Two young researchers recently represented Australia at the international Falling Walls Lab in Berlin. Ms Samantha Wade from the University of Wollongong and Ms Hayley Teasdale from the University of Canberra earned the opportunity to compete in Berlin at the Australian Falling Walls Lab event in September.
The Falling Walls Lab is an international forum for the next generation of outstanding innovators and creative thinkers. It aims to promote exceptional ideas and to connect promising scientists and entrepreneurs from all fields on a global level. One hundred finalists get the opportunity to present their research work, business model, or initiative to peers, a high-calibre jury made up of experts from academia and business, and the general public—but only have three minutes in which to do it. The Lab forms part of an annual international event that includes a conference and opportunities for collaboration.
Ms Wade said Falling Walls was nothing like she had imagined.
‘The research that the other contestants presented was amazing, with solutions to problems I had never even thought about before.
‘Getting to know some of these people before the event made the actual day of the talk less scary, as you knew half the people in the room were feeling the same nerves as you, and encouragement between contestants was high.
‘Overall, for someone who has had very little experience in these kinds of competitions, it was one of the best things I’ve done in my research career and I can’t recommend it highly enough.’
Ms Wade was also surprised by the site visit that the Academy organised with Bayer. She was expecting a quick tour, and instead they saw the full extent of what Bayer does—from R&D and collaborations with independent researchers to the factory floor.
Academy Fellows who attended the broader Falling Walls event inlcuded Professor Veena Sahajwalla and Professor Terry Hughes who spoke at the conference, and Professor Rachel Webster, Professor Hans Bachor and Professor Brian Schmidt.
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