Dalhousie calls students and early‑career professionals to pitch ideas to improve the world

- May 25, 2023

Sarah Martell presented her research at the 2022 Falling Walls Lab competition in Germany (supplied photo).
Sarah Martell presented her research at the 2022 Falling Walls Lab competition in Germany (supplied photo).

Dalhousie University is bringing the annual global Falling Walls Lab pitch competition to Atlantic Canada for a second year. Applications are now open for current student and early-career professionals to pitch their innovative ideas in just three minutes, showcasing breakthroughs with the potential to create a positive impact on science and society.

The global contest draws contenders from Falling Walls Lab competitions in close to 90 countries around the world. The winner of Dalhousie’s Falling Walls Lab Atlantic Canada will join them in Berlin, Germany for the finals.  

Watch highlights from last year’s global Falling Walls Lab competition

Win your ticket to go global

To determine Atlantic Canada’s winner, Dalhousie will host a regional pitch competition in-person on September 7, 2023 at the Halifax Central Public Library. To take part, prospective competitors need to apply to the Falling Walls Lab Atlantic Canada by June 21, 2023.  

Apply to compete

In addition to a flight to Berlin and three-nights of accommodation, the winner of the Atlantic Canada competition will be registered to attend the Falling Walls Science Summit 2023, where they will mingle with Nobel Laureates and other global thought leaders. The winner will also receive professional pitch training.  

At the summit, you will attend an exclusive program, including an introductory session and networking dinner, expert workshops on topics such as career development, entrepreneurial skills, and academic publishing, and events hosted by German research organizations such as the German Research Foundation.  

Take it from Dal’s 2022 competitors

“It felt awesome. I was nervous but there is such a great sense of community. As soon as I got up to pitch, I felt confident because the audience really responded so positively,” said Sarah Martell, one of two Dalhousie PhD students who travelled to Germany for the 2022 competition. Martell presented on her research that has contributed to the development of a clean and sustainable method to produce hydrogen fuel on demand.  

Sarah Martell makes her pitch at the Falling Walls finals in Berlin

Fellow chemist Dalhousie Tina Taskovic revealed yet another ground-breaking discovery – a newly configured battery with the potential to last 50 years. She described how her “autopsies” on dead batteries in the lab led to the innovation and its exciting potential to help us move away from fossil fuels.

Tina Taskovic makes her pitch at the Falling Walls finals in Berlin

“There are very few opportunities for someone at my career stage to have a literal global stage to share their research and to be in a room with so many like-minded people from around the world,” says Taskovic. “I feel so validated in what I’m doing. It’s an amazing reminder of what it’s all for. Suddenly it all makes sense.”

Three minutes to change the world

It’s about inspiration. Competitors have just three minutes to present a solution to a pressing global challenge. It’s about impact not intricacy. Contenders will need to pusuade a jury from academia, media and business, as well as an audience, that their idea or innovation has the potential to make a positive change.  

“Your breakthrough could be a project you have already implemented, a research topic you are currently developing, or a business idea yet to be realised. Our jury members appreciate authentic presenters with a clear vision and proof of concept,” says Lara Elena Kadegge (photo, right), senior project manager for the Falling Walls organization in Germany.

“Three minutes is all it takes — an elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive, and memorable speech that sparks the interest of the audience and takes them on a clear and logical journey. The jury uses three criteria to evaluate presentations: the breakthrough factor (how innovative is the proposed idea?), the relevance/impact (how relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?), and the performance (how convincing was the pitch?).  

A tip that never fails? Focus on the solution, not on the problem!”


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