Falling Walls Young Innovators of the Year 2019: International early-career researchers recognised in Berlin


  • Rhys Pirie, Mariëlle van Kooten and Rushabh Chheda are the winners of this year’s Falling Walls Labs. Jorge Miles won the Audience Award.
  • With this prize, the Falling Walls Foundation honours the best early-career researchers worldwide from a shortlist of 100 finalists.
  • The winner will present their idea again at the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November to an audience of some 700 leading thinkers from across research, industry, government and civil society.

Berlin, 8 November 2019. The winners of the Falling Walls Lab Finale, which took place today in Berlin, are:

1st Place: Rhys Pirie, Australia , “Breaking the Walls of Glass”
2nd Place: Mariëlle van Kooten, Netherlands, “Breaking the Walls of Unlabeled Data”
3rd Place: Rushabh Chheda, India, “Breaking the Walls of Affordable Housing and Waste Plastic”

The Audience Award went to Jorge Miles of Chile for his project “Breaking the Walls of Tyres Pollution”.

“The three winners impressed us with both the significance of their research and their determination to achieve a true scientific breakthrough. I’m delighted that Falling Walls gives them the opportunity to network with like-minded researchers from more than 63 countries,” says Dr Claudie Haigneré, astronaut, former French Minister for Research and New Technologies, and chair of the jury.

The international competition, initiated by the Falling Walls Foundation, recognises early-career researchers who develop ground-breaking ways to address the greatest challenges of our time. Research institutes, including many top universities, select their most promising candidates to take part in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin. A total of 100 early-career researchers from 63 nations presented their research, business models and initiatives in just three minutes to a jury of experts from across science and industry and a diverse audience. The winners will have the chance to present their ground-breaking research on 9 November at the Falling Walls Conference to an audience of some 700 investors, media representatives and Nobel Laureates. This year, Falling Walls Lab received more than 3,000 applications from across its worldwide network, which includes such prestigious universities and research institutions as Stanford University (USA), ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Imperial College London (UK) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia).

Falling Walls Lab aims to advance exceptional scientific and entrepreneurial visions and to promote exchange between early-career researchers and young professionals across disciplines.

More information at: www.falling-walls.com/lab


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? At the conference, 20 leading researchers from around the world present their latest breakthroughs in the natural sciences, humanities, business and technology to an audience of around 700 decision-makers and innovators in politics, research, industry and civil society. The Falling Walls Foundation also organises Berlin Science Week, which bring scientists from institutions all over the world to Berlin from 1 to 10 November. A further initiative is the Young Entrepreneurs in Science programme, which trains doctoral researchers to translate their research into a potential business idea. 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.


Press contact
Julia Knolle
Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
Kochstraße 6/7
10969 Berlin

Tel: +49 30 60 988 39 75
Fax: +49 30 60 988 39 79

More Press Releases

All Press Releases

Further Activities to have a look at