Friday 06 June 2014


Padraic Flood a PhD student in plant genetics at Wageningen University, Netherlands

has won the International FameLab competition

  • Competed against 22 science communicator from across the world
  • Competition judged by an international team of experts in science communication

Padriac Flood beat nearly 2,000 scientists from 22 countries to be crowned the FameLab International Champion 2014 on Thursday 5 June at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, UK. Padraic, from the Netherlands, discussed improving photosynthesis to prevent food scarcity.

Padraic’s talk first took the audience into the leaf and told them about the mechanics of photosynthesis, leading to where light meet’s water, saying “it is at this point that life becomes light”. He then told the audience about food shortage in the future and how we might combat this through improving photosynthesis.

After winning Padraic Flood said,“FameLab is fantastic, it opens a direct dialogue between scientists and the public, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it this year”

Second place was awarded to two runners up; David Davila who won the FameLab France competition and Lyl Tomlinson who won FameLab US.

The final was held in front of a packed audience at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, with tens of thousands of fans around the world also watching live online. The international judges eventually decided to present the title to Padraic.

The competition was judged by an international team of experts in science communication including Jim Al-Khalili, OBE is a British scientist, author and broadcaster; Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham and George Zarkadakis, Greek novelist, playwright and science journalist As every year, there was a prize for the audience voting which was won by France winner and FameLab International runner-up David Davila. In addition, the Alumni Prize was once again a feature of this year, with one vote from the alumni of each country. The Eurovision-style Alumni Prize was won jointly by the representatives of the UK and Poland.

Professor Alice Roberts said, “Padraic was successful because [he] offered incredibly elegant explanations of their science, we love the use of metaphor…we also thought that [he] described the impact that scientific research can have on our lives exceptionally well.”

This year’s International Final was bigger than ever and featured the national winners from Australia, Benelux, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Since its birth at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into the world’s leading science communication competition, running across five continents. The British Council who teamed up with Cheltenham Festivals in 2007 now runs the competition in over 25 countries. NASA runs the competition in the US.

Notes to Editor

Biographies and photos of this year’s contestants and winner are  available upon request

Padraic Flood

Padraic Flood is currently finishing his PhD in plant genetics at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Hos research focuses on natural genetic variation in traits that are affected by many genes. He is particularly interested in how the processes of evolution sculpt the genetic landscape of these traits and how we can use such information to optimize plant performance for both yield and nutrition.

He also enjoys singing badly in pubs and eating wild plants.

FameLab® is an initiative of the Cheltenham Festivals in the UK. The British Council has license to deliver the competition in 25 countries overseas. NASA has license to deliver the competition in the USA.

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival – 3-8 June 2014

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is a six-day celebration of science, engineering and the arts and is produced by Cheltenham Festivals. A rare opportunity for the public to come face-to-face with around 300 of the world's leading scientists and thinkers, the Festival annually issues in excess of 31,000 tickets whilst the free interactive Discover Zone and other free events and exhibitions attracts over 17,000 visitors. The six day Festival promises a mix of serious debate, live experiments and surprising discoveries all based at Cheltenham Town Hall.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

Media contacts:

Dr Djuke Veldhuis

FameLab Manager

Cheltenham Festivals


Tel: +44 (0)1242 537299