Falling Walls Lab Tokyo 2017

© DWIIH Toky

The Falling Walls Labs Tokyo 2017 took place in National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) on May 27. The internationally oriented science communication contest has been held for the second time in Tokyo and was jointly organized by the German Research and Innovation Forum Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo) and EURAXESS 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 and young professionals from all disciplines, the presentations covered a wide range of thematic domains. A distinguished jury composed of scientists and industry representatives, including the winner of FWL Tokyo 2016, Alina Kudasheva. The jury 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 May 27. Despite highly specialized research projects, the speakers succeeded in sharing their ideas and conveying their enthusiasm for their research to the audience. The topics ranged from microbiome research through quantum technology to food waste reduction. A workshop with Matt Escobar, Science Communicator of the Miraikan and runner-up of the FWL Tokyo 2016, provided the audience an opportunity, to deepen their understanding of the principles of efficient science communication.

Ana Verissimo from Saga University was awarded first prize for the presented application of 3D bioprinting to tissue and organ engineering. As winner of the FWL Tokyo, Ana will receive an invitation and a flight ticket to attend the FWL finale on November 8 in Berlin, in which the winners of the around 30 FWL worldwide are going to participate. The price for runner-up was given to Albert Mufundirwa from Kyushu University for his research on fuel cell catalysts that can contribute to globalization fuel cells. The third place was awarded to Miku Katayama from the Osaka Prefecture University for introducing a method to deliver therapeutic molecules through cancer membranes.

The FWL 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 60 FWL 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 FWL in East Asia in 2014. In 2016, for the first time a FWL was held in Tokyo.

Falling Walls Lab Tokyo 2017, The winners

1st Place

Ana Verissimo
Saga University
“Breaking the Wall of lack of tissue for regenerative medicine”
Video of the presentation

2nd Place

Albert Mufundirwa
Kyushu University
“Breaking the Wall of energy cost and sustainability”
Video of the presentation

3rd Place

Miku Katayama
Osaka Prefecture University
“Breaking the Wall of cancer membrane”
Video of the presentation

The Jury

Dr. Alina Kudasheva (Winner of FWL Tokyo 2016)
Spiber Inc.

Professor Hiromi Yokoyama
Kavli IPMU, The University of Tokyo

Luca Escoffier
EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

Professor Parissa Haghirian
Sophia University

Dr. Sebastian Lacher
Bosch Corporation

Professor Yoshiaki Maeda
Tohoku University