Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year 2020 for Breakthrough Thinking

Falling Walls calls leading academics and world-class academic institutions from around the world – universities, research organisations, companies, private and public research centres, academies, research funders, foundations and individuals – for their nominations for the Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year.

To highlight breakthrough thinking from all over the world, we call for your nominations for the most recent breakthroughs in ten categories, from life sciences to science management. We are delighted that Helga Nowotny (Former President of the European Research Council) will serve as overall chair of the juries. Moreover, we are honoured that our long-term partners “Springer Nature” and the “Zeit Verlagsgruppe” will support this challenge.

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Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year

  • Type Training
  • OrganisationFalling Walls
  • Country to study -
  • School to study -
  • Course to study Not specified
  • State of Origin
  • Gender Men and Women
  • Application Deadline September 1, 2020

Aim and Benefits of Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year

On 9 November 2020, the anniversary of the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, the ten Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year (one per category) will be made public, and the people and institutions who made them possible will be honoured in a live digital session. In this event, a “Circle Tables“ of distinguished world leaders will discuss the post-corona agendas of the various fields. All material will be made available permanently and for free on our library to allow global access and inspiration.

Requirements for Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year Qualification

  • Categories 1-4: Top-class researchers globally are pushing the boundaries to make some of the most important scientific breakthroughs of our times. We are looking for internationally recognised, established academics and leaders in their respective fields (as outlined below), whose groundbreaking work contributes towards solving the world’s biggest challenges. As excellent communicators they are able to transmit their passion and the significance of their findings for society.
  • CATEGORY 5: SCIENCE IN THE ARTS: We welcome nominations for artists whose work is inspired and influenced by science across a wide range of subjects (from the humanities to life sciences, technology and more), which sheds light on societal issues, natural phenomena or simply the wonder of scientific discoveries, and which highlights the unique relationship between these apparently opposite but often highly complementary disciplines.
  • CATEGORY 6: DIGITAL EDUCATION: Digital learning has become increasingly relevant in the last ten years – and the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated this development. There is hardly a field in which there is such a strong need for building knowledge on best practice so as to be able to assess and improve one’s own activities. We are looking for innovative players in digital education, who improve learning through their exceptional concepts and examples of digital teaching which – as outlined in the White Paper Bologna Digital 2020 – leverages a vision of flexible, accessible, networked, egalitarian, transferable, individualised higher education.
  • CATEGORY 7: SCIENCE AND INNOVATION MANAGEMENT: Excellent management provides the essential grounds for breakthroughs in science and corporate research. Which instruments are particularly helpful to increase the quality and output of research and development? We are looking for outstanding representatives and best-case examples of science and innovation management both in the realms of academia and research-driven companies that contribute towards better research and relationships in research through new concepts and measures.
  • CATEGORY 8: EMERGING TALENTS (FALLING WALLS LAB): In a time when effective science communication has become all the more paramount, Falling Walls Lab is searching for the next generation of early-career innovators, trailblazers, creators, and visionaries of all disciplines to promote their exceptional ideas that create a positive impact on science and society.
  • CATEGORY 9: SCIENCE-BASED START-UPS (FALLING WALLS VENTURE); Solving some of today’s most pressing challenges requires scientific findings to be turned into entrepreneurial solutions. We are, hence, looking for innovative start-ups that have translated breakthrough scientific thinking into promising business models.
  • CATEGORY 10: SCIENCE ENGAGEMENT (FALLING WALLS ENGAGE): We are searching for all forms of science engagement and outreach projects that break the wall between science and society with a creative and individual method, to engage the respective target group.


Eligible Field(s):

(1) Life Sciences,
(2) Physical Sciences,
(3) Engineering and Technology,
(4) Social Sciences and the Humanities,
(5) Science in the Arts,
(6) Digital Education,
(7) Science and Innovation Management,
(8) Emerging Talents (Falling Walls Lab),
(9) Science Start-ups (Falling Walls Venture),
(10) Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage).


Checkout: Scholarships for African students 2021/2022

Application Deadline

September 1, 2020

How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Falling Walls on to apply

For more details, visit Falling Walls website.

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