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The first Falling Walls Lab Tokyo awards its winner

  • 2016/09/08

The first Falling Walls Lab Tokyo, an internationally oriented science communication contest, was held on August 29. The event was jointly organized by the German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo) and EURAXESS Links Japan.

In line with the notion of "Breaking down various walls", young scientists presented potentially groundbreaking research findings in 3-minute timed talks held in English. As the contest welcomed scientists from all disciplines, the presentations covered a wide range of thematic domains. A distinguished jury composed of scientists and industry representatives evaluated the individual presentations on the basis of three key criteria ("Breakthrough-factor", "Relevance & Impact" and "Performance & Structure").

The evening concluded with a reception, which provided speakers and guests alike the opportunity to engage in conversations and further deepen discussions.

15 young researchers were selected to present their ideas and initiatives at the competition on August 29. Despite highly specialized research projects, the speakers succeeded in sharing their ideas and conveying their enthusiasm for their research to the audience. After the final presentation, the audience was given an opportunity to address the speakers directly. The topics presented and discussed ranged from increasing the efficiency of intergovernmental organizations through a re-evaluation of their member structure to the countering of resource and energy shortage by means of synthetically produced fuel out of plastic waste.

Alina Kudasheva from the Tokyo Institute of Technology was awarded first prize for her research focusing on the prevention of a global clean water crisis through the development of a technology for obtaining drinking water from the atmosphere. As winner of the Falling Walls Lab Tokyo, Alina will receive an invitation and a flight ticket to attend the Falling Walls Lab finale, which is to be held on November 8 in Berlin. More than 100 winners from the many Falling Walls Labs located all around the world are expected to attend the event in Germany. The price for runner-up was given to Matt Escobar from the University of Tokyo for his research on generating and visualizing connections within complex amounts of data. The third place was awarded to Ery Fukushima from the University of Osaka for her proposed deployment of plant genes during the biogenesis of natural materials in the development of medical drugs, which promise to exhibit a high degree of effectiveness and a reduced amount of side effects.

The Falling Walls Lab was launched 2011 in Berlin and is held annually on the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At present, there are more than 30 Falling Walls Labs worldwide. The winners of these local Labs will qualify for the finale in Berlin on November 8. The Tohoku University was the first institution to host a Fall Walls Lab in East Asia in 2014. In 2016, for the first time a Falling Walls Lab was held in Tokyo.


Falling Walls Lab Tokyo 2016, The winners

1st Place
Tokyo Institute of Technology
"Breaking the Wall of Global Water Shortage"

2nd Place
The University of Tokyo
"Breaking the Wall of Data Visualization"

3rd Place
Osaka University
"Breaking the Wall of drug development using plant genes"


The Jury

Prof. Dr. jur. Heinrich Menkhaus
Chair of German Law, Faculty of Law, Meiji University
Chairman of the German JSPS Alumni Association

Dr. Helmut Wenisch
Head of Corporate Technology, Siemens K.K.

Dr. Anders Karlsson
Vice President, Strategic Alliances, Global Academic Relations, Elsevier

Dr. Ayano Takeuchi
Toho University, Junior Associate Professor

Dr. Saiki Hase
German Research Foundation, Deputy Director, DFG Office Japan

Dr. Yuko Harayama
Executive Member, Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

Interview with Dr. Ery Odetter Fukushima, Falling Walls Lab Tokyo 2016 third prize winner

About FWL Tokyo 2016

Foto: DWIH Tokyo


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