Falling Walls Lab Australia

The call for nominations are currently closed

Join the audience in Canberra

For information on the event and how you can register to be an audience member, please see here.


The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Berlin, dedicated to the support of science and the humanities. It was established in 2009, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At its heart is the question ‘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. This international forum promotes interdisciplinary connections between aspiring academics, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and professionals, known for their excellent work. Participants are given three minutes to present their research work, business model or initiative to a broad audience from science and industry, including a distinguished jury who selects the most innovative and promising idea.

Falling Walls Lab is a challenging and inspiring format for emerging bright minds, giving them a unique chance to become the next big success story in innovation. In 2018, more than 3000 applications were submitted for 77 Falling Walls Labs that took place in 57 countries worldwide.


The Australian Academy of Science invites applications from researchers living and working in Australia who are postdocs and students, entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators from all areas to attend Australia’s Falling Walls Lab in 2019.

Falling Walls Lab Australia will be held on 3 September 2019 at the Academy’s Shine Dome, Canberra. Twenty Australian contestants will be invited to participate in the challenge, each giving a three-minute presentation on their research, business model or initiative based on the ‘Which walls will fall next?’ concept. For more information visit the Falling Walls Lab. Presentation templates and further instructions will be provided to successful applicants.

Five of the 20 presenters have already been selected based on a jury’s decision at the Falling Walls Lab held in Brisbane on 5 April 2019.

More information on this opportunity

All costs relating to travel to and from the event, and accommodation and meals outside of the event in Canberra, will be the participants’ responsibility.

A jury of distinguished academics and business people will select the winner of Falling Walls Lab Australia 2019. The winner will be automatically admitted to the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin, which will be held on 8 November 2019.

The Falling Walls Foundation will cover the winner’s attendance at the Falling Walls Conference. The winner of Falling Walls Lab Australia will have their travel expenses to Berlin and their accommodation costs in Berlin on 8–9 November paid for.

Fields of research

Candidates should be research active in any field of the natural sciences, including technology, engineering and medicine, as well as social sciences and the humanities.


The candidate must:

  • not be a previous presenter at any Falling Walls Lab
  • be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or hold a valid Australian student or working visa
  • be based in Australia at the time of application and at the time of the Falling Walls events in Canberra and Berlin
  • be 18 years of age or over
  • hold a passport valid for travel up until April 2020
  • be currently enrolled in a university in Australia or hold at least one of the following:
    • bachelor’s degree that was awarded less than 10 years prior
    • master’s degree* that was awarded less than 7 years prior
    • PhD** that was conferred less than 5 years prior.

*An MD (excl. a doctoral dissertation) will be considered equivalent to a master’s degree.

**A Dr. Med. (incl. a doctoral dissertation) will be considered equivalent to a PhD.

Important notices

Applications will be considered carefully by an evaluation panel with diverse expertise convened by the Australian Academy of Science. The decision of the panel is based on the assessed competitiveness of the proposal.

The Academy is not able to enter into discussion or correspondence regarding the reasons why an application is or isn’t successful.

For further information contact

International Programs
Australian Academy of Science
GPO Box 783
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6201 9412
Email: fallingwalls@science.org.au

Past Australian finalists

The following researchers were named winners of the Falling Walls Lab Australia and participated in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin.

2019 winners

Name Organisation
Dr Elena Schneider-Futschik University of Melbourne
Ms Kate Secombe University of Adelaide
Mr Rhys Pirie University of Queensland

Rhys Pirie was named 2019 Young Innovator of the Year at the Falling Walls Lab Berlin Finale. Rhys is the first Australian to win the global Lab. Find out more about the 2019 Falling Walls Berlin Finale here.

Find out more about the 2019 winners

2018 winners

Name Organisation
Ms Samantha Wade University of Wollongong
Ms Hayley Teasdale University of Canberra

Find out more about the 2018 winners

2017 winners

Name Organisation
Dr Mortaza Rezae Curtin University
Dr Vini Gautam The Australian National University

Find out more about the 2017 winners

2016 winners

Name Organisation
Dr Kim van Netten The University of Newcastle

Find out more about the 2016 winners

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science