FALLING WALLS CIRCLE PROGRAMME 2023

Plenary Tables

1. The Implications of AI for Science: Friend or Foe? (9-10am CET)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long proven valuable in research and science. Recent technological developments promise to dramatically increase scientific output and assist humanity in addressing important global concerns ranging from climate change to developing epidemics. Simultaneously, new AI technologies raise social, ethical, and legal concerns as they can be used to provide deceptive results. This Plenary Table aims to explore the conditions and guidelines under which AI systems can be used in the scientific environment.

This event is supported by Springer Nature.

With following speakers:

  • Alena Buyx, TUM Institute of History and Ethics in Medicine
  • Sudeshna Das, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  • Benoit Schillings, X – The Moonshot Factory
  • Bernhard Schölkopf, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
  • Henning Schönenberger, Springer Nature
  • Moderator: Cat Allman, Digital Science

2. Climate Action Future (10-11am CET)

With climate change being the most pressing challenge of our time, securing a sustainable future depends on aligning core human needs with sustainable climate solutions. Despite growing awareness and international commitments, progress in climate action has been inadequate and slow, not doing enough to mitigate the impacts of climate change nor to prevent future degradation. This plenary will investigate the reasons behind the failure, emphasize the need to reinvigorate COP process with solution-driven methods in mind and explore the role of Open Science in accelerating solutions, mobilizing stakeholders, and triggering a Green Renaissance.

This event is supported by Frontiers.

With following speakers:

  • Frederick Fenter, Frontiers
  • Lee Howell, Villars Institute
  • Lars Peter Riishøjgaard, World Meteorological Organization
  • Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Massamba Thioye, UNFCCC Secretariat
  • Moderator: Vivienne Parry, science writer and broadcaster

3. Altering Medicine by Cell and Gene Therapy (11am-12pm CET)

The creation of innovative medicines using cells and genes as therapeutic agents greatly profits from the ongoing technological progress. Innovation happens across academia and industry and collaboration in manufacturing, clinical validation and market entry is crucial for the development of novel therapies that benefit healthcare. The experts of this Plenary Table will discuss the learnings from exemplary innovation hubs regarding key success factors of co-development and co-creation and how collaborations between academia, start-ups and industry can better serve patients’ particular needs and advance societal and economic sustainability.

This event is supported by Bayer & Berlin Institute of Health at Charité.

With following speakers:

  • Maria Alfaiate, Bayer
  • Hildegard Büning, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
  • Sarah Hedtrich, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité
  • Debora Lucarelli, Enhanc3D Genomics
  • Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, University Medical Center Göttingen
  • Moderator: Johannes Fruehauf, BioLabs

4. How Generative AI Can Revolutionize Therapy Development (12-1pm CET)

The rapid development of Generative Artificial Intelligence is facilitating groundbreaking applications across various industries. This Plenary Table will explore the transformative potential of Generative AI in advancing innovative therapies and realizing their great promises. The panelists will discuss the current breakthroughs and future trajectory as well as ethical considerations and challenges associated with AI-driven therapy development.

This event is supported by Sartorius.

With following speakers:

  • Allison Duettmann, Foresight Institute
  • Monika Lessl, Bayer Foundation
  • Mads Nørregaard-Madsen, Amgen Research Copenhagen
  • David Ruau, NVIDIA
  • Johan Trygg, Sartorius
  • Moderator: Mariette DiChristina, Boston University

5. Driving the Solar Energy Transition: Building a more Resilient and Secure Energy Supply Chain (2-3pm CET)

The urgency to tackle the climate crisis and achieve sustainable growth is adding to the momentum of the global energy transformation. Solar Photovoltaics (PV) undoubtedly has the potential to overcome the energy trilemma of energy security, affordability, and sustainability. This panel discussion will explore how a diverse solar PV industry can effectively mitigate technology development risks and overcome potential barriers to its competitiveness in the future.

This event is supported by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

With following speakers:

  • Walburga Hemetsberger, SolarPower Europe
  • Seth Marder, University of Colorado Boulder & NREL
  • Daniel Menzel, Meyer Burger
  • Rutger Schlatmann, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
  • Moderator: Jennifer Porto, NYU Berlin

6. Transatlantic Science Bridge in Key Science and Technology Developments (3-4pm CET)

Conditions to cooperate in the international science arena are becoming increasingly complex as scientific communities address urgent challenges while respecting technological sovereignty. The session will address the role of transatlantic cooperation on key science and technology developments. Panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities of multilateral partnerships in various areas such as quantum computing and semiconductors and biopreparedness research.

This event is supported by DESY & Carnegie Science

With following speakers:

  • Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Cornelia Denz, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
  • Young-Kee Kim, University of Chicago
  • Maria Leptin, European Research Council
  • Arik Willner, DESY
  • Moderator: Eric Isaacs, Carnegie Science

7. Perspectives and Challenges in Quantum Computing (4-5pm CET)

Quantum computing has emerged as a revolutionary technology that promises to transform various fields, from drug discovery to optimization problems and cryptography to artificial intelligence. However, many of these applications are still in the distant future. This table will bring together leading experts from research and industry who will discuss the current state of the art in quantum computing and give a realistic assessment of the emerging applications.

This event is supported by Berlin Quantum Alliance, Hamburg Quantencomputing, Jülich Quantum Computing Alliance, Munich Quantum Valley, Quantum BW & Quantum Valley Lower Saxony.

With following speakers:

  • Juan Ignacio Cirac, Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics
  • Sabrina Maniscalco, University of Helsinki
  • Andreas Wallraff, ETH Zürich
  • Horst Weiss, BASF
  • Moderator: Jan-Martin Wiarda, independent journalist, author and moderator

8. Precision Prevention in Health: The Power of Genomics (5-6pm CET)

As we are living through the 4th industrial revolution, the congruence of technological advances in genomics and the digital revolution has the potential to transform healthcare. Genomics can benefit precision prevention and improve human health by building on discoveries in genetics research and applying them in a clinical setting. This panel discussion will explore the opportunities to couple genomics at scale with promising exciting technology developments to catalyse a change in addressing grand challenges in modern healthcare.

This event is supported by Helmholtz Munich.

With following speakers:

  • Nicola Blackwood, Genomics England
  • Nancy Cox, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • David Crosby, Cancer Research UK
  • Segun Fatumo, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Mark McCarthy, Genentech
  • Moderator: Eleftheria Zeggini, Helmholtz Munich

Round Tables

1. Challenges and Best Practices of Ageing Societies (9-10am CET)

Population aging is a global phenomenon that affects both developing and developed countries. From social isolation and loneliness to economic implications and pressure on healthcare systems, increasing life expectancy and declining birth rates lead to a multitude of key challenges affecting society as a whole. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves government and healthcare policies, social services, community initiatives, intergenerational collaboration, and technological innovations. As with all global challenges, the transnational approach including exchange on best practice is particularly promising. This panel discussion will gather speakers from Berlin and Oxford with a high expertise on issues regarding the challenges of rapidly aging societies and spotlight potential solutions and approaches to tackle the consequences in a transdisciplinary way.

This event is supported by Berlin University Alliance & University of Oxford.

With following speakers:

  • Henry Marx, Senate Department for Higher Education and Research, Health and Long-Term Care
  • Melinda Mills, University of Oxford
  • Diana Rothe, pi4 Robotics (+robot RoMi)
  • Elke Schäffner, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Moderator: Irene Tracey, University of Oxford

2. Unlocking the Mysteries of the Cell (10-11am CET)

In this roundtable discussion a multidisciplinary group of experts will share their perspectives on how collaborations using state-of-the-art genomic, open science, and imaging technologies are providing new insights into human biology and how these fundamental discoveries will shape tomorrow’s therapies.

This event is supported by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

With following speakers:

  • Lucy Collinson, The Francis Crick Institute
  • Stephen Quake, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Sarah Teichmann, Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Moderator: Stephani Otte, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

3. Ocean Solutions for the Climate Crisis (11am-12pm CET)

This panel discussion will focus on ocean-centred climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions. The potential of the ocean for accelerating decarbonisation merits prioritisation in the global climate-change discourse. The ocean presents substantial climate mitigation and carbon storage options to help limit global warming, while simultaneously introducing opportunities for economic gain. How can we enable technology leaps and foster innovation to unlock the ocean’s potential to mitigate global warming? What are prerequisites, e.g. an increased international cooperation and political framework.

This event is supported by Extantia Capital, Deutsche Allianz Meeresforschung, GEOMAR & MARUM.

With following speakers:

  • Peter Schlosser, Arizona State University
  • Torben Schreiter, Extantia Capital
  • Katja Matthes, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • Moderator: Andreas Kosmider, Falling Walls Foundation

4. Training Scientists for the Future – Is the PhD still up to date? (1-2pm CET)

The PhD is the foundation of the academic enterprise, the first piece of original work done by a researcher. With the significant changes seen within science and the expectations broader society has of science, early career researchers have to be prepared to address grand societal challenges such as climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and deal with the new economic demands and technologies by industry. This Round Table will discuss if the way we conceive of PhD training is still up-to-date, and how the reform of assessment and evaluation could affect academic culture.

This event is supported by Elsevier.

With following speakers:

  • Alice Aiken, Dalhousie University
  • Karsten Danielmaier, German Chemical Society
  • Nick Fowler, Elsevier
  • Zainab Kidwai, University of York
  • Moderator: Jan-Martin Wiarda, independent journalist, author and moderator

5. Planetary Boundary Science: Advancing Science to Save the Planet (2-3pm CET)

Recent research has shown that the interdependence of Earth system stability and resilience, along with human well-being, is paramount for establishing safe and just Earth system boundaries. In this roundtable discussion, leading experts in planetary boundary science will explore innovative and interdisciplinary approaches needed to better understand and address the challenges facing our planet. The focus will be on the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, combined with our scientific abilities, in protecting the Earth for future generations.

This event is supported by Frontiers Research Foundation.

With following speakers:

  • Paul Behrens, Leiden University
  • Wendy Broadgate, Future Earth
  • Maria Nilsson, Umeå University
  • Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Moderator: Jean-Claude Burgelman, Frontiers Planet Prize

6. Six months after the elections – Turkey’s role on the international arena (3-4pm CET)

The 2023 parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey raised hopes for a new chapter in the country’s foreign policy and international collaboration. After President Erdogan’s approval of Sweden’s NATO accession, analysts even spoke of a new start for the frozen Turkish-European relations. But how sustainable is this rapprochement? This roundtable discusses the political developments in Turkey after the elections and their implications for Turkey’s role in the world and Turkish-European relations.

This event is supported by Stiftung Mercator

With following speakers:

  • Hürcan Asli Aksoy, Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS)
  • Ayse Bingöl Demir, Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project
  • Fuat Keyman, Istanbul Policy Center / Sabanci University
  • Moderator: Senem Aydin Düzgit, Sabanci University / Robert Bosch Academy

7. Unleashing the Potential of AI in Education: Shaping Tomorrow’s Learning (4-5pm CET)

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly permeating education, with intelligent tutorial systems and chatbots influencing the way we learn and process knowledge. While navigating the new technologies, we have to comprehend the implications AI will have on the future of work and the educational system. This table will address the possible impact of data-driven and algorithm-based knowledge, evaluation, and application and discuss how we can equip the next generation to manage the opportunities and threats of AI use.

This event is supported by Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland & Weizenbaum Institute

With following speakers:

  • Diana Knodel, fobizz | 101skills
  • Niels Pinkwart, HU Berlin
  • Katharina Scheiter, University of Potsdam
  • Gergana Vladova, Weizenbaum-Institut
  • Moderator: Matthias von Kielmansegg, Vodafone Foundation Germany

8. Integrating Ethics and Public Engagement into Scientific Discovery (5-6pm CET)

As we seek groundbreaking science to benefit humanity while minimizing risks, the need for interdisciplinary scientific collaboration and public engagement is increasingly important. The participants of this session will discuss how to break the walls of academic silos and barriers between science and public as well as the ways to engage the public proactively and intentionally in ethical considerations born from scientific discovery.

This event is supported by Kavli Foundation.

With following speakers:

  • Lomax Boyd, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
  • Jodi Halpern, University of California, Berkeley
  • Anna Middleton, University of Cambridge
  • Moderator: Vivienne Parry, science writer and broadcaster

Background Tables (by invitation only)

1. Balancing Openness and Safety in Scientific Research (9-11am CET)

In 2021, the G6 consortium of European research performing organizations (RPO) declared a commitment to open science and fair data. Yet in recent years, a growing number of international collaborations have emerged, involving partners from nations with different ideals. Collaborations have multiplied despite disparities in academic freedom and research ethics, which are detrimental to international peace and security, human rights and fair competition. In this crisis of legitimacy of global science, we ask what responsibility governments and researchers should bear directly and what principles, processes and tools should guide them.

This event is supported by Volkswagen Foundation.

2. From Closed Gates to Open Horizons: Reframing Return on Investment in the Open Access Era (11am-1pm CET)

Immediate free access and adherence to fair principles are essential for the advancement of science, economy, and society. Despite recognizing the importance of Open Science, policymakers and funders lack consensus regarding the transition of the scientific publishing system. This background discussion will address the ROI of Open Access/Open Science for science, economy, and society identifying priorities and content-related boundaries for different stakeholders with the aim to achieve freely accessible scientific information in the nearest future.

This event is supported by Frontiers.

3. Securing the Quantum Realm: Challenges and Solutions (2-4pm CET)

This panel addresses the pressing security issues in the field of quantum information processing. Together, the invited experts will explore the unique vulnerabilities of quantum systems, the potential impact on cryptography, and the strategies to mitigate the risks that come with a completely new infrastructure.

This event is supported by Bundesdruckerei.

4. Unlocking knowledge creation: exploring challenges and forging solutions (4-6pm CET)

In this background table discussion, top experts unite to debate how academia, government, and society can forge a harmonious path to drive knowledge creation. Inspiration for the discussion will be exclusive insights from a new global Ipsos survey, revealing the challenges that keep top academic leaders and research funders awake at night, and their strategies going forward.

This event is supported by Elsevier.

Symposia

1. Volkswagenstiftung Symposium for Breakthroughs in Social Sciences & Humanities (9am-6pm CET)

In cooperation with our partners, Falling Walls is hosting this unique format to connect researchers in the social sciences and humanities from all over the world. The symposium gathers the 2023 Winners in the Social Sciences and Humanities category as well as experts and early-career researchers to discuss the most pressing issues and recent breakthroughs in sociology, cultural studies, and humanities.

The event is supported by our partners Volkswagenstiftung and WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

With following speakers:

  • Paul Behrens, Leiden University
  • Matthias Braun, University of Bonn
  • Sudeshna Das, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  • Arline Geronimus, University of Michigan
  • Pumla Gqola, Nelson Mandela University
  • Corinne Heaven, WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Lena Hipp, WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Beatriz Magaloni, University of Stanford
  • Laura Martin, Williams College
  • Sergei Nirenburg, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Ilona Otto, University of Graz
  • Mona Weyrauch, Volkswagen Foundation
  • Moderator: Racha Kirakosian, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg

2. Else Kröner Fresenius Symposium for Breakthroughs in Life Sciences (8:30am-6pm CET)

In cooperation with our partners, Falling Walls is hosting this unique format to connect researchers in the life sciences from all over the world. The symposium gathers the 2023 Winners in the Life Sciences category as well as experts and early-career researchers to discuss the most pressing issues and recent breakthroughs in this field, from the study of life and organisms, bioscience, and human health, to molecular and cellular life sciences.

The event is supported by our partner Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung.

With following speakers:

  • Karen Christman, University of California San Diego
  • Peter Crompton, National Institutes of Health
  • Marc Dewey, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Tobias Erb, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
  • Chuan He, University of Chicago
  • Sophie Heuer, University of Heidelberg
  • Claudia Höbartner, University of Würzburg
  • Akiko Iwasaki, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Doty Ojwach, University of Stellenbosch
  • Pieter Roelfsema, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
  • Moderator: Alison Abbott

3. Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Symposium for Breakthroughs in Physical Sciences (8:30am-1pm CET)

The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Symposium for Breakthroughs in Physical Sciences brings together the Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2023 in Physical Sciences, in addition to renowned partners from academia and the business sector. This symposium serves as a platform for deliberation and exploration of the most critical issues and cutting-edge breakthroughs in the realm of mathematical, physical, and chemical phenomena, alongside their associated technologies.

The event is supported by our partner Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.

With following speakers:

  • Amran Al-Ashouri, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
  • Keshav Dani, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University
  • Valentina Emiliani, Vision Institute, CNRS
  • Leo Gross, IBM Research Europe Zurich
  • Thomas Klinger, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics
  • Vivek Polshettiwar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai
  • Libor Smejkal, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • Arne Thomas, Technische Universität Berlin
  • Moderator: Oliver Benson, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Moderator: Thomas Elsaesser, Max Born Institute
  • Moderator: Stefan Jorda, Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation

4. SPRIND Sciencepreneurship Symposium (2-6pm CET)

Scientific breakthroughs can solve our biggest challenges – from infectious diseases and cancer to cyber security, shortages of natural resources, and rapid climate change. To transform new knowledge into deeply impactful results, Science needs to engage with change makers. We need great scientists making discoveries and entrepreneurs effectuating valuable changes for humanity and planetary health. We need Sciencepreneurs who can take breakthroughs from the lab to the market, thereby navigating unchartered economic, political and social territories. To catalyze scientific breakthroughs, we, at the Sciencepreneurship Symposium, bring together thought leaders, policy makers, transfer professionals, executives and entrepreneurs to discuss key issues and current structures to strategically accelerate innovation ecosystems. At the end, more science-based technology start-ups should be empowered to change the world for the better.

The event is supported by our main partner, the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation – SPRIND.

With following speakers:

  • Julia Borggräfe, Metaplan,
  • Orla Browne, Dealroom.co
  • Thane Campbell, Venture Science Doctorate
  • Allison Duettmann, Foresight Institute
  • Lisa Ericsson, KTH Holding AB
  • Henry Marx, Senat of Berlin
  • Thomas Hellmann, Saïd School of Business, University of Oxford
  • Darja Isaksson, Vinnova
  • Rafael Laguna de La Vera, Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovation SPRIND
  • Juliana Lim, SGInnovate
  • Benoit Schillings, X – the Moonshot Factory
  • Matthias Hilpert, MH2 CAPITAL
  • Mario Brandenburg, Federal Minister of Education and Research
  • Frank Buchholz, Technical University of Dresden
  • Moderator: Aidan McCullen, the Innovation Show

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