The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Berlin, established in 2009, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It asks ‘Which are the next walls to fall?’ as a result of scientific, technological, economic and sociological breakthroughs.
Each year, the foundation supports scientific organisations around the world to host a Falling Walls Lab to promote interdisciplinary connections between aspiring academics, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and professionals. Participants have three minutes to present their research work, business model or initiative to a broad audience from science and industry, including a jury who selects the most innovative and promising idea.
The winner of Australia’s first Falling Walls Lab, Dr Kim van Netten, represented Australia at the international event in November. The Berlin event was attended by 100 finalists and winners from the 49 international Falling Walls Labs held during the year.
A second representative from Australia, Josh Chu-Tan from the Australian National University, received a wild card entry for the competition by winning the Asia–Pacific Three Minute Thesis competition.
The Australians received support and encouragement while in Berlin from Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes AM PresAA FTSE FRS and Emeritus Professor Hans Bachor AM FAA.
The winner of this year’s international event was Dang Huyen Chau from the Technische Universität Dresden for her work on producing fuel logs from used coffee grounds.
The Falling Walls conference, held the day following the lab, involved world experts presenting on topics including slavery, cybersecurity, gravitational waves and sustainable farming.
© 2019 Australian Academy of Science