For the fifth consecutive year, FameLab, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world, took place in Qatar.

FameLab was initiated by Cheltenham Science Festivals in the UK, and brought to Qatar by the British Council in partnership with Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) – a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) – and supported by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

FameLab is a competition for scientific communication where participants present scientifically proven ideas to a general public audience in just three minutes. Judging is based on clarity, scientific content and performance on stage. The participants in FameLab are divided into two categories: students (school students from 15 years old) and adults (including teachers and researchers).

Qatar FameLab Final Competition 2020

Nearly 300 participants took part in this year’s FameLab competition; all were trained to compete to reach the finals. Twenty-one participants who made it to the finals received an intensive science communication training delivered by experienced and qualified international science communicators from the UK.

The National Final was held online on 6 July. More than 200  people watched  the finals where the winners were announced at the end of the ceremony.

The first three places from the student category were won respectively by Ahmed Walid Rabiea from Doha Secondary school (first place); Omar Mohammed from Al Zubara School (second place), and Dalal Al Suwaidi from Al Bayan school (third place).

For the Adult category, Ahmed Al Maani from Qatar Science and Technology Secondary school won the first place. He will represent Qatar at the international finals at Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom. Abdul Saboor Saeed from Qatar University won second place.

Al Maani said the FameLab experience is one of the most beautiful experiences in his life, as he got to meet new friends, learned new information, and most importantly, gained an important lesson in life – that you have to persevere and try to reach your goal.

I participated for three years in a row and finally succeeded and achieved my goal and became the National Qatar Finalist for 2019/2020. Thanks to FameLab.

Student category national winner Ahmed Walid, meanwhile, said his FameLab journey was a war, but he ‘fought with passion not weapons’. He said he never thought of being a FameLab winner, but he said that his heart has always been beating with enthusiasm towards Cardiology.

I can now say that FameLab truly revealed my ardour.

Commenting on the FameLab competition this year, Director of the British Council Qatar Sam Ayton said she is delighted at the overwhelming response that FameLab has had again in Qatar this year.

This year’s competition involved a large number of school students and young researchers. She said that the success that they achieved is the fruit of an outstanding collaboration with their strategic partner, QNRF and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Being able to talk about science, explain science and make science relevant to young people and to engage their interest is a skill that is important in order to ensure the commitment and success of Qatar’s next generation of young scientists.

According to QNRF Executive Director Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, the FameLab competition inspires future generations of scientists and researchers every year, and trains them to be charismatic and effective science communicators.

He said that FameLab provides students and young researchers the opportunity to showcase their talents and get exposure on both national and international levels, and motivates them to delve into STEM subjects and thus contribute effectively towards building Qatar’s growing human capital in research.

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