Tim with the FameLab international finalists
The partnership between the UK’s Cheltenham Science Festival and the British Council between 2007 – 2021 took the FameLab competition and training event around the world, capturing the imagination of young STEM researchers in more than 40 countries.  ©

Still Moving Media courtesy of Cheltenham Science Festival.

FameLab International represents a global science communication success story, supporting the British Council’s mission to build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through education and cultural exchange.

The FameLab phenomenon

FameLab International’s ethos of cultural and scientific exchange proved to be a winning formula around the world. Over the competition’s 15-year history, FameLab International engaged over 40,000 participants and reached an audience of millions. 

FameLab International was more than a competition – the initiative made an instant impact, acting as a catalyst for international partnerships, projects and cultural engagement.

Globally, FameLab heralded a new approach to public engagement in science around the world through events, masterclass training and the creation of new networks.  

The competition’s 200 international partners - which included world-leading scientific organisations such as NASA and CERN - played a key role in the FameLab success story by lending their support, networks and expertise to help generate in-country interest and engagement.

"Initiatives like FameLab are really important because they bring people together in a unique way. The networks that develop across countries and across disciplines can be really inspiring and productive, and full of opportunity."

Tim Lamont (formerly Gordon), FameLab UK and International winner 2019

The broad appeal of FameLab arguably lay in its simplicity: on the competition stage, participants had just three minutes to share their scientific research or work with a general audience armed with just simple props. Finalists were judged on the FameLab 3C’s: content, clarity and charisma. 

Participants’ use of storytelling, humour and thought-provoking facts brought STEM research to audiences in a way that they may not have seen before. And for many participants, FameLab was their first introduction to the world of science communication and the importance of sharing their work with the public. 

“I didn't know that this term science communication existed, so it was the first time to be introduced to the concept, and its importance and potential to shape people's minds.”

Dina El-Zohiry, FameLab Egypt winner 2016

This science communication training was an invaluable source of professional development to participants, helping to inform their approach to working with and training the next generation of STEM students and researchers in their country.

Discover more 

Watch FameLab International content on Cheltenham Festival's FameLab YouTube channel

Watch FameLab-inspired content on the British Council YouTube channel

Visit the Cheltenham Festivals website to learn more about the future of FameLab. 

If you would like to speak to the British Council about the FameLab International legacy, email


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