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Young scientists in the making


1 Dr Azian (second from right) with team N7T from SMK Sanzac comprising members (from second left) Nur Fathiha, Nurul Dania and Nur Muzhirah along with teacher Kuit Vui Ket (left) and principal Dr Shirley Tay Siew Hong (right).2 Ahmad Tajuddin (right) presenting a trophy to FameLab grand-prize winner Abhi..

1 Dr Azian (second from right) with team N7T from SMK Sanzac comprising members (from second left) Nur Fathiha, Nurul Dania and Nur Muzhirah along with teacher Kuit Vui Ket (left) and principal Dr Shirley Tay Siew Hong (right).2 Ahmad Tajuddin (right) presenting a trophy to FameLab grand-prize winner Abhi..

“Let science and technology preserve or enhance, but not disrupt the environment,” said N7T, the grand-prize winners of the first School Lab Malaysia national finals held at PJ Live Arts Centre, who walked away with RM5,000.

The three 15-year-old students from SMK Sanzac, Sabah, Nur Fathiha Osman, Nur Muzhirah Jalalemping and Nurul Dania Adnan, beat four other teams with their passionate presentation on symbiosis and how it applied to living things.

The second, third, fourth and fifth placings went to Psycho Science from SMKA Tun Datu Mustapha, Sabah; St Teresa1 from SMK St Teresa, Sarawak; Speed C from SMK Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur; and The Ingenious from Sekolah Tinggi Kluang, Johor, respectively.

Targeted at lower secondary students, School Lab is a science communication competition that aims to help students understand the exciting challenges of science, develop critical and creative thinking skills and, at the same time, gain confidence to present their understanding of scientific concepts.

Under the purview of the Education Ministry, and a collaboration between British Council Malaysia and Malaysian Industry Government-Group for High Technology (MIGHT), School Lab attracted 296 registered teams with over 100 video submissions nationwide before five teams were short-listed to present at the national finals.

Held concurrently was the second edition of FameLab Malaysia national finals.

FameLab is a partnership between British Council Malaysia, MIGHT and Cheltenham Festivals to search, develop and mentor young science and engineering communicators.

Opened to those aged 18 to 37 years old, FameLab’s second year saw 42 entries and 10 contestants were shortlisted. Contestants were required to present their scientific concepts in an effective yet creative way in three minutes.

Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia chairman Abhi Veerakumarasivam, 36, bagged the grand prize of RM3,000 from the FameLab Malaysia national finals with his interesting presentation on cancer genetics.

“Every five seconds, there is one person dying from the disease.

“There is little research done in Malaysia while there are so many interesting ways to treat the disease which need to be shared for public to understand,” he said.

Abhi will represent Malaysia to compete with over 30 global representatives at the FameLab International competition during the Cheltenham Festival in Britain in June.

The Audience Choice Award went to Dr Umaiyal Munusamy for her presentation, “Wonders of The Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria”, which garnered 84 votes.

“Making science accessible and attractive to a non-scientific audience through good communication is an ever-growing priority for researchers worldwide.

“By doing so, they do not merely change the common stereotype of the scientist as ‘the geek in white lab coat busy doing strange things’, but get the public to be more supportive and also justify public funding for their research,” said British Council Malaysia country director Sarah Deverall.

Before the finals, contestants of both competitions were given training by professionals on science communication skills by professionals including British science communicators and BBC presenter Dallas Campbell, while developing confidence and creativity in presentation.

The event saw also saw the presence of MIGHT joint-chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, president and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohd Yusuff Sulaiman and Education Ministry education planning and research division director Dr Azian Tengku Syed Abdullah.

   

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