The British Council’s Country Director Elizabeth White has said the organisation wants to encourage more young women to take part in its annual Famelab science communication competition.
Famelab, a partnership between the British Council, the Cheltenham Science Festival and the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology marks its tenth anniversary this year.
The competition attracted 1800 applicants last year in heats around Egypt and this year has switched to a digital format to encourage more people to take part.
Competitors must explain a scientific concept in three minutes, using simple props that they can carry on to a stage.
At a signing of a three-year agreement to continue the partnership between the British Council and the ASRT, Ms White said that the day of the signing, 9 October was also marked in the UK as Ada Lovelace Day – a day named after an early English scientist and dedicated to promoting women in sciences, technology and mathematics.
Ada Lovelace, who was born in London in 1815, is credited with producing what can be described as the first computer programme in 1840. It was an algorithm designed to produce calculations on a computing machine designed by the inventor Charles Babbage. The machine itself was never produced, but Ada’s work from the period is recognised as research on what could today be described as computers and software.
“Nearly two hundred years later we still need far more efforts to encourage women and girls to pursue education in STEM subjects.
“I hope, through Famelab, we can encourage more women to pursue their studies and research in science and engineering and demonstrate that it is no longer unconventional for women to study these subjects,” said Ms White.
She also noted that two women, Frances H. Arnold and Donna Strickland, had recently been awarded Nobel Prizes for their work in chemistry and physics respectively.
“All Nobel winners must begin their careers somewhere, and who knows, perhaps Famelab is helping to produce a Nobel winner right here in Egypt today,” added Ms White
“Famelab is one of the most successful science initiatives on the national and international level. The competition has received a lot of public acceptance and respect,” said the president of the ASRT, Professor Mahmoud M Sakr
“During the last two years this close cooperation between the British Council and ASRT has resulted in a lot of success,” he said.
Applications are now open to take part in the 2018-19 Famelab competition. The competition is open to to anyone aged between 18 and 40 working in or studying technology, engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics or maths. This includes private and public sector employees.
The deadline to enter is October 31 and the winner of the final will go on to the world final which is held in London during the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK.
For more information and to apply to take part please visit Famelab page.