The international Falling Walls Conference is being held digitally in 2020 and opens its doors for nominations from all over the world and across all scientific disciplines.

One of the most important science gatherings in the world, the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin, is reinventing itself due to the Covid-19-restrictions. Rather than simply being broadcast on the internet, the conference is reshaping its model so as to maximise the potential of digitalisation. Whereas in the past years, a team of experts selected the top outstanding scientists among an abundant pool of global scientific researchers and invited them to Berlin to speak at the two-day-conference, this year an international call for nominations in ten categories has been sent out internationally. The conference will not – as in previous years – take up 10 hours on one day, but rather 2 hours on each of 6 days, ensuring that people living in as many time zones as possible can follow the live sessions and gain insights into valuable scientific progress. The live sessions will be held from 4 November to 9 November, each day from 1 to 3pm. Furthermore, there will be space for discussion and exchange.

With Helga Nowotny, former president of the European Research Council, serving as Chair of the Juries, the “Breakthroughs of the Year” will be identified in ten different categories. These are: Life Sciences; Physical Sciences; Engineering and Technology; Social Sciences and the Humanities; Science in the Arts; Digital Education; Science and Innovation Management; Emerging Talents; Science Start-ups and Science Engagement. „Springer Nature“ and the „Zeit Verlagsgruppe“ support the digital concept as media partners.

The non-profit Falling Walls Foundation invites all universities, academies, scientific institutions, companies, foundations as well as scientists across the globe to nominate their most recent scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to change the world.

The finalists for the Breakthroughs of the Year will be presented to the public in different media formats including text and video, so that they can be viewed and evaluated all over the world. A distinguished jury for each category will identify up to ten winners per category. On each day from 4 to 8 November 2020, two sessions presenting the winners of a respective category will be livestreamed. The audience will also get the chance to enter into open discussions with the scientists.

Finally, on 9 November, the anniversary of the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall, the Breakthroughs of the Year will be broadcast in a livestream to international audiences, with prominent guests joining from Berlin. The Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year are part of the Berlin Science Week, which will also take place from 1 to 10 November 2020.

Besides showcasing some of the most outstanding international research, the conference will – just as in earlier years – discuss urgent questions in multidisciplinary scientific fields. Distinguished world leaders from science, economy, politics, media and society will gather in ten Circle Tables – moderated panel discussions – to debate on important issues and to set the Post-Corona-Agenda for science and research.

„The scientific exchange across all borders is more important than ever. I am delighted that the friends and partners of Falling Walls have supported us in launching our new digital format, thanks to which we will be able to share and discuss the most recent scientific breakthroughs with more people than ever”, says Jürgen Mlynek, Chairman of the Board of Falling Walls.

Since its first annual meeting on 9 November 2009, the 20th anniversary of the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falling Walls Conference continuously developed into a world forum for science. Some of the most important researchers and thinkers on the planet discuss a small number of high-calibre breakthroughs with world leaders in science, politics, business and the media, answering the core question of the Falling Walls Conference: “Which are the next walls to fall in science and society?“ The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin. The Falling Walls Foundation is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Berlin Senate, as well as by numerous national and international research institutions, foundations and companies.

Please find all details on the Call for Nominations and the Breakthroughs of the Year on the Falling Walls website:


For more information on the call please contact
Naveed Syed
Head of global network
Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
Kochstr. 6-7
10969 Berlin

Tel: +49-30-60 988 39-71
Fax: +49-30-60 988 39-79

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