The 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. Our multifaceted formats support our participants in driving their innovations and develop their communication skills, fostering collaboration and creating a space for our impactful and sustainable 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 Access to Justice’. 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 multi-day 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, including Nobel laureates and Leibniz Prize winners.

The international network of Falling Walls Labs includes renowned academic institutions from over 60 countries. The ETH Zürich, National University of Singapore, and 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 (international Labs). It is supported by the Bayer Foundation, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

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