Bridging the latest concepts in science with the public through science communication can be one of the greatest pursuits of a researcher, which is why each year FameLab Ireland hosts a competition to find the next generation of charismatic, up-and-coming scientists.
As part of the competition – now in its sixth year – scientists have to describe their research in three minutes in the most engaging way possible in front of a panel that this year included Michelle Cullen of Accenture, Graham Love of the Higher Education Authority and Inspirefest CEO Ann O’Dea.
So now it has been revealed that this year’s winner – selected from a panel of nine other new science communications – was named as Dublin-based Sharon Omiwole.
The University College Dublin medical student’s 180-second talk was entitled ‘Willy Wonka and the Coffee Factory’ detailing the effects of caffeine and its associated hormones and chemicals; adrenaline and dopamine.
With a keen interest in science, Omiwole credited her achievement to her father, a doctor, who inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.
In her spare time, she dedicates her time to clinics, retirement homes, day-cares and homeless shelters.
Next stop, Cheltenham
Second and third place were awarded to PhD students Daragh Bradshaw from the University of Limerick and Eoin Murphy from NUI Galway.
This year’s finalists chose a wide range of topics to bring under the microscope ranging from the digital apocalypse to the special powers of parasites and the legacy of Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s work in astrophysics.
Commenting on the FameLab National Final, Margie McCarthy, interim director for the innovation and education directorate at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), said: “Congratulations to Sharon Omiwole and all this year’s FameLab participants on their dedication to creating and delivering fantastic presentations.
“SFI, through the SFI Discover Programme, aims to encourage more people to engage with STEM. FameLab helps realise that aim by offering participants the opportunity to gain vital skills in communicating what can be complex research topics in an engaging way, inspiring others to join the conversation.”
Omiwole will now join the finalists from all participating countries – now totalling 35 countries – at the International Finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June, organised by The British Council, with the hope of being crowned a global winner.
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