Berlin, 30 October 2020. As the Falling Walls Conference rolls out their new digital format, so too will the Falling Walls Circle Tables take place virtually for the first time, 21 public and free expert panels give way to debates on urgent interdisciplinary scientific questions and set the Post-Corona-Agenda for science and research. World-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics exchange ideas on actions for tomorrow, including lessons learned from the current global crisis.

Taking place from 2 to 9 November, with daily appearances at 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00 CET, speakers and topics will be updated regularly on the website, covering a broad scope of ideas on the impacts of COVID-19, trust in science, diversity in research, the road to sustainability, and the future of humanity.

The tables are focusing on the following key topics:

Progress in the Pandemic
In three designated panel discussions, experts from scientific institutions, research corporations, and politics will share ideas on this year’s global pandemic. Panellists will cover the latest trends in the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the impact of the pandemic on the international science community and explore pathways to a successful global distribution once a vaccine becomes available.

Among the panelists:
Adrian Carter Vice President and Global Head, Boehringer Ingelheim
René Fáber Head of the Bioprocess Solutions Division, Sartorius
Julie Maxton Executive Director, The Royal Society
Gottfried Ludewig Directorate-General, German Federal Ministry of Health
Kate O’Brien Director, ACT-A Pillar, WHO
Megan Jones Bell Chief Science Officer, Headspace

Trust in Science
Months into the pandemic, we have seen conspiracy theories and fake news play major roles in the COVID-19 discussion and new protest movements, which perpetuate unscientific findings and arguments, have emerged in response to the pandemic measures. But what is good science communication in crisis? Follow the discussion on how science can be better communicated in time of uncertainty, and how policy can be informed by uncertain science.

Among the panelists:
Melissa FlemingUnder-Secretary General, Department of Global Communications, United Nations
Laura HelmuthEditor in Chief, Scientific American
Alan RusbridgerPrincipal of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
Peter HoSenior Advisor, Centre for Strategic Futures
Frank Niederländer Member of the Board, BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt

Diversity in Science
Scientists and key stakeholders of the scientific community explore solutions to systemic discrimination in science as the enterprise of science mirrors the societies in which it is embedded. A much-needed global dialogue is ignited, offering ideas on creating a more inclusive research ecosystem, improving the effective use and spread of science communication and encouraging responsible, citizen-centred governance and impactful participation of all digital citizens to collectively grow as resilient communities.

Among the panelists:
Mary Robinson fmr. President of Ireland & Chair, The Elders
Kumsal Bayazit CEO, Elsevier
Daya Reddy President, International Science Council
Shirley M. Malcom Director SEA Change, AAAS
Karen Salt Deputy Director, UK Research and Innovation

A Greener Tomorrow
Providing solutions to climate change and enabling a sustainable world is one of the most important responsibilities of the scientific community today. Leaders in science, politics and across industries reflect on multidimensional approaches to the challenge of global warming, including the active participation of all societal sectors in the pursuit of ambitious climate protection goals, the most efficient solutions for de-fossilisation and foreseeing how to avoid another 2020.

Among the panelists:
Martin Brudermüller CEO, BASF
Jacob Duer President & CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Rozalina Petrova Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Sinkevičius, European Commission
Glenn Llewellyn Vice-President Zero Emission Aircraft, Airbus
Phil de Luna Director, National Research Council of Canada

Innovating the Future of Humanity
How can we harness the promises of technology in harmony with a progressive but stable society? As technology becomes an ever more integrated tool in our everyday lives, leading scientists in biotech, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies discuss current limitations in technology and regulations, their implications on society, and possibilities for future cooperation.

Among the panelists:
Hartmut Neven Engineering Director, Google
Bernhard Schölkopf Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems
Andrew Ng Landing AI
Stefan Oelrich Member of the Board, Bayer AG
Jeremy Farrar Director, Wellcome Trust

The detailed programme of all 21 tables can be seen
in the digital programme calendar.

Tune in to the ‘Daily Highlights Show’ 13.00 CET from 1 to 10 November to be informed of the most significant panels of the day.


Falling Walls 2020

1–10 November 2020
Daily Highlights, 13.00–13.15 CET

2–10 November 2020
Falling Walls Circle Tables, 12.00–18.00 CET

4–8 November 2020
The Science Breakthroughs of the Year, 13.15 CET – 16.15 CET

9 November 2020
Grand Finale, 13.15–15.15 CET


Press Contact
For all questions, please contact us.
Lisa Wagner:

Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
Kochstraße 6-7
10969 Berlin


About the Falling Walls Foundation
The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin. The foundation creates international and interdisciplinary platforms and networks through its annual Falling Walls Conference, which asks each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: Which walls will fall next?


Falling Walls Conference
This year, the conference shifts from a physical event in Berlin to a global virtual showcase. Here, we gather, discuss and celebrate the most recent breakthroughs in science and society. This happens across a packed schedule of live streams, video presentations, live panels and virtual meetings.

Over the summer, leading academic institutions nominated their Breakthroughs of the Year in 10 fields of science – from life sciences to science engagement initiatives. In the coming weeks, we will exhibit about 400 finalists in our growing video library.

Dedicated juries, chaired by Helga Nowotny (Former President of the European Research Council), will select the top 10 winners in each field. These will be showcased and discussed during the World Science Summit (1 – 10 November), culminating in the grand final on the Falling Walls day on 9 November. Here, we will present the top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year – one from each field of science.


The Berlin Science Week is organised with the support of the Senate Chancellery – Science and Research and Berlin Partner. Coordination is provided by the not-for-profit Falling Walls Foundation. The Falling Walls programme is conducted with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and many other partnersof the Falling Walls Foundation.


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