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IBL-PhD-student Michelle Spierings talking science

IBL-PhD-student Michelle Spierings delivered a great performance at the FameLab national final on the 21st of April. She is now also happy to be back behind her desk.

Michelle is back to writing papers for her PhD-thesis after having been in the spotlight for quite a while. She spoke about her own work on the evolution of language, using zebrafinches and human infants, in the Leiden heat and the second round of the FameLab competition to get through to the national finals. She prepared her second catchy elevator talk of 3 minutes on another topic in the finals. This time it was about underwater noise pollution caused by human activities that has potentially negative effects on aquatic animals.

Making economy and ecology meet under water

Michelle addressed that science can yield information and understanding which may avoid unnecessary restrictions on industrial activities offshore as well as avoid unnecessary damage to the marine life and the underwater environment: “making economy and ecology meet”. She had again an excellent performance with scientific content, clearly explained and a take-home message that will echo. Her story reached second place and the jury commented that she told it with much passion and enthusiasm.

FameLab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world and the winner of the Dutch competition in 2015 became Marcia Brandenburg-Goddard. She won the NTR Audience Award and the Dutch FameLab prize with a moving talk about the neuroscience behind autism. The jury members commented on Marcia’s excellent use of analogies, her ability to engage with the audience and her passion for science. She will represent The Netherlands at the FameLab International final in the UK, competing against 27 other national winners from around the world.


  • Michelle’s FameLab talk on vimeo
  • De kennis van nu” – tv show as broadcasted on the 22nd of April
  • Pages about the international finals on the 3rd and 4th of June 2015
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