During this Winners Session on the Top 10 breakthroughs in the Emerging Talents category, students, researchers, and early-career professionals present their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time. From a fast and affordable medical device that improves neonatal health disparity to data storage revolutions, and from a novel waste-to-fuel process that combats energy insecurity in Africa to an examination into the use of phages in treating antibiotic-resistant infections, these up-and-coming innovators are leading the way to a better future by developing new technologies. Jury Chair Claudie Haigneré, astronaut and former French Minister of Research and New Technologies, is convinced: “We’ve been immersed in exciting high-level research in which young people have been committed, passionate, responsible and confident in finding innovative solutions to local and global problems.”


We are delighted to announce the ten winners in the category Emerging Talents:


Breaking the Wall of Fast Charging
A patented heat treatment gives way to a charging speed 10 times faster than that of lithium-ion batteries.


Breaking the Wall of Safe Water Access
A low-cost and easy-to-operate filter poses a solution for removing arsenic and other pollutants, that populate the groundwater of over 200 million people, according to WHO.


Breaking the Wall of Data Latency and Loss
Dutta brings together topologically stable nano-skyrmions and fast dynamics of ferrimagnetic materials to break out of the trilemma wall.


Breaking the Wall of Energy-Efficient Data Storage
Explores the discovery and improvement of “magnetoelectric” materials which might power the next generation of computers, phones and hitherto unthought-of new devices.


Breaking the Wall of Democratizing Artificial Intelligence
Mutembei Kariuki develops AI that will aid companies in establishing solar infrastructure projects and agriculture, simultaneously tackling the democratisation of AI and youth unemployment in Africa.


Breaking the Wall of Unsustainable Agriculture
Martínez Barrón has developed a low-cost infrared spectral analyser that determines the nutrients present in the soil, optimising fertiliser allocation, increasing yield and improving sustainable agriculture.


Breaking the Wall of Coronary Artery Disease
Moussi has designed a catheter delivery system with integrated microneedles, enabling localised delivery of therapeutics into targeted blood vessel walls, optimising the treatment for the deadliest disease in the world.


Breaking the Wall of Antibiotic Resistant Infections
With antibiotic resistance on the rise, Rimon examines the use of phages in treating unresponsive patients.


Breaking the Wall of Neonatal Health Disparity
Tabassum’s device allows for the measurement of biomarker levels within just 10 minutes, providing a solution for the potentially fatal delay in diagnosis and treatment of infants.


Breaking the Wall of Energy Insecurity in Africa
Recipient of the LOREAL/UNESCO Women in Science Award in 2019, Tucker has developed a novel waste-to-fuel process to produce diesel and electricity for modular, off-grid applications in a Sub-Saharan African context.

Marie-Claude Bay obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science from EPFL (CH) in 2013 and her Master’s degree in Materials Science from ETH Zurich (CH) in 2016. She has just obtained her PhD degree on new battery technologies from Albert-Ludwigs-University (DE) and EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (CH), where she is currently continuing with her research.

Micaela Belmonte is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is 22 years old and is currently studying chemical engineering at Universidad Tecnologica Nacional, where she also teaches and researches. She is concerned about environmental issues and thinks that we have to be more conscious about this wonderful planet and take care of it. Thinking about solutions that could help other people is one of the most important things for Micaela.

Tanmay Dutta is a researcher by profession, engineer by training, and curious by nature. He is passionate about finding innovative technology to create impactful sustainable solutions for future information storage. Currently, Tanmay is a Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow at EMPA in Switzerland, working on making ultra-small, stable and fast skyrmionic memory for future data storage solutions. He completed his PhD from the National University of Singapore, solving pertinent problems in BPM and HAMR technologies for hard disk drives (HDDs), pushing the data density beyond 5Tb/in2.

Jonas K. H. Fischer studied physics at the University of Augsburg and at Osaka University, focusing on superconductors and on nanoporous Metal-organic frameworks. From 2015 to 2018, he was a researcher in Augsburg. His PhD thesis involved the search for ferroelectric materials among the organic charge-transfer salts. He participated in the collaborative research center TRR 80 and was a Board member of its graduate school. Since 2018, he is a Postdoc in Prof. Kimura’s group at Tokyo University, working on magnetoelectric multiferroics – materials which might power the next generation of IT devices.

Mutembei Kariuki is Co-Founder of Fastagger. Mutembei has been interested in technology, entrepreneurship and leadership development and worked with the organisation in Kenya, Austria, India, and Japan. He has been involved in social entrepreneurship through AIESEC and worked in Brazil, India and The Philippines to support social enterprises with Potencia Ventures. His passion for Technology then lead him to Japan where he was part of the transfer of hazardous waste treatment technology to Kenya by building a partnership between Japanese companies, the Kenya and Japanese governments. He also spent this time learning about emerging technologies such as the Internet of things and 3D printing that he believes will radically improve the quality of life for humanity.

Humberto Martínez Barrón was born and raised in Mexico. Growing up, he was witness to disadvantages facing small Mexican farms with respect to larger farms in developing countries – disadvantages that often result in increased poverty. He decided to start looking for solutions, so Humberto studied Mechatronics Engineering and found that he could use science to empower farmers in his home country to optimize their crops while reducing their costs. Humberto has always had a passion for creating new things. Seeing the problems facing his generation in the next thirty years, he hopes he can help build a better future.

Khalil Moussi received a BS degree in Electromechanical Engineering in 2013 and an MS degree in Robotics in 2014 from the National Engineering School of Sfax, Tunisia. Khalil received the ‘Top Student’ award at the National Engineering School of Sfax, Tunisia, in 2013. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Khalil has strong leadership skills being a scout leader in Tunisia since 2012, and Vice-Chair of the IEEE-Chapter at KAUST (2017-2019).

Amit Rimon is a medical student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Tsameret military tract with an MSc in microbiology in Ronen Hazan’s lab at the faculty of dentistry. After enjoying his first year of medical school, Amit heard Dr Hazan’s lecture and asked if he could join his lab. In his lab, the first person Amit met was his future mentor, another Tsameret. He decided then that when he grew up, he wanted to be a clinician and a researcher. One with such an ambition must combine research with medical studies from the very start. So here he is – an MsC student at Hazan’s lab and a fourth-year medical student.

Shawana Tabassum is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler, where she directs the Biosensors and Bioinformatics Laboratory. Her research is focused on micro/nano-optics, electronics, microfluidics, and their applications in biomedicine and precision agriculture. She received her BSc degree in electrical engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh, and her PhD degree in electrical and computer engineering from Iowa State University (ISU), Ames, IA, USA, in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Dr Tabassum was a recipient of the Making a Difference Award (2021), Breakthrough of the Year Award in the Emerging Talents Category of Falling Walls (2020), Robert J. Menges Award for outstanding research in educational development (2020), Postdoctoral Scholar Excellence Award for teaching and mentoring students (2020), Best global impact innovation prize from ISU’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship (2020, 2019), Biomedical Engineering Society’s career development award (2019), Research Excellence Award (2018), and the Best paper award finalist at IEEE Sensors conference (2016).

Chelsea Tucker is a doctoral researcher at the Catalysis Institute, at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on the development of a novel process and catalyst for a modular biogas-to-diesel process that is off-grid and robust for a Sub-Saharan African context. Currently, Chelsea is the research coordinator for the BRICS Waste-to-Fuel project which includes researchers from South Africa, India, and Brazil. Chelsea Tucker is a L’Oreal for Women in Science Awardee and is a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholar and Allan Gray Orbis Fellow.

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