A competition described as the science world's equivalent of Pop Idol will be taking place in Oxford next week.

Nesta FameLab, now in its third year, is holding its regional finals on Saturday at Science Oxford, centre for science communication based in St Clements.

Entrants get three minutes to prove to the judges they've got the clarity and charisma to bring science alive.

After training in presentation skills, finalists get another three minutes to share their passion with a public audience. One finalist and one reserve go forward from each regional heat to attend a media masterclass.

The seven regional winners compete for £2,000, an internship with Channel 4 and an international tour. The final is in June at the Cheltenham Science Festival.

Last year's winner, Jonathan Wood, e-mail pic availabledeputy editor of Oxford-based journal Materials Today, said: "I've gained a real confidence and drive to go out and find the opportunities to speak, perform, and have fun with the science that interests me.

"It is a brilliant experience, and it's not only about the opportunity of fame and fortune. FameLab forces you to think more carefully about how science works and what catches the imagination."