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About Falling Walls Lab

Information about the Falling Walls Lab Global Finale and Falling Walls Foundation, Berlin

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Falling Walls Lab, Berlin

Falling Walls Lab is a global interdisciplinary pitch competition for students and early-career professionals.

Three minutes is all it takes! Falling Walls Lab is a world-class pitch competition, networking forum, and stepping stone that brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary pool of students and early-career professionals by providing a stage for breakthrough ideas both globally and locally. The format supports participants in driving their innovations and develop their communication skills, fostering collaboration and creating a space for this impactful community to thrive. 


Throughout the year, renowned academic institutions around the world host international Falling Walls Labs to showcase the quality, diversity, and passion of their region’s most innovative minds. In three minutes each, participants are given the opportunity to present their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time to peers, a high-calibre jury of experts from academia and business, and the general public.

Past presentations have ranged in topic from ‘Breaking the Wall of Coral Reef Protection from Space’ to ‘Breaking the Wall of Textile Waste’. The breakthrough factor (how innovative is the proposed idea?), potential impact of the presented work (how relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?), and performance (how convincing was the presentation?) help the jury determine the winner, who qualifies for the global finale in Berlin on 7 November and wins a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Science Summit, where the international Lab winners get to interact and network with the world’s movers and shakers of science, business, and policy-making.

During their stay in Berlin, the international Lab winners take part in an exclusive extended programme that includes an introductory session and networking dinner, expert workshops on a broad range of topics such as career development, entrepreneurial skills, and academic publishing, and events hosted by prestigious German research organisations such as the German Research Foundation (DFG). At the global finale, the international Lab winners compete to become the Breakthrough Winner in the Emerging Talents category of Falling Walls, taking home the title and prize money, and receiving the opportunity to pitch their idea once again on the Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year stage, which, throughout the day, hosts leading experts, changemakers, and luminaries.

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Falling Walls Lab hosts

The international network of Falling Walls Labs includes renowned academic institutions from over 94 countries. The ETH Zürich, Tohoku University, and the University of Cape Town are only a few of the universities that have recently participated in the Falling Walls Lab programme.

Falling Walls Lab is organised by the Falling Walls Foundation and generously funded by Berlin’s Natural History Museum (global finale), and Google and Springer Nature (international Labs). It is supported by Sartorius, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Royal Society Te Apārangi is the independent organiser of Falling Walls Lab Aotearoa New Zealand event for participants from New Zealand and Pacific Island Forum nations. Learn about Falling Walls Lab Aotearoa New Zealand.

Falling Walls Foundation

Falling Walls is the unique global hub connecting science, business and society. We shape the future of humanity by impact-oriented ideas and discoveries, driven by our shared dedication for creating breakthroughs across borders and disciplines. As a vessel for the world-changing spirit of 1989 in and beyond Berlin, we are on a relentless pursuit to find out: Which are the next walls to fall?


The crumbling concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall marked the dawn of a new era of freedom by breaking barriers both physical and imaginary on the night of 9 November 1989. The Falling Walls Foundation is channelling this iconic image as a not-for-profit organisation based in Berlin, devoted to the mission of bringing together those who set out to tear down the next walls in science and society. Starting with the inception of our first Conference on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009, Falling Walls has become an ever-growing network of the most ambitious and forward-thinking minds from around the globe. Our community is built on outstanding experiences of gathering, learning and the connection to a higher purpose by tackling the greatest challenges of this planet. Together we stand for the freedom of thought and scientific research, and for making ground-breaking ideas accessible to society.

The Falling Walls Foundation is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Berlin Senate as well as numerous acclaimed academic institutions, foundations, companies, and non-governmental organisations.