Each year from March to October, renowned academic institutions around the world host local Falling Walls Labs to showcase the quality, diversity, and passion of their region’s most innovative minds. In three minutes each, participants are given the opportunity to present their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time to peers, a high-calibre jury of experts from academia and business, and the general public.
Past presentations at Falling Walls Lab have ranged in topic from ‘Breaking the Wall of Cancer with a Fruit Fly’ to ‘Breaking the Wall of Energy Insecurity in Africa’. The breakthrough factor (how innovative is the proposed idea?), potential impact of the presented work (how relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?), and performance (how convincing was the presentation?) help the jury determine the winner, who qualifies for the global Finale in Berlin on 7 November and wins a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Science Summit, where the finalists get to interact and network with the world’s movers and shakers of science, business, and policy-making.
During their multi-day stay in Berlin, the 100 finalists take part in a broad extended programme that includes a coaching session and networking dinner, expert workshops on a broad range of topics such as career development, entrepreneurial skills, and academic publishing, and events hosted by prestigious German research organisations such as the German Research Foundation (DFG). At the global Finale, the finalists compete to become the Breakthrough Winner in the Emerging Talents category of Falling Walls, taking home the title and prize money, and receiving the opportunity to pitch their idea once again on the grand stage of the Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year, which, throughout the day, hosts leading experts, changemakers, and luminaries, including Nobel laureates and Leibniz Prize winners.
The international network of Falling Walls Labs includes renowned academic institutions from over 60 countries. Stanford University, ETH Zurich, Tohoku University, and the University of Cape Town are only a few of the universities that have recently participated in the Falling Walls Lab programme.
Falling Walls Lab is organised by the Falling Walls Foundation and generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Berlin-Senate, Google, and Huawei. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).