Competition FAQ for International Lab Organisers

You have questions regarding the organisation of an international Falling Walls Lab?
Find answers to the most common organiser questions in the competition FAQ below.

What is the Falling Walls Lab?

Three minutes is all it takes! Falling Walls Lab is a world-class pitch competition, networking forum, and stepping stone that brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary pool of students, researchers, and early-career professionals by providing a stage for breakthrough ideas both globally and locally. Our multifaceted formats support our participants in driving their innovations and develop their communication skills, fostering collaboration and creating a space for our impactful and sustainable community to thrive.

Throughout the year, renowned academic institutions, such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Stanford University, and ETH Zürich, host international 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.

The winner of each international Lab qualifies for the global Finale in Berlin on 8 November, wins a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Conference, and takes part in a broad extended programme during their stay. 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 Conference.

Why should we host a Lab?

Falling Walls Labs are a platform for outstanding and innovative research work and ideas. As such, Falling Walls Labs are great:

  • networking events: connect local innovators with others and strengthen their link to the regional (scientific) landscape
  • recruiting events: give outstanding academics a stage to present their novel ideas
  • marketing/publicity events: increase the visibility of your institution in the region

What will hosting a Lab cost us?

Our aim is to keep the costs as low as possible without compromising the quality of the event. The Falling Walls Foundation does not cover any expenses except for your winner’s accommodation from 8-9 November at our partner hotel and their ticket to the Conference.

As an academic institution, you likely already have access to the necessary infrastructure (location, print production budget, etc.) to host a Lab. The only additional costs you should have are the winner’s travel expenses (economy flight to/from Berlin), and possibly one or two additional hotel nights. Finalists will also appreciate your support in helping them create their submission videos for our online video library. We, therefore, encourage you to acquire suitable sponsors for your event to help cover the costs.

How do we sign up to host a Lab?

If you are interested in hosting a Falling Walls Lab, please contact the Falling Walls Lab team (lab@falling-walls.com). We will then be in touch to discuss further steps with you and to send you the initial briefing materials. We advise that you already consider securing a date and venue for the event, as well as the resources (human & financial) necessary to host a Lab. For more information, please also have a look at our Launch a Lab page.

Who is eligible to apply to our Lab?

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.

Eligibility Criteria
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.

Please note, applicants do not have to be enrolled in your institution to be eligible to apply to your Lab.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The jury uses three criteria to evaluate presentations:

  1. Breakthrough factor (50%): How innovative is the proposed idea?
  2. Relevance/Impact (40%): How relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?
  3. Structure/Performance (10%): How convincing was the presentation?

Our question is not listed here. What should we do?

If your question is not answered here, please send us an email via lab@falling-walls.com and we will promptly reply. Thanks!

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