FameLab 2024: Showcasing Scientific Excellence and Communication Skills


The annual FameLab competition, held from May 30-31, 2024, was a vibrant showcase of scientific communication prowess. Hosted by the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences (GENUS), the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CoE-MaSS), and The National e-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP), the Gauteng event took place at Wits University with expert facilitation by Jive Media Africa.

FameLab, an international competition hosted by NRF-SAASTA in conjunction with Jive Media Africa and Cheltenham Festivals, is designed to engage and entertain by challenging young scientists to communicate their science to a public audience in under three minutes. The talks are fun and engaging, making science relevant to everyone without using jargon or formal presentations. Participants are judged on content, clarity, and charisma.

Seventeen enthusiastic participants, representing a broad spectrum of research fields, converged to share their passion for science. The competition was fierce, with all participants delivering commendable performances. The judges faced a tough task in selecting the winners, as each talk was informative and captivating. Ultimately, Ms Enele Twala secured the first prize, captivating everyone with her research on comparing the inner ears of barn owls and dinosaurs to infer if dinosaurs were nocturnal hunters and how well they could hear. Her innovative use of props and clear communication left a lasting impression!

The three FameLab 2024 Wits winners from left to right- Enele Twala (1st place, Genus CoE), Peter Williams (2nd place, MaSS CoE), Andrew Bolton (3rd Place, Genus CoE).

Peter Williams (CoE-MaSS) and Andrew Bolton (GENUS) also stood out, earning the first and second runner-up positions respectively for their outstanding presentations.

We eagerly await the FameLab final later this year, where Enele will compete against South Africa’s top science communicators. Her success at the Varsity FameLab competition has set a high standard, and we are confident she will continue to shine on the regional stage!

The 2024 Genus FameLab Team: Onkabetse Sebogodi, Enele Twala, Tandi Scott-Turner, Fonda Matlhaga, Dr Christine Steininger, Andrew Bolton and Ryan Nel.