Thursday, April 15, 2010

Communicating Biotech: Taking the less travelled path

Communicating science is a challenging task. Who is interested to know more about nanotechnology, genetic engineering, tissue culture or marker assisted selection among the general public? Who would take time to read about these technologies? Science has to be taught in a very innovative way that will raise the students’ or the audience’s inquisitiveness. Many abhorred science in schools but are hooked up to CSI, Discovery Channel and other science programmes on TV. So, when I was brainstorming with my colleagues on an event to commemorate MABIC’s 10th anniversary, we wanted to take the less travelled path…The event had to reflect MABIC’s role, the various stakeholders we have been working with over the years, our objectives, and be able to reach out to a wide range of audience and attract media coverage. We also wanted to teach biotech to the general public without them realizing that they are being taught. And it has to be innovative. That is how Biotechnology Carnival was conceived.

Block your diary now: 18-26 Sept, National Science Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The carnival is jointly organized with the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and National Science Centre (NSC).

So, why did I say we are taking the less travelled path? Because you will see Malaysia’s leading fashion designers there: Keith Kee, Karl Ng, Shegar Chandran, Rahman Saif and Karen Liew. And also Miss Universe Malaysia 2009, Joannabelle Ng and first runner up Miss World Malaysia, Stephanie Chua. What are they doing at a biotechnology event, you may ask.

The designers are now busy designing their creations based on biotech motifs and I trust they must all be doing some research on biotechnology. And the two beauties are going to parade the designers’ creations along with other models. As the models do their catwalk, the audience will listen to the description of the design and enrich their knowledge on biotech. I am also eager to see how biotech can be translated into art… We are also organizing a fashion designing competition among students from fashion design schools, again based on biotech.

The following are the other activities planned for the carnival (all topics and themes will be based in biotech):

- Debates for schools
- Inter-school biotech quiz
- Writing competition for students
- Poster drawing competition for students
- Colouring competition
- Pop quizzes for all audience
- Debates for undergraduates
- Business plan writing competition
- Games
- Demonstration of DNA extraction
- Seminar on science communication
- Talks on career opportunities for life science graduates
- Talks on bioentrepreneurship
- Exhibition by universities, industry, and research institutes

Lots of goodies, prizes, freebies and more importantly FUN and KNOWLEDGE waiting to be given out during the carnival.

To keep yourself updated, visit our website.

By Mahaletchumy Arujanan

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