Plenary Tables

1. Translating Science into medical application

New technologies enable easy and efficient editing of DNA sequences and ultra-fast sequencing of whole genomes. Recent advances in vaccine development yielded mRNA vaccines; potential applications include the promise to confer protection against various infectious diseases and to instil hope in combating cancer. Molecular technologies with the potential for biomedical application are evolving at an unprecedented speed now and they offer completely new possibilities for research and medicine. International experts from various fields will address opportunities and risks in the battle for improved global health.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Sartorius

With following speakers:

  • Uğur Şahin
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier
  • Christoph Huber
  • Maria Leptin
  • Oscar-Werner Reif
  • Mariette DiChristina

2. Green New Deal

The term climate crisis is increasingly replacing the term climate change – a shift that makes the magnitude of the future challenge even clearer. This challenge can only be met if science, society, politics and business pull together. And so, following the historical efforts of Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policy to overcome the Great Depression in the 1930s, the international panelists will assess central questions such as: How can a Green New Deal succeed? How may science, society, politics and, especially, a globalised business world find ways out of the global climate crisis?

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Elsevier, SAP, Siemens

With following Speakers:

  • Kumsal Bayazit
  • Mark Ferguson
  • Dieter Wegener
  • Martin Heinig
  • Andrea Noske
  • Ed Gerstner

3. Data for Health

Whether we’re analysing a pandemic, calculating people’s life expectancy, organizing health insurance, collecting patient responses to new therapies or whether we’re just making an appointment in a doctor’s office: No area is as closely related to data as healthcare. Panelists with different expertise will try answering questions on how we should meet the increasing role of data for health, how it should be collected and analysed. And what roles do politics and ethics play in the field of tension between publicly or privately financed, data driven health care systems?

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Bayer AG, HPI

With following Speakers:

  • Jeanne Kehren
  • Erwin Böttinger
  • Markus Kalliola
  • Jeff Dachis
  • Gottfried Ludewig
  • Zulfikar Abbany

4. Promoting Gender Equality for Innovation

Promotion of gender equality drives innovation both in science and in industrial organisations. However, we miss to put our scientific knowledge into practice. We must find ways to innovate our recruiting, work processes and most importantly our understanding of leadership. Thus, in this panel we will explore the questions: How to implement gender equality to increase the quality of innovation? What else needs to be changed? And for that matter, who needs to change: decision makers or policy makers shaping gender equality or those who are disadvantaged?

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation

With following Speakers:

  • Monika Lessl
  • Tatjana König
  • Simone Menne
  • Londa Schiebinger
  • Kumsal Bayazit
  • Stefanie Molthagen-Schnöring

5. Big Science for the Future – Rekindling Transatlantic Partnerships

How can a unifying vision be forged to create a roadmap for transatlantic science & technology? How can barriers in international cooperation be resolved to support global science diplomacy? The Plenary Table “Big Science for the Future – Rekindling Transatlantic Partnerships” will unite major leaders and visionaries from national labs, science and politics to: charter a strong scientific partnership, empower the research infrastructure to create sustainable solutions and strengthen resilience in our society for the future.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

With following Speakers:

  • Eric Isaacs
  • Ottoline Leyser
  • Charlotte Warakaulle
  • Sibylle Günter
  • Darion Akins
  • Georg Schütte

6. The Future of Work and Urban Planning

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant changes within existing city structures (like urban spaces) have become even more noticeable, therefore reinforcing the demand for novel visions as well as (system) innovations for metropolitan areas. The Plenary Table “The Future of Work and Urban Planning: Designing Innovative Interventions” will pursue the answers to the questions: How can new concepts, as well as interventions for sustainable and resilient urban structures, be created? What will these solutions look like? The discussion will explore and further evaluate the potential of these transformative approaches regarding: the public sphere, social inclusion, community involvement in urban planning, governance, mobility and other aspects of public infrastructure.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Leopoldina Akademie der Wissenschaften

With following Speakers:

  • Jutta Allmendinger
  • Doris Kleilein
  • Magdalena Skipper
  • Edgar Pieterse
  • Klaus Klaas Loenhart

7. Unlocking Pathways to a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy

The Plenary Table “Unlocking Pathways to a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy” will explore the challenges and opportunities that may arise from the successful deployment of hydrogen technologies aimed at building more resilient economies and energy systems, while ensuring climate neutrality. We want to draw attention to upscaling energy production from renewable sources, with the involvement of the Global South and advancing a strategically integrated global energy system.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

With following Speakers:

  • Marius Brand
  • Bernd Rech
  • Philip Green
  • Philippe Tanguy
  • Juliana Chan

Round Tables

1. Co-Creative Approaches: Shaping the Future of Science Engagement

This Round Table discussion will focus on the future of the Science Engagement field, with the Falling Walls Engage and the International Year of Science Engagement teams together with Science Engagement practitioners and relevant partners. How can we foster Science Engagement initiatives that aim to tackle local-global challenges and can contribute to a greater societal impact? Which initiatives can we develop to further potentiate the institutionalization of the Science Engagement field? In the Round Table, participants will discuss how to promote more participatory and co-creative approaches towards tackling the grand societal challenges associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The discussion will include the perspectives from several stakeholders such as Science Engagement practitioners and institutions, science institutions, civil society organizations, policymakers, funding institutions, and industry leaders. The learnings and conclusions of this Round Table will help to shape the 2022-2025 strategies of the Falling Walls Engage and International Year of Science Engagement initiatives.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung

With following Speakers:

  • Rebecca Winkels
  • Nick Ishmael-Perkins
  • Rodrigo Tapia Seaman
  • Tina Stengele
  • Wiebke Rössig
  • Kari Mugo

2. Computational Problems: The Future of Quantum Computing

The “Future of Quantum Computing” Round Table examines our current crossroads moment in the development of quantum computers. After 25 dynamic years of fundamental theoretical and experimental research, the top leaders in the field worldwide, and in Germany, have committed themselves to the development of quantum computers as a real technology, solving real computational problems. The panelists of this Round Table, leaders in this field for many years, are in a unique position to give their expert understanding of the critical issues – largely technical, but also financial and political – that will be key to the success of this enterprise.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Forschungszentrum Jülich

With following Speakers:

  • Christine Silberhorn
  • Rainer Blatt
  • Piet Schmidt
  • Oliver Ambacher
  • Frank Wilhelm-Mauch

3. Sustainable Agriculture: d4agrotech

The d4agrotech research and innovation initiative launched by the province of Lower Austria and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology aims to make agriculture and food production more sustainable, climate-friendly and efficient through digitalisation. The aim of this initiative is to develop and use (bio)sensors to collect data on soil fertility, water availability or threats to plant health, for example, and to derive reliable forecasts and decision-making options from them with the help of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) and to develop concrete solutions for farmers and food processors. This gives industry partners the opportunity to advance research and development projects through funded cooperation projects and thus to implement products on the market more quickly.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Austrian Institute of Technology

With following Speakers:

  • Jochen Danninger
  • Angela Sessitsch
  • Patrik Aspermaier
  • Barbara Diehl
  • Sebastian Vogler
  • Katinka Wolter
  • Otto Doblhoff-Dier
  • Kerstin Koren

4. Confidence in Research – Scientific Credibility in a Post-Pandemic World

Isaac Newton is credited with the famous saying: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” But how did he know which shoulders to stand on? This panel discussion will examine credibility in science in two ways: first, by looking at how public trust in science functions and how it is related to science communication and public information and transparency about science and research; and second, by looking at scientists themselves, exploring the question of what makes research results credible within science. Especially in the wake of the Covid pandemic in which science and research play a highly relevant role, we need to ask: What makes science credible? And how do different actors within the research ecosystem view and evaluate the credibility and general trustworthiness of science?

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Wissenschaft im Dialog

With following Speakers:

  • Markus Weisskopf
  • Jeanne Rubner
  • Ricarda Ziegler
  • Max Vögler
  • Sabine Kleinert

5. Science and Entrepreneurship for a Circular Future

The constant growth of our population, finite resources, and a linear flow of materials as we know it, are no longer compatible. Looking ahead, the human approach of take, make, and dispose must be replaced by a circular one. We believe that responsible leadership and advancements in science and innovation play a crucial role in this transformation. Rethinking materials, products and optimizing their life cycle not only helps to sustain our environment, but also proves to be a forward-looking business model for visionary entrepreneurs and investors. Together with sustainability experts, tech entrepreneurs, and investors, we reflect on today’s global sustainability challenges and explore: How can science-based tech solutions together with impact-driven mindsets promote a circular future?

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt

With following Speakers:

  • Helen Burdett
  • Heba Aguib
  • Anne Lamp
  • Fridtjof Detzner

6. Battery Research: New Batteries for Europe’s Green New Deal

Overcoming the climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The energy transition, which depends on the development of high-performance storage media, plays a key role in this. The “New Batteries for Europe’s Green New Deal” Round Table with chemist and Körber Prize winner Clare Grey gives an in-depth look at the state of battery research and at the same time discusses the research policy situation in Europe.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Körber Stiftung

With following Speakers:

  • Clare Grey
  • Tatjana König

Background Tables (by invitation only)


In cooperation with the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, Falling Walls is hosting this unique format to connect researchers in the physical sciences from all over the world. The symposium gathers our winners for the Falling Walls Breakthrough of the Year 2021 in Physical Sciences as well as partners from academia and business to discuss the most pressing issues and recent breakthroughs in this field.

Presented by: Falling Walls Foundation, Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung

With following Speakers:

  • Johann Philipp Klages
  • Donna Strickland
  • Yafang Cheng
  • Christian Ospelkaus
  • Chao-Yang Lu
  • Juan Ignacio Cirac
  • Ron Folman
  • Clare Grey
  • Erik Bakkers
  • Elham Fadaly
  • Martin Fertl
  • Skyler Degenkolb
  • Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus
  • Johanna Stachel

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Further Activities to have a look at