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First FameLab International Champion from Asia

Abhi's Photo

Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam from Malaysia was recently crowned the best science communicator for FameLab International 2016.

Abhi’s battle against over 2000 scientists from 27 countries ended in victory after a skilfully crafted presentation on "Cancer Genetics" at the EDF Arena at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival on Wednesday 9 June. Aida Rafat from Qatar and Alba Aguion from Spain came a close second, sharing the runner-up title.

Abhi’s talk focused on how cancer cells behave and how people’s chances of developing cancer could be reduced with better lifestyle habits, and the need for more effective communication on the subject. It was the second FameLab experience for Abhi, though his first at the international finals, and he not only impressed the judges with his content but also with his “great charismatic style that was wonderfully endearing”.

This is just the second time Malaysia has participated in FameLab International organised by the Cheltenham Festival so, although we knew we had a great contestant and an enthusiastic ambassador, the news that our selected representative has won was really exciting news for our team, who are also thrilled for Abhi!

While the result is truly rewarding for him personally, it is also an excellent achievement for Malaysia, where the concept of making science accessible and attractive to a non-scientific audience through good communication is an ever-growing priority for researchers.

FameLab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world. Since its inception at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into the world’s leading science communication competition, spanning five continents.

Designed to engage and entertain by breaking down science technology and engineering concepts into three minute presentations, the competition now runs in over 27 countries via a partnership between the British Council and Cheltenham Festivals, which began  in 2007.  FameLab Malaysia was jointly organised by the Malaysian Industry-Government for High Technology (MIGHT) and the British Council in Malaysia.

The FameLab International 2016 competition was judged by an international team of experts in science communication including Nadia El Awady, Robert Llewellyn, Mark Lythgoe and Professor Katherine Willis.

The 12 FameLab Internatinal Finalists were:

  1. Dina El-Zohiry (Egypt)
  2. Alba Aguion (Spain)
  3. Erinn Fagan-Jeffries (Australia)
  4. Leandros Lamnis (Greece)
  5. Ilissa Ocko (USA)
  6. Kyle Evans (UK)
  7. Nozipho Gumbi (South Africa)
  8. Lorenzo Pizzuti (Italy)
  9. Aida Rafat (Qatar)
  10. Abhi Veerakumarasivam (Malaysia)
  11. Karolina Nowak (Poland)
  12. Constantinos Timinis (Cyprus)


Watch Abhi’s FameLab Final 2016 here.

Abhi’s win is a first for Malaysia and also for East Asia and we are looking forward to finding ways for Abhi to act as our ambassador, promoting science communication across the region.