Early detection of ovarian cancer, a low-emissions method to produce palm oil, and the computer-assisted identification of mosquito species. These were the winning ideas at this year’s Falling Walls Lab Finale.

Berlin, 9 November 2017. Yesterday at the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin, 100 participants from more than 50 countries presented their current research projects, ideas and initiatives in just three minutes each. The following three finalists impressed both the interdisciplinary jury and the audience and were named “Falling Walls Young Innovators of the Year 2017”:

The jury’s top choice and the winner of the 2017 Falling Walls Lab is Agnes Reiner of the University of Vienna for her research on novel blood-based biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer. Second prize went to Ashwin Charles of Malaysia for his new and low-cost method of breaking down the pollutants resulting from palm oil production using solar power. Taking third place was Srilahari Namani of India. She presented a computer-aided method to rapidly identify different species of mosquitos which can be used locally to prevent diseases transmitted by mosquitos. The Audience Prize went to Montaser Mohammedalamen of Sudan for his presentation of a system that allows wheelchairs to be directly controlled by brainwaves.

The winners were selected by a distinguished jury of scientists and entrepreneurs, headed by the astronaut and former French research minister Dr Claudie Haigneré. “The Falling Walls Lab presents an extraordinary diversity of research topics pursued by participants from all regions of the world, and we have tried to reflect this diversity in the jury’s decisions,” explained Dr Haigneré.

This morning, the three winners of the Falling Walls Lab Finale will have the chance to present their ideas once again at the international Falling Walls Conference in front of over 700 guests.

2660 applications from all over the world were submitted to participate in Falling Walls Labs this year, with new initiatives and research projects from the humanities, social sciences, engineering, business and natural sciences.

This year, prior to the Lab Finale in Berlin, 68 qualifying events were held in over 50 countries, at institutions such as ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) and Chimie ParisTech (France). All the winners travelled to the Finale in Berlin. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), with support from the German Federal Foreign Office, supported the participation of emerging scientists and researchers who were selected at international qualifying events at 24 DAAD Regional Offices and German Houses of Research and Innovation.

The Falling Walls Lab aims to advance scientific and entrepreneurial visions and to initiate and support exchange between aspiring scientists and researchers and young professionals across disciplines.

Press photos from the Lab are available at www.falling-walls.com/lab/gallery.

The winners of the Falling Walls Lab 2017 at a glance
1st prize (1000 Euro): Agnes Reiner, Universität Wien/ AIT Austrian Institute of     Technology/Medizinische Universität Wien/A*Star Singapore – Breaking the Wall of Ovarian Cancer
2nd prize (750 Euro): Ashwin Charles, Universiti Malaysia Pahang – Breaking the Wall of Wastewater Treatment
3rd place (500 Euro): Srilahari Namani, AIMST University – Breaking the Wall of Mosquito Borne Diseases


About the Falling Walls Foundation
The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Berlin which holds the international Falling Walls Conference each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the Conference, around 20 leading scientists from around the world are each given 15 minutes to present their breakthroughs in the natural and social sciences, business and technology. The Falling Walls Foundation also coordinates the Berlin Science Week. For the second year in a row, the event will bring scientists from institutions all over the world to Berlin from 1 to 10 November. 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 scientific institutions, foundations and companies. More information can be found at www.falling-walls.com.

Press contact
Lucie Menz
Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
Chausseestraße 8e
10115 Berlin

Tel:  +49 30 60 988 39 74
Fax: +49 30 60 988 39 79

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