Each year from March to October, renowned academic institutions around the world host local 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.

September 2021 the DAAD Office Beijing hosted together with the Institute of Physics, CAS as well as Helmholtz Association the Falling Walls Lab Beijing.

Presentations  have ranged in topic from social sciences to  natural sciences. 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.

Melanie Späthe, deputy representative of the DAAD Office Beijing, main organizer and moderator, is giving her greeting remarks to the participants and distinguished Jurymembers  in Beijing

An eight-member jury chaired by Professor He Hong, Chief Representative of the Helmholtz Association, chose the winner of the Beijing Lab together with 7 distinguished Jury members. The final Falling Walls Lab was held in Berlin on November 9th.

See below impressions of our winners as well as our full recording of the event (video):

The First Prize

LIU Yuqi, BREAKING THE WALL OF Anode-free Na Batteries

“The Beijing-Jury of the Falling Walls Lab attributed its highest score for the short-list of the People´s Republic of China to Mr. Li Yuqi (from CAS-IOP) for his pitch: Breaking the wall of anode-free Na Batteries. Electrochemical energy storage will be a key enabling technology to satisfy the exponentially growing demand for green energy. His exceptional presentation skills and innovative ideas to develop anode-free Na Batteries won the highest score with the jury – it could solve almost all problems of the currently popular lithium battery and therefore revolutionize energy storage for future generations.”     ——Andrea Heyn

“I am very impressed by the innovation case “new battery design with NA”, which is also the winner by this year’s Falling Wall Labs Beijing. Battery is used widely in today’s world. Talking about the NA battery, it is a revolutionary battery design. Compared with traditional Li battery design, Na battery would have more advantages, including environment friendly, bigger existing quantity, safer, more temperature endurance. I do believe it is a trend which will change the future world.”     ——Dr. LI Ruicheng

The Second Prize

CHENG Fuhao, BREAKING THE WALL OF 2D Virtuality and Our 3D World

“The Falling Walls Lab program for young innovators began in China in 2017. The FWL Beijing 2021 attracted a few brilliant finalists who were compared according to three criteria: whether the idea itself is strikingly innovative and has a scientific basis, whether its plausible to develop in a short period of time, and whether the speaker’s 3-minute presentation was skillful and engaging. The central focus was to select the smartest presentation with the most potential as our first place winner to join the final contest in Berlin. Mr. Fuhao CHEN, a postdoc in Southern University of Science and Technology who was originally from Taiwan, put forwards his concept of 3D naked eye display for flat screens such as a smart phone. However, he encountered issues with the demonstration of his 2.0 version on the smart phone, so could only be selected as a runner-up. A few others candidates could also have improved their presence and performance. I am fully convinced that future FWL participants should better learn the rules of FWL and would benefit from the expertise of previous candidate. This would help them present themselves more skillfully as competent and charming innovators.”    ——Dr. He Hong

Outstanding Presentation


“Besides the excellent presentation of the winner, the idea of Breaking the Wall of eating from Dr. Xie has also caught the eyes of the juror Xiaolong Ma. “Digitalization is widely used in industry and in our daily life. Integration of digital methods in diet monitoring and control could change our lifestyle. The model is up scalable and has the possibility to include almost all the important aspects of the heath such as monitoring, nutrition, therapeutics, and treatment. Diseases and disorders, be those behavioral, mental, or physical, can be diagnosed, managed, prevented and treated. This will deliver a foundation for a future of healthy living.”    ——Dr. Ma Xiaolong

Chong Cheng Tung, BREAKING THE WALL OF Zero-Carbon Fuel 

“Dr. Chong has an impressive and expressive presentation style that really helped to highlight the importance of his research on the use of ammonia as alternative to fossil fuels. Emission driven climate change is probably the biggest global challenge facing the world today. Dr. Chong represents the great lengths the scientific community is going to identify alternatives and solutions. Though every new approach has its own set of challenges that need to be addressed, Dr. Chong convincingly showed how these problems can be addressed to pave a promising way forward.”    ——Halldor Berg


“Light, cheap, and convenient passive prostheses are in great demand in our society. It will be much favorable for the improvement of the elderly and disabled people’s life. I am impressed by the innovation case “Breaking the Wall of Active Protheses”, which is also the third winner by this year’s Falling Wall Labs Beijing. This development of passive prostheses needs multiple-discipline knowledge from mechanics, medical science, and ergonomics. I do believe passive prostheses could provide more medical service for those people who need specialized help, and promote the well-being of the society.”     ——Prof. Shi Yi

Final competition Berlin: BREAKTHROUGH WINNERS

Over 1.000 nominations from 115 countries were reviewed by the jury chaired by Helga Nowotny, Former President of the
European Research Council. The breakthroughs were presented during the Falling Walls Science Summit on 9 November in Berlin, the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

As Jürgen Mlynek, the Chairman of the Falling Walls Foundation, adds: “The number of participating institutions and countries is growing each year. This is a positive trend that shows that the Falling Walls Science Summit makes an important contribution to the international scientific community and brings the best research on stage in Berlin“.

Ana Montalban-Arques, Winner of Falling Walls Lab Switzerland, won Breakthrough of the Year in the Emerging Talents category of Falling Walls with her pitch on Breaking the Wall of Ineffective Cancer Therapies. Her novel approach applies bacteria as a stand-alone therapy for colon cancer, a therapeutic approach that shows striking efficacy of bacteria as monotherapy.

Effective Cancer Therapies

Dr. Ana Montalban-Arques joined the University of Zurich in 2018. Since then she has been leading a project about gut microbiota and its influence on colorectal cancer development. In 2019, she received the CCCZ fellowship, which helped to develop her translational project. In 2020, she was awarded with the UZH Entrepreneur Fellowship and with the SNF/InnoSuisse BRIDGE PoC. This funding allows her to turn this translational research project into a spin-off company, with the aim of developing a live biotherapeutic product as an oral therapy for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

The entire Event:

The entire Event:

Zum Aktivieren des Videos klicken Sie bitte auf das Vorschaubild. Wir möchten Sie darauf hinweisen, dass nach der Aktivierung Daten an den jeweiligen Anbieter übermittelt werden. Auf bilibili ansehen

Organizers in Beijing

Melanie Späthe, DAAD Office Beijing (German Academic Exchange Service)

About DAAD

DAAD has a long tradition of uniting people and academia. Founded in Heidelberg in 1925 on the initiative of a single student, the DAAD has since become one of the most important funding organizations in the world for the international exchange of students and researchers.

The DAAD supports over 100,000 German and international students und researchers around the globe each year – making it the world’s largest funding organization of its kind. We also promote internationalization efforts at German universities, help developing countries build their own systems of higher education, and support German Studies and German language programmes abroad.

The DAAD Office Beijing was founded in 1994. We offer consultations on study and research exchange and stipends. We offer advice to German higher education institutions who wish to enter the Chinese education market and we promote networking contacts within the vibrant community of Chinese DAAD-Alumni in China. DAAD is part of the German cultural policy network.

Prof. Fang Shaobo, YIPA Beijing (Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS)

About YIPA

YIPA was founded since 2011 by President of CAS, aiming to provide supports for excellent young scientists in CAS. YIPA got ¥0.6 billion input from CAS annually and supported ~5000 members (including ~100 NSFC outstanding scientists, ~400 NSFC excellent scientists).

Prof. Cheng Meng, Postgraduate Department, Institute of Physics CAS

About Institute of Physics CAS

IOP is the leading research institute in China in condensed matter physics and related fields. Through more than 90 years of development, IOP has become a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary research organization engaged in research on basic and applied physics. Its current research activities concentrate on condensed matter physics, optical physics, atomic and molecular physics, plasma physics, soft matter physics, and condensed matter theory and computation physics.

Prof. He Hong, Helmholtz Association

About the Helmholtz Association

With 18 national laboratories and 45000 employees, the Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific research organization in Germany; it runs an annual budget of 5 billion euros. Helmholtz is focusing strategic application oriented cutting-edge fundamental research in six major fields: energy, earth and environment, health, aerospace and transportation, key technologies, and materia. Helmholtz is working closely with international partners to find solutions to grant scientific and societal challenges towards sustainable development. The major Helmholtz activities are well in line with China’s 14th five-year plan。

The Helmholtz Association is one of the first German academic institutions to receive Chinese researchers since 1977 and there are around 1500 Chinese researchers in the Helmholtz Centers. Helmholtz is working closely with CAS, the China Scholarship Council, and it runs an annual postdoc program with the Office of China Postdoctoral Council, supporting excellent postdocs going to Helmholtz Centre or coming to a postdoc station in China.