The Falling Walls Science Summit 2023 provided a platform that once more united an inspiring and diverse group of Science Engagers, underscoring the collaborative spirit and celebrating impactful initiatives in the field of Science Engagement. The Falling Walls Engage Pitches not only highlighted the creative efforts but also marked another great moment in the journey of the Falling Walls Engage Community.

Among the standout projects showcased in the Top 20 Winners was our Breakthrough of the Year in Science Engagement: “STEM From Dance” by Yamilée Toussaint, which employs the transformative power of dance to empower girls with skills and confidence for STEM careers. She was able to present her project powerfully as she described her own experiences, giving the audience an insight into this neglected area of the education system.

Just to name some of the impressive projects among the Falling Walls Engage Winners: At “Atelier Labs”, presented by Bob Christer, the focus lies on collaborating with disabled children, chemists, and artists to foster inclusivity in academia. After his presentation, probably all audience members felt like children, fascinated by what is possible through science. “Coast 2 Coast”, founded by Emi Koch in Peru, provides educational resources for citizen science research projects, while “Neuro-G Project” in Nigeria, led by Kelechi Ezeudensi, focuses on neuroscience education in schools, with the mission to fight misconceptions about neurological diseases. To make this point in her Pitch, she not only had a model brain on stage with her but took her anger at these misconceptions and smashed the brain with a hammer leaving everyone eagerly anticipating her pitch.

These are just four of 20 remarkable projects, reflecting a global commitment to making science accessible and impactful. The success of the Falling Walls Engage Community and Pitch Day was a collaborative achievement, supported by numerous individuals, a committed jury, and advisory board. And, of course, a wonderfully engaging moderation by the presenter Elodie Chabrol, who not only guided us through the day and the projects, but also took to the stage and lightened the mood, for example by playing rock, paper, scissors with the entire audience. The audience was divided into two groups and had to decide as quickly as possible which of the shapes they would bet on to beat the other group. Seeing how quickly they tried to create human scissors (as you can see in the photo) made for a lot of fun and cleared the heads for the next exciting pitches.

The Summit showcased the power of collaboration and innovation in Science Engagement. The Top 20 Winners not only educated and inspired but also addressed real-world challenges. As the achievements of Engage Pitches 2023 are celebrated, and we thank our valuable partners, fostering new connections and potential collaborations for future initiatives that promise to further enrich the field of Science Engagement, we eagerly anticipate the ongoing growth of the Falling Walls Engage Community and the enduring positive impact these initiatives will have for Science Engagement.

"This year at Falling Walls Engage, we saw an amazing array of project that were changing people’s lives, by breaking down the wall between science and society. But just as importantly, it was fantastic to see the growing community of science engagers emerging from the competition over the years, who are sharing lessons and making a difference around the world."

Melanie Smallman

Associate Professor in Science and Technology Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Science Communication at UCL, UK

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