21 April 2015
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Biographies FameLab National Finalists
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FameLab aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who inspire
people to see the world from a new perspective… in just three minutes! Since
its birth at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, 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 with more than 5000 young scientists and engineers participating in
over 25 different countries.
Communicating science accessibly and attractively is an ever-growing priority
for researchers worldwide. FameLab helps young scientists acquire valuable
skills to communicate their work to non-scientific audiences. By doing so,
researchers not only challenge common stereotypes of scientists, but also
help to justify public funding for their research.
FameLab Netherlands 2015
The ten Finalists in FameLab Netherlands were selected at four heats
organised in partnership with University of Groningen / Science LinX, Leiden
University, Radboud University / Radboud UMC and Wageningen University
and Research Centre. All Finalists participated in a Masterclass in Media and
Science Communication hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts
and Sciences, the national FameLab partner. The Masterclass was given by
FameLab UK trainer Malcolm Love and NTR presenter Bart Meijer. The National
Final is organised in partnership with Museum Boerhaave in Leiden. The ten
Finalists will compete against one another at Museum Boerhaave to see who
will be crowned the winner of FameLab Netherlands 2015!
FameLab Netherlands Prize
The overall winner will travel to the UK in June to attend the Cheltenham
Science Festival and to take part in the FameLab International (semi) Final,
competing against 25 other national FameLab Finalists from around the world.
The FameLab International Final is co-produced by Cheltenham Festivals and
the British Council and held at the Cheltenham Science Festival each June.
NTR Audience Award
Dutch broadcaster NTR will present the NTR Audience Award to the FameLab
Finalist who receives the highest number of votes from the audience. The
audience has two opportunities to vote, there will be an online vote on the
NPO Wetenschap website in advance of the Final and a vote during the
National Final. The winner of the Audience Award will have the opportunity to
undertake a tailor-made media Internship at NTR.
FameLab on De Kennis van Nu
NTR will make a TV programme about FameLab which will be broadcasted on
Wednesday 22 April at 19.20 on NPO2.
‘South African-born British biologist and great communicator
Lewis Wolpert stated: “Science can be quite uncomfortable to
live with. It offers no hope for an afterlife, it tolerates no magic
and it doesn't tell us how to live."
Thus, one of the biggest challenges for science will always
be its acceptance by society at large. We will have to explain
over and over how science works and what it can – and cannot
– accomplish. The importance of helping young scientists to
learn how to communicate their research effectively can never
Professor Dr Hans Clevers
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
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Sir Geoffrey Adams
Sir Geoffrey Adams is British Ambassador to the
Netherlands. He joined the FCO in 1979 and has previously
served in a range of Diplomatic Service appointments,
including as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign
Secretary and as Ambassador to Iran. Before taking up his
post as Ambassador in The Hague, Sir Geoffrey was the UK
Political Director from 2009 until 2013.
Since 2011, Paul Römer has been Managing Director of NTR,
the independent Dutch broadcasting service specialising
in information, education and culture. Prior to joining NTR,
Paul held various positions in the broadcasting organisation
TROS, following 15 years’ experience with Endemol, the
world’s largest television production company.
Liesbeth Staats is one of the faces of the science TV
programme ‘De Kennis van Nu’ and the current affairs
programme Brandpunt. Prior to this she excelled in
the world of journalism as a reporter and presenter at
AVRO’s EenVandaag. For years she was the face of NOS’s
‘Jeugdjournaal’. Furthermore, she won the Cinekid Audience
Award in 2005 for her reporting on the Tsunami in Asia for
“As a journalist you have a Carte Blanche to ask all the
unanswered questions”. This is what has always fascinated
Liesbeth and drawn her to journalism.
Liesbeth studied Dutch Literature at the University of
Amsterdam and furthered her study in literature at the
University of Sorbonne in Paris. During this time she did
an internship at TV station AT5 in Amsterdam. In 2011 she
started her company, StaatsTV and she then collaborated
with The Media Sisters. These two creative organisations
came together to develop formats for TV and internet.
Sanne Deurloo is Editor-in-Chief of Kennislink.nl, the Dutch
popular science website powered by NEMO. She studied
chemistry at the University of Amsterdam, but is interested
in all kinds of science. She loves that she can ask almost
everything as a science journalist and in her experience
most scientists are very willing to talk about their work. She
is blessed with a big and wonderful group of editors who
are experienced in their science fields.
Before taking up her post at Kennislink, Sanne worked at
offline magazines and as Head of Programmes at Science
Centre NEMO. Now and then she gets the opportunity to
talk about science on the radio or television (e.g. De Kennis
van Nu and RTL Late night). She also thinks it is important
that scientists can talk about their research at a party in a
way that people like to listen to it.
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Professor Dr Vanessa Evers
Vanessa Evers is Full Professor of Human Media Interaction
at the University of Twente. Her research focuses on Human
Interaction with Autonomous Agents such as robots or
machine learning systems and cultural aspects of Human
Computer Interaction. She specifically likes to take theories
on human behaviour from social psychology and see if
similar processes occur when we interact with technology.
She is best known for her work on social robotics such
as the FROG robot (fun robotic outdoor guide), that can
interpret human behaviour automatically and respond to
people in a socially acceptable way.
She received a M.SC. in Information Systems from the
University of Amsterdam, and a Ph.D. from the Open
University, UK. During her Master studies she spent two
years at the Institute of Management Information Studies of
the University of New South Wales, Sydney. After her Ph.D.
she worked for the Boston Consulting Group, London and
later as Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam’s
Institute of Informatics. Vanessa was a visiting researcher at
Stanford University (2005-2007). She has published over 80
peer reviewed publications in human computer interaction
and human robot interaction. She serves on Programme
Committees of HRI, CHI, CSCW and ACM Multimedia.
Professor Dr Jeroen Geurts
TV interviews (including a weekly radio item on ‘Radio
Eénvandaag’). He has also written several opinion articles,
articles for newspapers and columns for popularised
scientific magazines (www.jeroengeurts.nl).
Jeroen is an advocate of public education and co-founded
(and now directs) Stichting Brein in Beeld, a foundation
that strives to translate scientific knowledge to the general
population and facilitates interdisciplinary research between
(neuro)scientists. As Chairman of ‘De Jonge Akademie’ from
2013 until 2015, he participated actively in the debate on
Dutch science policy and hosts several events for the public
to stress the place of science in society.
Pádraic is a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck
Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany,
where he is researching various aspects of population
genetics in plants as well as continuing with his interest
in photosynthesis (where light becomes life). Apart from
his research into genetics and photosynthesis he is also
passionate about communicating science to the public, this
passion led him to win last year’s international FameLab
competition. He believes that; “Science is our way of
exploring the universe and scientists are the explorers,
science communication is about sharing the stories and
insights from our adventures with the rest of humanity”.
Jeroen Geurts is Professor in Translational Neurosciences
and Head of the Department of Anatomy and
Neurosciences at VUMC. Since the publication of two
books for the general audience in 2007 (‘Over de kop’) and
2009 (‘Kopstukken’), he has given more than 100 public
lectures (including Universiteit van Nederland) and radio/
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PROGRAMME - FAMELAB NATIONAL FINAL
Arrival, tea/coffee at Museum Boerhaave Leiden
Opening and welcome by Professor Dr Dirk van Delft, Director
Museum Boerhaave Leiden
Introduction finalists by Liesbeth Staats, NTR Presenter
and 3-minute presentations by FameLab Finalists
Title: Molecular motors in action: obtaining left and right handed
molecules on demand
Title: Making economy and ecology meet under water
Title: Green up your Life with microalgae
Encarna Micó Amigo
Title: Give me an accelerometer, and I will tell you how
dangerous your huntington proteins are
Jeroen van Baar
Title: Rethinking human nature
Title: Proteins, the building blocks of life
Title: The magic of magnetism
Title: Navigating the neural highway
Jury deliberations, NTR audience vote and science quiz
Title: It’s all in the mix: hybrids in nature
Prize giving by Paul Römer, Managing Director NTR and
Sir Geoffrey Adams, British Ambassador to the Netherlands
Title: From Solvent to Solution
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Jeroen van Baar
After graduating from University College Utrecht in 2011,
Jeroen van Baar (1990) studied cognitive neuroscience
in Utrecht and Paris. He is currently a PhD student in
decision neuroscience at the Donders Institute for Brain,
Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen.
In 2014 Jeroen published the book ‘De
prestatiegeneratie: een pleidooi voor middelmatigheid’
(The achievement generation: on the merits of
mediocrity; AtlasContact). He lives in Amsterdam and
enjoys playing music, writing, reading and spending time
Ryan Bogaars is currently finishing his Master in
Sustainable Process and Energy Technologies and
working as a lecturer at the Rotterdam University of
Applies Sciences. With a bit of luck he will start a PhD
on the subject of new solvents based on liquids found
in nature, a joined programme of the universities of
Leiden and Delft, in a few months. He enjoys working in
an interdisciplinary field. Ryan believes that talking to
different researchers and finding different views on a
subject can lead to interesting finds.
In his spare time Ryan likes to read classic novels. Homer,
Dante and James Joyce are sources of inspiration for
Ryan to make his work not only scientifically significant
but also understandable and enjoyable to read.
Mirte completed her Bachelor’s in Biology at the VU
University in Amsterdam, and during her Masters in
ecology at the VU she became interested in conservation
The main goal of her current research at the Wageningen
University is to investigate genomic variation within
and between different populations of wild boars,
domesticated pigs and closely related species.
She is convinced that genomic tools will become of
high importance for conservation efforts in the (near)
future. Societal relevance has always been an important
motivation for Mirte’s research. An interdisciplinary
environment stimulates the implementation of scientific
research in society, and therefore clear communication is
Marcia obtained her Master’s degree in Clinical
Neuropsychology cum laude at Leiden University in
2012. During her master’s programme she started her
doctoral research at the Department of Clinical Child and
Adolescent Studies. Marcia’s current research is focused
on brain mechanisms underlying social dysfunction in
autism. Additionally, she is involved in thesis supervision
and teaching both bachelor’s and master’s degree-level
courses. She also counsels children with developmental
Marcia spends her spare time riding quarter horses
(western style, she fancies herself quite the cowgirl), salsa
dancing, and singing (quite often off-key).
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As a little girl, Jessie loved everything to do with food.
She would stand in her mother’s kitchen and drive her
crazy with questions about what was healthy and what
not. Not much has changed since then, except that now
Jessie is studying Nutrition and Health and driving not
her mother but the Professors crazy with questions.
Jessie’s major is Epidemiology and Public Health. By
appealing to large groups of people, she hopes to help
them improve their quality of life. As part of her MSc
research, she has been involved in developing proteinfortified
meals for elderly people. This will also be the
focus of her talk at the National Final. Jessie is currently
doing research at Imperial College in London. She very
much enjoys living in London and plans to stay in the UK
after graduating in August.
Originally from Portugal from a seaside town near Lisbon.
At the age of 17 Joao left to study abroad in USA, Wales
and England where he studied Marine Biology and
Biotechnology. Somehow along the way the interest
in smaller and smaller creatures became bigger and
bigger taking him from monitoring phytoplankton in the
South West of Ireland to doing his PhD in Wageningen
UR. At AlgaePARC facilities he looks to understand
the bioprocess for the cultivating microalgae that can
produce interesting molecules.
He also takes dance classes in instant composition and
enrols in extreme endurance sports like ultra-running.
Johan Mentink is a passionate physicist at Radboud
University Nijmegen fascinated by magnetism. His
research focuses on the theory of ultrafast magnetism.
In particular, he aims to understand how fast and how
effective magnetism can be manipulated by using the
electronic origin of magnetism itself, and how this can
be used to meet the societal and economic demands
for smaller, faster and more energy-efficient magnetic
storage. He also loves listening to music, playing
percussion and is a proud father of wonderful daughters.
Encarna Micó Amigo
Encarna is a Spanish biomedical engineer from Valencia.
Her enthusiasm for discovering new cultures drove
her to study all around the world: Valencia (UPV),
Barcelona (UB), Japan (Kagoshima University) and in
Italy (Politecnico di Torino). After her studies, she worked
in the Biomedical Engineering Faculty of Kathmandu
(Nepal), where she taught “Biomechanics” and learned to
communicate in Nepalese.
Encarna’s passion for science was the main motivation
to land in the Netherlands, where she is currently doing
a PhD at the VU University in Amsterdam and at the
company “McRoberts” under the programme Moving
Beyond, funded by the Marie Curie FP7 scholarship.
Her project is based on the study of progression and
preclinical parameters of neurodegenerative diseases
with the use of low-cost, light and small sensors
(accelerometers and gyroscopes). It contributes to
clinical practice while creating substantial value for
public health. Thus, the objectives of Encarna’s research
perfectly match with her ethical principles.
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From all the animals, are humans really unique? This
question has captivated Michelle’s interest for many
years. She started studying biology with the ambition to
find some answers. Currently, Michelle is working as a
PhD student at Behavioural Biology at Leiden University.
Here she is trying to unravel the evolution of language.
Language might be one of the most unique aspects of
humans, but by studying songbirds, Michelle sheds some
light on this –maybe overstated– claim.
Besides working with birds, she likes to spend her free
time trekking through nature to see them in the wild.
Matea was born in Croatia, where she completed her
Bachelor and Master studies in Chemistry. After this, she
joined the Feringa lab in Groningen where she currently
pursues her PhD in the study of molecular motors.
In her free time, Matea enjoys dancing, travelling around
the world and spreading the positive spirit of science.
Her future dream job would be doing research projects
related to everyday life with children and everyone who
feels like a child at heart.
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British Council Netherlands
1017 RZ Amsterdam
Manon de Ruijter
Head Programmes & Partnerships Benelux
+31 (0)20 524 76 70
Anna Devi Markus
+31 (0)20 524 76 71
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