The Falling Walls Conference was first held in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and was initiated to celebrate this historic day by looking into the future and getting an understanding of tomorrow's world. The conference is set to inspire people all over the world to come together and break down the walls that we face today.
Over the years, the Falling Walls Lab has become a never-growing network of the most ambitious and forward-thinking minds. Its community is built on outstanding experience of gathering, learning and connection to a higher purpose bay tackling the greatest challenges on the planet. The Falling Walls Foundation stands for the freedom of thought and scientific research, and for making ground-breaking ideas accessible to society.
The Falling Walls Lab is an interdisciplinary format to showcase the next generation of top researchers developed and hosted annually by the Falling Walls Foundation in Berlin on 7 November 2023. In 3 minute talks, outstanding talents and innovative thinkers share their research projects, business models and social initiatives with an interdisciplinary audience and jury.
Each year, academic institutions host local Falling Walls Labs to showcase the quality, diversity, and passion of their region's most innovative minds. The winners of these Labs travel to the Global Finale in Berlin on 7 November 2023. 100 Labsters present their work in front of a distinguished jury and showcase their solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time. All finalists win a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Conference, where they meet the world's movers and shakers of science, business and policymaking.
The international network of Falling Walls Labs includes renowned academic institutions from over 60 countries. Stanford University, the ETH Zurich, the University of Tokyo, and the university of Sao Paulo are only a few of the universities that have recently participated in the Falling Walls programme. The Falling Walls Lab is organised by the Falling Walls Foundation. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
In 2019, the Czech Republic was represented in Berlin by the national round winner Gabriele Maria Grittani. He works at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Department of Beamlines Experimental Programmes) and he broke the wall of expensive targeted cancer treatment.
“Presenting my project at the Falling Walls Lab in 2019 was definitively a once in a lifetime experience for me. I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with world-leading scientists and policymakers. I came back to the Czech Republic totally inspired and excited, and I'm very thankful to Markus Dettenhofer for being a great coach and allowing me to present my project in the best way possible,” said Mr. Grittani regarding his participation.
In 2018, Markéta Klíčová from the Technical University in Liberec won the national round and then also won the Audience Award at the world finale in Berlin. In her presentation Breaking the Wall of Colorectal Cancer Treatment, she demonstrated how nanotechnologies can help reduce post-operative complications following gastrointestinal surgeries.
“I came back with an unspeakable feeling about how 100 finalists from all over the world shared one stage and presented unique solutions for a broad spectrum of problems. Every single person being from another part of the world, everyone comes from a different background and culture, but all shared one goal – breaking down imaginary walls of today's world in order to make it better. I found friends from the Czech Republic, but also from Canada, Germany and other countries. We were in a competitive environment, although we were supporting each other. The whole event was a celebration of brilliant ideas, resolution and hard work. I came back energised for my further research work,“ said Mrs. Klíčová.
Michaela Vojníková from the CEITEC Science Center Brno won the year 2021 with her presentation Breaking the wall of nerve reconstruction. Mrs. Vojníková said: "It is fascinating to see how aperson can develop and especially see ourselves in this. Before the FallingWalls national round, I was just a shy master's student at the beginning of myadult life. Winning the national round encouraged me to pursue my scientificcareer further and showed me that you don't have to be afraid to speak yourideas out loud. There may be unkind people in life, but there are always moresupportive ones who want to listen to us, and the competition taught me that.This experience has shown me that I have what it takes to push my thoughts andideas through and realise them from dreams into physical form. In the globalround, I found out that people can even mutually support when competing againsteach other. Winning is not the most important thing for anyone. Young people wantto show their ideas to the world and find future colleagues, which is moreimportant."
Stanislava Králová from the University of Vienna won the year 2022 with her presentation Breaking the wall of antibiotic resistance.