Friday 13 February 2015


Romance may not quite be in the air, but at British Council Northern Ireland’s Belfast office, there was a hint of Love and a lot of chemistry.

This was all in the name of science of course, as they hosted an intensive one-day masterclass ahead of the final of the global science communication competition, FameLab Northern Ireland.

Run in conjunction with British Council Northern Ireland, the inaugural Northern Ireland Science Festival and the Cheltenham Festival, the competition is out to find the next big new names in science, with the final taking place at the Black Box Belfast on Wednesday, February 25 2015.

The masterclass, which was hosted by lead FameLab trainer Malcolm Love and the 2013 FameLab International winner, Fergus McAuliffe, gathered eight of the Northern Ireland finalists together for an intensive media and presentation skills training course, aiming to hone their communication skills, help shake off bad habits and to inspire new ideas.

Speaking about the importance of both the masterclass and the FameLab competition, Mr Love, who is a top public communications skills trainer and an ex-senior producer for the BBC, said:

“FameLab, which is now in its tenth year, is an extremely important science competition - not only for the finalists - but for society as a whole. The competition identifies and fosters talent and can inspire more people to get involved and become passionate about science.

“We need to encourage the brightest minds to join the scientific enterprise and we can do this through FameLab – giving  scientists dozens of reasons to engage more with the public. FameLab promotes discussion; enhances people’s lives and enriches culture; enabling some of societies biggest problems to be solved. 

“The masterclasses are probably the most rewarding and important element of the competition for any of the nine finalists. It teaches them how to speak to be understood, the importance of body language and how to talk to the media. They also got to hear from Fergus, who shared his own experience as  a FameLab contestant, which will prove invaluable."

At the FameLab final, the audience can expect to hear contestants talk about everything from science to engineering, with topics ranging from the practical to the bizarre, as they battle it out to impress the judges in just three minutes. Each contestant will walk away with a trip to the Cheltenham Festival to meet with the International FameLab community, while the winner will go forward to the prestigious UK FameLab final.

Entertainment on the night will be provided by Northern Ireland’s top mentalist, David Meade, who acting as compere, will bamboozle the audience with his legendary mind tricks. He hosts on the back of his ground-breaking US TV special, where he cracked the Las Vegas casinos, and his current sold-out Northern Irish tour.

Speaking about the competition, Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director at British Council Northern Ireland said: “The bridge between science and the public is communication. Competitions such as FameLab Northern Ireland are fundamental for this if we are to keep Northern Ireland on the world stage. 

“Through FameLab we can encourage a more STEM literate society and engage young people in international science opportunities, while also giving as many scientists and engineers the opportunity to engage with the public and develop their career with thousands of like-minded scientists around the world.” 

Tickets for the FameLab final at the Black Box Belfast for February 25 2015 are completely sold out. However, science fans can tune in on the night as the event is streamed live from the British Council Northern Ireland website. For more details visit:, There will also be live commentary from their Twitter feed from 8.30pm onwards:


Notes to Editor

About FameLab

Since its birth at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into one of the world’s leading science communication competitions. It aims to find, develop and mentor young science and engineering communicators. The result is a celebrated alumni of young scientists and engineers able to get everyone ‘talking science’ in the media-intensive environment in which we live.

A partnership established with the British Council in 2007 saw the competition go global, with more than 5000 young scientists and engineers participating in over 25 different countries… with new countries taking part each year! Cheltenham Festivals and the British Council co-produce the FameLab International Final, which is held at the Cheltenham Science Festival each June.

 For further information please contact:

Claire McAuley T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI


About the British Council

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

 We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

 We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.  

 For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with British Council Northern Ireland through and