Falling Walls Lab Brisbane

12 August 2022

In partnership with Study Queensland, Honorary Consulate of Germany, Australian Academy of Science, DAAD Australia, Australia Germany Research Network and Euraxess, Queensland University of Technology hosted the 4th Falling Walls Lab in Brisbane.

Falling Walls Lab provides a unique global platform for our students, entrepreneurs, and early career professionals to profile their innovative solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. As an organisation dedicated to promoting Queensland as a premier study destination and a preferred partner for education, training, research and innovation, Study Queensland is proud to sponsor the Falling Walls Lab Brisbane in 2022.
We look forward to hearing how some of our best and brightest can, in three minutes, change the world – and we know that this competition can change their lives!

Bryony Hilless, Executive Director, Study Queensland 

Young scientists in Australia are very creative in suggesting new solutions for big challenges we face, locally and globally. Falling Walls In Berlin is a unique opportunity to showcase and gain support these ideas and talents. At the Australian Academy of Science we welcome the great support from our partners in Queensland and NSW, across the Nation and from Germany in selecting and supporting our next team FWL2022 from Australia.

Hans Bachor, Australian Academy of Science 



The Falling Walls Foundation founded the Falling Walls Lab in 2011 to: 

CONNECT aspiring innovators
DISCOVER and develop talents
SUPPORT interdisciplinary dialogue and international cooperation

DEVELOP new ways of scientific communication
BUILD new and strong networks

About Falling Walls Lab (FWL)

The Falling Walls Lab series is a global pitch competition organised by the German Government with regional partners. Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Berlin, dedicated to the support of science and the humanities.

Established in 2009, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it looks for answers to the question ‘Which are the next walls to fall as a result of scientific, technological, economic and sociological breakthroughs?’

Each year, around 100 Labs take place globally attracting more than 1,000 presenters of which the best will be invited to present at the final in Berlin, the Falling Walls Science Summit.

The Australian Academy of Science has been hosting the Falling Walls Lab Australia competition since 2016 in partnership with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Canberra. The first Falling Walls Lab Brisbane took place in 2009, which marked its fourth anniversary in Brisbane, hosted at QUT on 12 August.

Besides FWL Brisbane, in 2022 a Falling Walls Lab took place in Sydney (23 August).

The Australian Falling Walls Lab was hosted in Canberra on 26 September and the global final in Berlin took place on 7-9 November.

The call for applications for Falling Walls Lab Brisbane invited candidates from Queensland, The Northern Territory and Western Australia and attracted 17 applications from six universities (UQ: 6, QUT: 3, Griffith: 3, Bond: 1, Charles Darwin: 2, USQ: 1). These were reviewed by four members of the judging panel who shortlisted 10 applicants, of which eight were female. Nine of the invited candidates attended and presented in person, one remotely.

The ten participating early career researchers were:

  1. Yunan Ye, UQ
  2. Danielle Lee, Griffith University
  3. Clara Jiang, UQ
  4. Khyiah Angel, Charles Darwin University
  5. Tess Brading, QUT
  6. Nipuni Thanthrige, QUT
  7. Jackson Miller, Bond University
  8. Louise Ong, QUT
  9. Khyiah Angel, UQ
  10. Chanchat Kururp, Australian Catholic University


2022 Falling Walls Lab Brisbane

Falling Walls Lab Brisbane 2022 was hosted by the QUT Business School, Gardens Point campus and attracted 50 people including presenters and judging panellists.

The event was kindly sponsored by Study Queensland. QUT provided the facilities and the administrative support for the event. The DAAD, EURAXESS, Australia and New Zealand, and the Australian-German Research Network (AGRN) helped promoting the event. The Australian Academy of Science provided essential advice and helped coordinating with the FWL headquarter in Berlin.

The judging panel consisted of:

  • Prof Charlotte Brownlow, USQ
  • Prof Melissa Bull, QUT
  • Mrs Sarina Hobbin, Study Queensland
  • Prof Chamindie Punyadeera, Griffith University
  • Prof Susanne Schmidt, UQ
  • Mr Nishant Shandilya, EURAXESS, Australia and New Zealand

Event chaired by Prof Michael Rosemann, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The MC of Falling Walls Lab Brisbane 2022 was Hans-Albert Bachor AM, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Quantum Science, Australian National University.

Each presenter had three minutes to pitch their work followed by two minutes of Q&A. The following topics were covered by the presenters:

  • Infertility costs
  • Antifungal resistance
  • Depression
  • Declining literacy
  • Paediatric chronic pain
  • Crop loss
  • Mental illness
  • Tissue engineering for drug discovery
  • Conservation communication
  • Borders in nursing

The panel evaluated each presentation based on three criteria according to the global FWL assessment framework.

–  Breakthrough factor (50%)

–  Relevance and impact (40%)

–  Structure and performance (10 %)

In addition, the audience was invited to vote for one presenter (‘Audience Award’).

Here’s a snapshot of Falling Walls Lab Brisbane:

Winners of the Falling Walls Lab Brisbane: 

  1. Tess Brading, QUT, Paediatric Chromic Pain
  2. Danielle Lee, Griffith University, Anti-fungal Resistance
  3. Clara Yiang, University of Queensland, Treating Depression

Audience Winner: 

  • Nipuni Peththa Thanthrige, QUT, Crop Loss
A special highlight was that all participants received their awards from the Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Dr Jeanette Young AC PSM. Her Excellency engaged with each participant individually and the young researchers very much appreciated the opportunity to interact with Her Excellency.

The picture on the right shows the Governor of Queensland and the winning participant of the event, Ms Tess Brading from Queensland University of Technology.

Her Excellency and Prof Graeme Nimmo RFD had visited the Falling Walls Lab in Berlin in May 2022 and as a result asked to attend FWL Brisbane.

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All of the five winners were invited to present at the national final in Canberra on 26 September which was an online event. Here, Dr Clara Jiang was one of the three winners at this highly competitive final and with this qualified for the global Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin! The other two came from the University of Tasmania and the Australian National University.

On 7 November Dr Jiang presented as one of in total 80 carefully selected candidates her work to an audience consisting of cross-disciplinary global experts. Her presentation was very well received. This is what Dr Jiang wrote in reflection. The picture shows her during her presentation in Berlin.