FameLab 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 heralded a new approach to public engagement in science around the world through events, masterclass training and the creation of new networks. This science communication training was an invaluable source of professional development to FameLab participants, helping to inform their approach to working with and training the next generation of STEM students and researchers.
FameLab’s ethos of cultural and scientific exchange proved to be a winning formula around the world. Over the competition’s 15-year history (from 2007 to 2021), FameLab International engaged over 40,000 participants and reached an audience of millions. In those remarkable 15 years, the Bulgarian edition of the competition engaged over 130 participants locally.
“FameLab was more than a competition – the initiative made an instant impact, acting as a catalyst for partnerships, projects and cultural engagement. It changed the public perception about science communication and raised awareness about its value not only among the general public, but scientists too.” – Ivaylo Slavov, Member of the Jury of FameLab and co-founder of Sofia Science Festival
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.
In Bulgaria the competition was organised by British Council and Forum Democrit, with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Aurubis Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian FameLab winners throughout the years are:
- 2007 – Rosen Ugrinov, biophysicist
- 2008 – Venelin Kozhuharov, nuclear physicist
- 2009 – Aneta Yovcheva, chemist
- 2010 – Hristo Kolev, chemist
- 2011 – Alexandrina Al-Jassem, geneticist
- 2012 – Boris Tsenov, archaeobotanist
- 2013 – Galya Pencheva, mathematician
- 2014 – Alexey Mitev, physician
- 2015 – Dimitar Zhelev, geographer (FameLab All Stars edition)
- 2016 – Petar Eftimov, biochemist and veterinarian
- 2017 – Veronika Koleva, chemist
- 2018 – Boris Yanachkov, chemist
- 2019 – Dimitry Dashinov, hydrobiologist
- 2020 – Ivo Iliev, physicist
- 2021 – Bozhidar Stefanov, chemist (FameLab All Stars edition)
The growing number of young scientists with acquired skills in science communication became the foundation for starting the Sofia Science Festival in Bulgaria in 2011.