FAQ FOR Applicants
You have questions regarding applying to or participating in a Falling Walls Lab?
Answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found below.
What is the Falling Walls Lab?
Three minutes is all it takes! Falling Walls Lab is a global, fast-paced pitch competition for the next generation of outstanding innovators and creative thinkers. At one of over 90 international Labs, students, entrepreneurs, early-career researchers, and academics of all disciplines present their innovative ideas, competing to win their spot at the global Finale in Berlin.
In November, the 100 finalists from over 60 countries convene in Berlin as part of the larger Falling Walls Conference. At the Finale, they present their work in front of a distinguished jury and international guests, showcasing solutions for today’s most pressing challenges, and vying for the highly coveted “Young Innovator of the Year” title. Three awardees receive a cash prize and the opportunity to present once again at the Falling Walls Conference. There, they present their winning pitch to an audience of 750 industry leaders, investors, and international media representatives, sharing the stage with Nobel laureates and other luminaries.
Falling Walls Lab aims to reach a broad range of people from all professional backgrounds at the beginning of their careers. We are looking for university students, entrepreneurs, early-career researchers, and academics of all disciplines. Our aim is to provide our target demographic with a platform where they can present their innovative ideas and connect with fellow researchers and entrepreneurs from various fields. In order to pinpoint and reach these early-career innovators, we needed to develop a mechanism. We introduced our eligibility criteria to help us reach our target group and provide a level playing field for all participants.
You must be 18 years or older when submitting your application. There is no upper age limit for applicants.
You must fulfil at least one of the following formal requirements:
- You are currently enrolled in university and/or are currently a postdoc
- You received a Bachelor’s degree no more than 10 years ago
- You received a Master’s degree no more than 7 years ago
- You received a PhD no more than 5 years ago
*An MD (medical degree excl. a doctoral dissertation) is considered equivalent to a Master’s degree. A Dr. med. (medical degree incl. a doctoral dissertation) is considered equivalent to a PhD.
Group applications are not permitted, since individual factors such as grades are important parts of the evaluation process. Therefore, only individuals are allowed to apply to and present at a Falling Walls Lab. If you are a member of a group project, please select a group representative to submit an application. It is important that they clearly highlight their individual contribution to the group project in their application and presentation.
There are many reasons to apply:
- Be given a platform for your research and ideas
- Share your project, research work, or business ideas with other individuals dedicated to innovation
- Become a part of a global community breaking down walls in science and society
- Network and find new ways to collaborate with peers
- Win a trip (travel & accommodation included) to the global Finale in Berlin, Germany, including a ticket to the Falling Walls Conference
- Receive the opportunity to win a cash prize and to present on the grand stage of the Falling Walls Conference
What is the application process like?
Applications can be submitted via our website and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
To submit an application, please select the Lab for which you would like to apply. Please note that we cannot cover any travel/accommodation costs to international Labs, so it should be the Lab that is located closest to you.
Proceed by filling in all requested information (basic data, etc.), and be prepared to upload your CV in PDF format. Once you agree to the Terms & Conditions and submit your application, a window will appear confirming your successful submission, and a confirmation email will be sent to your email address.
After the respective application deadline passes, a committee will make its selection. They will then contact all applicants to let them know about the outcome of their application. Should you be selected to participate in a Lab, the local organisers will provide you with further details on the next steps.
Can I submit multiple applications?
No, you cannot submit multiple applications. Please choose the Lab that is located closest to you and submit the project that you would most like to present.
Can I apply to multiple locations?
No, you cannot apply to multiple locations at once. Please choose the Lab that is located closest to you and submit an application for that Lab. If you are not selected to participate at that Lab, please feel free to submit an application for another Lab that is accessible to you.
I don’t have a breakthrough yet. Can I apply anyway?
Our understanding of a breakthrough is an idea, a research project, a business model, or a social initiative, which is at the same time original/new, innovative (overcoming old ideas and concepts), and relevant to the problems of the world today. This means that your breakthrough could be a project you have already implemented, a research topic you are currently developing, or a business idea yet to be realised. Our jury members appreciate authentic presenters with a clear vision and proof of concept.
There are no costs/fees involved in participating in a Falling Walls Lab. Please note, however, that the Falling Walls Foundation and our international Lab organisers cannot cover the costs of travel/accommodation for international Labs.
The winners of our international Falling Walls Labs (our 100 finalists) win a trip to the global Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin, Germany in November. The local organiser will cover the finalist’s travel expenses to/from Berlin. The Falling Walls Foundation will cover the costs of accommodation at our partner hotel from 8-9 November, and will provide each finalist with a ticket to the Falling Walls Conference.
What are the evaluation criteria?
The jury uses three criteria to evaluate presentations:
- Breakthrough factor (50%): How innovative is the proposed idea?
- Relevance/Impact (30%): How relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?
- Structure/Performance (20%): How convincing was the presentation?
You do not have to disclose any “secret” details of your research during your presentation. Your three-minute presentation is best used by explaining the problem you are addressing and sharing the basic concept of your solution.
Can I reapply after having participated?
The Falling Walls Lab is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As such, once you participate in an international Lab, you are no longer eligible to apply for a future Lab.
My question is not listed here. What should I do?
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