As part of our Global Call for Nominations and search for the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year, we invite leading actors in science and academia worldwide to nominate the latest breakthroughs and outstanding science projects in 10 different categories, Social Sciences and Humanities being one of them. In 2022, our distinguished jury for Social Sciences and Humanities, chaired by Björn Wittrock, will select again 10 excellent winners in this category and award one of them with the title of ‘Breakthrough of the Year in Social Sciences and Humanities’.

We are looking for internationally recognised, established academics and leaders in the study of the institutions and functioning of human society and of the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society (e.g. politics, economics, philosophy), whose groundbreaking work contributes towards solving the world’s biggest challenges.

JURY 2022

Counting more than 100 jurors across 10 categories, each breakthrough is determined by a distinguished world-class Jury under the leadership of renowned experts in their respective fields. We are delighted that Helga Nowotny, President Emerita of the European Research Council, is serving as the Chair of the Juries, presiding over the general selection process.

The Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022 in Social Sciences and Humanities is selected by a distinguished Jury chaired by Björn Wittrock.



Discover the Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2021 in Social Sciences and Humanities:

Falling Walls Foundation


Breaking the Wall to a Paracolonial Paradigm

How can we think of the world as composed of categories derived from particular spaces and lifeworlds, rather than a space with categories seen as universal? How do we move beyond contingent formations, like nations and the triad of pre-, colonial, and post-colonial, to think about connected paracolonial histories between Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean? Dilip Menon is currently the Mellon Chair of Indian Studies at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. As a historian of ideas, he was educated at the universities of Delhi, Oxford, and Cambridge. His research focuses on oceanic histories and epistemology of the global south. At Falling Walls, Dilip will talk about creating a paracolonial framework that goes beyond the nation state, and that looks at the ways in which humanity’s destiny is framed by shared heritages through oceanic connections. In a time of global warming, the rising waters, and vast human migrations, we need a politics of affinity that moves from the idea of stranger to that of friendship.


Past Winners

Additional information for this category

When and where does the Falling Walls Science Summit 2022 take place?

The Falling Walls Science Summit will take place in Berlin.  Please save the date: 7 – 9 November 2022.

7 November

Falling Walls Pitches

A day of live pitches in the following categories: Emerging Talents (Falling Walls Lab) for the next generation of outstanding innovators. Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage) for inspiring science engagers. Science Start-Ups (Falling Walls Venture) for the science start-up community.

8 November

Falling Walls Circle – Challenges and Foresight

Our new format to connect science and society. Researchers, policymakers, business leaders, and society discuss the biggest challenges we face and the foresight that scientific breakthroughs can offer.

9 November

Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year

On the anniversary of the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, the conference provides a stage for outstanding research presented in inspiring presentations. For the 14th time, “the brightest minds on the planet“ (BBC) will showcase their work.

Why should you want to take part?

  • If selected, your work will be presented to a distinguished Jury.
  • If chosen as one of the 10 Winners in Social Sciences and Humanities, you will have the opportunity to feature your winning project in a short video in our content library.
  • If chosen as ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ 2022 in Social Sciences and Humanities:
    • You will be invited to present on stage in Berlin (or via livestream), and reach a global audience.
    • We will use our expertise and years of experience in science communication and work with you to help make your research accessible and engaging to a wide audience, and to highlight its impact on society.
    • You will be offered individual professional coaching to prepare you for your talk.
    • You will have an opportunity to interact with a wide range of decision-makers, innovators and emerging talents from all over the world, working in many different disciplines and sectors, and join a community committed to bringing down barriers to address common challenges.

Who can take part?

  • Nominations are open to all sub-disciplines in Social Sciences and Humanities, e.g. politics, economics, philosophy.
  • The title of ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ in Social Sciences and Humanities can be awarded to individual scientists as well as research groups. However, research groups will need to determine one person who represents the group and presents their work.
  • Participants confirm that their work has never been presented on the Falling Walls stage before.
  • Participants can be nominated again with a different project/research topic.

What are the selection criteria?

We are looking for individual scientists as well as research groups of outstanding quality who:

  • have made excellent, ground-breaking, recent achievements in their respective fields, nationally and internationally, and who stand out for their innovative strength;
  • promise to have a significant long-term impact on the research landscape and to contribute towards solving global challenges, such as having a positive effect on nature and humanity, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • translate scientific topics and their complexities in a way that makes them accessible and attractive to large sections of society.

Nominations will be considered and evaluated within the category, but their potential for interdisciplinary problem-solving will also be assessed.

How does the nomination and selection process work?


Leading actors in science and academia worldwide can nominate individual scientists or research groups by submitting a short nomination form via our website by 31 May 2022. The Nominee will be contacted directly and asked to submit further details.


If Nominees are selected, they will then become a Falling Walls Finalist. All Finalists will be officially announced on our website.


Our distinguished jury for Social Sciences and Humanities, chaired by Björn Wittrock, will select 10 Winners. Each Winner will have the opportunity to feature their winning project in a short video in our content library. A detailed briefing will be provided for this purpose.


The respective juries will select the Science Breakthroughs of the Year from the Winners of each category. On 9 November, the Breakthroughs of the Year will receive the opportunity to present their work to a global audience on the grand Falling Walls stage in Berlin.

Who can nominate?

We are asking leading academics and academic institutions, universities, research organisations, companies, private and public research centres, academies, research funders, foundations, and individuals to nominate the latest breakthroughs in Social Sciences and Humanities. In rare exceptions, direct nominations may be considered. For more information on whether your project qualifies,  please contact us at

Who can I contact in case I have a question about this category?

Please contact us at

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