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FameLab International 2020 - Victory for Switzerland representative Sauradeep Majumdar

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A global initiative to seek and support emerging talent in science communication has culminated in Switzerland-based researcher Sauradeep Majumdar being crowned FameLab International 2020 Champion.

Sauradeep, a 27-year-old doctoral researcher from the department of chemistry and chemical engineering at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), beat off strong competition from 19 scientists in the semi-final heats and final to secure the top spot in FameLab International 2020.

In his winning talk, Sauradeep explained how scientists are working to combat climate change by making new materials that can attract and capture carbon dioxide molecules.

We can design a roadmap to search for the best materials for carbon capture so that industries can put these materials into practice and together we can all contribute towards making our planet a safer place for our future generations.

FameLab International Champion, Sauradeep Majumdar

Sauradeep’s talk impressed the trio of judges Roma Agrawal, Jon Chase and Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón who rated each presentation on the ‘three Cs’: content and clarity and charisma. Commenting on Sauradeep’s talk, Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón said: ‘Everyone was engaged with his talk, and we learnt a lot! Sauradeep gave us science, fun – and hope!’

While FameLab national representatives usually compete for the international title at Cheltenham Science Festival, this year the contestants swapped the festival stage for a virtual platform as FameLab adapted to a new online format in response to the pandemic.

This has enabled people all over the world to connect with science and understand how it has a direct bearing on their lives.

Director of Learning and Public Engagement for Cheltenham Festivals, Ali Mawle

The science communication YouTube shows have proven to be a hit with global audiences, with thousands of viewers from 75 countries tuning in the streamed events and voting for their favourite talks.

Watch the 2020 FameLab International Final

Commenting on his experience as judge, Jon Chase said: ‘The finalists are an outstanding group of individuals, and it brought a real sense of joy meeting keen communicators from across the globe. The variety of approaches and their willingness to engage the public was a pleasure to experience.’

Indian-born Sauradeep’s victory marks the second time a Swiss representative has taken the FameLab International global champion title and continues the phenomenon of representatives for Switzerland originally hailing from another country – a pattern that has occurred since Switzerland first competed in FameLab in 2012.

Ali Mawle, Director of Learning and Public Engagement for Cheltenham Festivals, said: ‘The FameLab International Finals saw an incredible sharing of knowledge and learning across continents and industries. The finalists talked so passionately about their research, and this has enabled people all over the world to connect with science and understand how it has a direct bearing on their lives.’

Jen Bardsley, Head of Global Science at the British Council added: ‘In a year where we’ve all experienced restrictions due to the pandemic, FameLab International has adapted amazingly and blossomed online, positively bringing together cultures through science communication with inspirational outcomes.’