Falling Walls – The International Conference on Future Breakthroughs in Science and Society

For the last two years, Mendeley and Elsevier have been partners of the Falling Walls Conference. Next week, we’ll be heading to the Falling Walls Lab in Berlin and tweeting live from #fallingwalls15 so follow @mendeley_com and @Falling_Walls to stay updated.


In the run up, we’ve explored the event’s beginnings and how it continues to bring together young professionals from different cultures and disciplines, who share the same passion for discovery and innovation.

What is it?
The Falling Walls foundation was established on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Inspired by this world-changing event on 9 November 1989, the question at the heart of the gathering is: Which walls will fall next?

Since its symbolic beginning, the conference has expanded its sphere of influence. Extensions to the original programme now exist, including the Lab, an opportunity for the brightest minds to showcase their breakthroughs and hone their science communication skills.


The Lab aims to build and promote interdisciplinary connections between young academics, entrepreneurs and professionals from all fields, and in the lead-up to the Lab Finale in Berlin, 36 qualifying events in 29 countries took place in 2015. The three winners of the Berlin Lab will get the chance to present their ideas once more on the grand stage of the Falling Walls Conference, to an international audience.

Why is it different?
Falling Walls gathers the brightest minds from all over the world. Rarely is it possible to learn and share with as many world leaders in their field, all in one place: ‘Leaders at the intellectual frontier’, describes Scientific American.

Similarly, the Lab is not just any science slam; it incorporates a unique mixture of competition, assertiveness and real curiosity in what other people are doing.


Why should I get involved?
Get inspired – Participating in the Lab can give young researchers and innovators visibility on a global stage, but above all it will offer inspiration. Past winning ideas are as diverse as they are exciting. Last year winning projects included ‘the Lorm hand’ – a communication device enabling deaf-blind people to connect with others using social media, technology allowing salt to be filtered out of water and sold on, making the treatment of wastewater profitable, and a project to induce fat cells to secrete insulin, so that type 1 diabetes patients would no longer depend on insulin injections in the future.

Network – Even more so than the conference itself, The Lab is an ideal place to network with like-minded people who want to share their passion and their work with you. Find who works near you, and with whom you would like to collaborate. After the event, stay in touch with Falling Walls and the conference alumni through Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo. Keep them updated with your ideas and get a chance to get your work ‘In the Spotlight’: a new feature in store for this year’s edition, which will document and promote the breakthroughs of conference alumni all over the world.

Hone your outreach skills – Transforming your research into a 3-minute long ‘elevator pitch’ is a challenging restriction. Drawing a compelling presentation out of a complex project will bring out the most essential aspects of your idea: What is it? How does it work? What problem does it solve? Having a strong answer to these questions will help you make your idea sound exciting to people – which is the beginning of success.

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We’ll be providing updates from Berlin next week, and will be profiling the  winning Lab projects in more detail, so watch this space. You’ll also be able to watch the live stream. In the meantime, check out the Falling Walls blog and watch some videos to find out about previous winning ideas to get your innovative, creative brains working.