The Falling Walls Foundation is launching a new global initiative: The International Year of Science Engagement will boost the exchange between science and society by empowering, connecting and scaling ground-breaking concepts in science engagement and promoting scientific literacy around the world. The initiative will create a truly global network of science communicators, institutions and representatives from politics, business and society.


We will tap the wonder and awe inherent in science in order to massively increase the availability and coverage of science engagement. By proclaiming an International Year dedicated to science engagement, the UN would recognise how much of an essential asset for the future of humankind this is. Launching and scaling this global initiative, Falling Walls will build on its format Falling Walls Engage and the foundation’s expertise in science engagement. Engage is supported in its endeavour by global partners such as the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. The John Templeton Foundation has already agreed its support to the ambitious undertaking of initiating an International Year of Science Engagement.

In the first step until the End of 2020, the Falling Walls Foundation is going to explore diverse socio-cultural concepts and contexts of science engagement, identify strategic, scientific and funding partners of the initiative and define concrete steps towards the International Year Science Engagement.

At this very moment, humanity faces the greatest challenges of its time. Irreversible processes require disruptive changes in order to steer humankind towards sustainable development and growth. A fact-based public discourse and evidence-based policy-making can only thrive in environments where research and the basic principles of the scientific process are understood and appreciated by the majority of society. It is up to scientists and science-driven institutions to find meaningful ways to engage with non-scientists in order to improve mutual understanding and bridge the perceived gap between academia and its broader ecosystem. A globally coordinated effort towards science engagement is thus crucial in solving the world’s grand challenges, and, ultimately, achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



The United Nations designate International Years to draw attention to major issues and to encourage action addressing global concerns with far-reaching ramifications. An International Year (IY) is a mighty tool for building global multi-stakeholder networks. For one year, anywhere in the world, organisations and individuals from business, society, academia and politics rally around the proclaimed issue. Clusters of international and interdisciplinary networks as well as nodes for future collaboration are established. This concentration of information and views allows to reach for more than what one nation, sector or field could achieve on their own. Ultimately, this knowledge pool is one step on the way towards reaching the SDGs.



If you would like to know more about the International Year of Science Engagement or get involved, please get in touch with the International Year team at Falling Walls: internationalyear@falling-walls.com

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