes in National FameLab competition
Niraj Lal competes in National FameLab competition

Niraj Lal, Postdoctoral research Fellow at the Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering, was invited to compete in the FameLab National finals last May. The competition sees the top science communicators in Australia come together to develop their presentation skills and compete for the top prize.

After being flown to Adelaide to compete in the regional heat, Nij was then selected as a Wild Card which saw him travelling to the Western Australian Museum in Perth to participate in the National Finals.

The four day event involved presentation skills and media release training as well as panel discussions with government and business leaders. The participants also received help in the development and presentation of their ‘3 minute pitch’ before performing it in front of a live audience as part of a final public event.

Nij’s presentation, ‘Making solar panels better with Buddhist singing bowl,’ drew on the research he is currently working on at ANU, which aims to make solar cells more efficient with nanophotonics.

“FameLab was a fantastic experience to work on my science communication skills with experts from around the world,” said Nij.

“There were 10 finalists from all round Australia - and we got to spend three days learning from communication expert Malcolm Love from the UK, practice radio and TV interviews with real presenters and learn about Science in Public from science-communication guru Niall Byrne.”

The Panel of judges for the presentations were Professor Lyn Beazley (former Chief Scientist of WA), Dr Ian Macleod (Executive Director of WA Museums Fremantle and Maritime Heritage), and Nick Marchand (Country Director, British Council).

The overall winner of the National FameLab competition was Michael Smout, of James Cook university with his presentation ‘Parasitic worm spit: how it heals, then kills.’

“As a result of FameLab I was interviewed for Channel 7 News in Adelaide, had a press release written for my article that’s about to be published, and got featured on Robyn William’s Science Show on ABC Radio National.”

FameLab is a Global competition with over 5000 young scientists and engineers participating in over 25 countries. It has been described as ‘arguably the world’s leading science communication competition.’ It aims to find, develop and mentor young science and engineering communicators.

Read more about the competition.

Listen to Nij’s presentation on Radio National.

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