Monday 07 November 2016

Are you South Africa’s next great scientist? Your journey to fame could begin with FameLab® 2017. Register to enter as a contestant for the South African leg of the international competition dubbed, the ‘Pop Idols of Science’. Entries open from 7 November 2016.  

FameLab® is an exciting competition to find new voices in science, technology engineering, maths and innovation (STEMI), from across the world. This year’s competition will launch on 8 December 2016 at the second annual Science Forum South Africa (SFSA), which takes place at the CSIR International Convention Centre, in Pretoria. Thereafter, heats will be held around the country until the end of March 2016. Entrance to the SFSA and FameLab® heats is free and open to the publicand we invite all science enthusiasts, young and old, to come and cheer on their favourites at the FameLab® SFSA heat.

Participants are offered training to enhance their science communication skills and to enable them to present their science topic to a panel of expert judges in just three minutes. Presentations are judged on content, clarity, and charisma and must be original and scientifically accurate while being accessible to a public audience. Contestants who make it through the heats, win master class training with an international trainer and may progress to the semi-finals and finals of the competition, which will be held in April and May 2017 respectively. The FameLab® South Africa winner will go on to compete against winners from over 30 countries on an international stage, at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom.

FameLab® heats 2017

Young professionals and enthusiastic researchers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) are invited to register for the FameLab® 2017 competition heats. The first heat at the Science Forum South Africa ( on the 8th of December 2016 will be preceded by a workshop and preliminary selections on 5 and 6 December 2016. Participants selected at the prelims will proceed to compete at the launch heat on the 8th December 2016. Thereafter, heats will be taking place around the country. Watch the press and the competition website for more information.

Who can enter?

The competition is open to anyone aged 21 to 35 and working in or studying technology, engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics or maths. This includes private and public sector employees.  

How to register

Interested participants can register here. Registration is open from 7 November 2016. 

Notes to Editor

About FameLab®

FameLab® was started in 2005 in the UK by Cheltenham Science Festival and has quickly become established as a diamond model for successfully identifying, training and mentoring scientists and engineers to share their enthusiasm for their subjects with the public. It is implemented in over 30 countries, including the UK, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, Qatar and Kazakhstan to name a few.   FameLab® South Africa is implemented in partnership between the British Council, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), and Science Communication Agency Jive Media Africa.

More than 5000 researchers have taken part in the global competition, resulting in a vibrant network of highly skilled individuals engaging international audiences and each other. 

 About Jive Media Africa

Jive Media Africa creates innovative, cutting edge communications; grabbing attention and conveying crucial messages in accessible ways. Jive Media Africa is an award-winning agency, which has provided media and communications services to the research sector over the past decade.

For more information, please visit You can also follow them on Facebook:


Robert Inglis, Jive Media Africa Director, Email:, Tel: 033 342 9380/2, Cell: 084 357 7333


The South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) is a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF) with the mandate to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering, innovation and technology in South Africa. SAASTA’s contribution to the NRF’s vision is to grow the pool of quality learners today who will become the scientists and innovators of tomorrow.

All science promotion or awareness programmes within the NRF reside under three key strategic areas that combine to form an integrated and seamless approach. Through education we build up the supply of tomorrow’s scientists and innovators. Through communication we celebrate South African achievements in science and technology and build the public’s appreciation of the benefits of science.

By growing the awareness of science through exploration, exhibitions and actual experience, we instil in people an enthusiasm about the wonder and application of the subject, while encouraging greater public engagement in SET issues. By taking overall ownership of science advancement initiatives within the NRF and on a countrywide scale, SAASTA is responding to an organisational as well as national imperative.

For more information, please visit

Contact: Joanne Riley, SAASTA, Science Editor: Science Communication, Email:, Tel: 012 392 9349

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

For more information, please visit: You can keep in touch with the British Council through Twitter: @zaBritish and Facebook: British Council South Africa.


Anisa Khan, British Council: Newton Fund and Higher Education Programme Manager, Email:, Tel: 011 560 9322

Moagisi Sibanda, Newton Fund Projects and Communications Manager, British Council, Email:, Tel: 11 560 9325