FameLab was set up in 2004 by Cheltenham Festivals in partnership with the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts ( NESTA) to find and nurture scientists and engineers with an interest in communicating with public audiences.
Since 2007, via a partnership with the British Council, FameLab has gone global, with competitions now held in 20+ countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.
In 2012, Cheltenham Festivals signed an agreement with NASA to run FameLab for the first time in the United States.
NASA partnered with the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the Denver Museum for Nature and Science and National Geographic to host four preliminary and one final competition.
64 early career scientists from across the US competed to convey their own research or related science concepts. 11 finalists competed at the Astrobiology Science Conference in April, 2012 in Atlanta, GA, and one winner, Brendan Mullan of Penn State University, was selected to advance to the International FameLab Finals held in June, 2012 at the Cheltenham Science Festival. There he advanced from the semi-final to the final, but wasn’t selected as the winner.
Globally more than 4000 researchers have taken part. The result is a vibrant network of exciting scientists and engineers engaging international audiences but also engaging with each other, broadening each other’s views of what it means to be working in science right now.