'Bomber bees' talk earns Joanna top international prize

A wildlife conservation lecturer at Nottingham Trent University has won a top award in the international final of a science communication competition.

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Wildlife conservation lecturer Dr Joanna Bagniewska (Image Alena Ageyeva)
The standard of the competitors was very high, so I did not expect to win an award, especially not such a prestigious one.

Dr Joanna Bagniewska, Nottingham Trent University

A wildlife conservation lecturer at Nottingham Trent University has won a top award in the international final of a science communication competition.

Dr Joanna Bagniewska won the International Alumni Award at the FameLab 2014 International Final for her talk on 'bomber bees', which explored how honeybees can be used to detect explosives and drugs.

FameLab International challenges researchers to present a topic to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes and is judged on content, clarity and charisma. The prize won by Joanna was voted for by FameLab alumni from previous years.

Joanna reached the international rounds after winning the national final in her native Poland.

A total of 24 semi-finalists from across the world were whittled down to just ten who competed in the international final, co-produced by Cheltenham Science Festival and the British Council, and held at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.

Joanna's semi-final talk was on 'The curious incident of testicles at night time', which examined the influence of the melatonin hormone on the physiology of humans and other animals.

"I feel very proud of this award and am extremely pleased to have got as far as I did," said Joanna, who is based in the University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

She said: "The standard of the competitors was very high, so I did not expect to win an award, especially not such a prestigious one. My main goal was to reach the final, as Polish winners from previous years have achieved that and I felt I needed to live up to them."

FameLab aims to 'find the new voice of science and engineering across the world'.

Contestants have just three minutes to present a topic in science, engineering or maths in an engaging way – without PowerPoint and with limited props - and judges are looking for those who shine in content, clarity and charisma.

Joanna was a joint International Alumni Award winner, with prize also going to UK champion Caroline Shenton-Taylor.

The talk of the overall winner, Padraic Flood – representing Benelux – was on enhanced photosynthesis, and its applications in feeding the world.

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    View here for more on the Cheltenham Science Festival and FameLab

    FameLab® is an initiative of the Cheltenham Festivals in the UK. FameLab aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who can inspire people to see the world from a new perspective. The competition is the brainchild of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. Since its birth at Cheltenham Science Festival in 2004, FameLab® has grown into arguably the world's leading science communication competition. A partnership with the British Council since 2007 has seen the competition go global The British Council has license to deliver the competition in 25 countries overseas. NASA has license to deliver the competition in the USA in the field of planetary sciences

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'Bomber bees' talk earns Joanna top international prize

Published on 12 June 2014
  • Category: Research; School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences

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