Falling Walls Lab Ankara 2020 – the first digital Lab worldwide!

In the light of the developments of COVID-19 and the worldwide measures taken to slow the spread of the virus, the Falling Walls Lab Ankara 2020 Event couldn’t take place as a personal gathering this year.
In response to the ongoing situation and with the strong belief that science communication is more important than ever, we had nevertheless decided to continue with the organization of the Lab in a different way, that considers the health and well-being off all involved, to discuss breakthroughs in science and society.
Therefore, we developed a solution to implement the first digital Falling Walls Lab worldwide.

On 25th of April, a wide variety of breakthroughs was presented by 11 Labsters from different Turkish Universities on a virtual platform to more than 100 (virtual) guests from all over the world. The event this year took place in cooperation with Middle East Technical University and Bilkent University Ankara and was moderated by the Master of the Ceremony Dr. Lutz Peschke from Bilkent University in Ankara, added by welcoming remarks from Franziska Trepke, Director of the DAAD-Information Centre in Ankara, Friedo Sielemann, Head of the Economics Department from the German Embassy in Ankara and Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yozgatlıgil, former Vice President of Middle East Technical University and new Vice President of The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) who is supporting the event since 2017.

In 3 minutes 11 students, young scientists and entrepreneurs were presenting their innovative ideas and research projects to a highly distinguished jury from various disciplines in academia and with different business backgrounds. In the end three winners were selected. The first place qualified for the Falling Walls Lab Finals in Berlin – which will also take place as a digital event, as an in-person international conference in Berlin this year is no longer feasible.

Congratulations to the three winners:

1st Place: Alperen Keles from Middle East Technical University Ankara with "Breaking the Wall of Software Bugs

2nd Place: Kholoud Elkazzaz from Istanbul Medipol University with „Breaking the Wall of Horizontal Design of Solar Plants“

3rd Place: Masoumeh Jahani Kadousaraei from Middle East Technical University with „Breaking the Wall of Orthopedic Fractures (Broken Bones)“

During the evaluation process of the jury members, all guests could listen to a panel discussion of former Ankara Labsters. Efe Alpay, who was the winner of the first Falling Walls Lab Ankara in METU 2017; Nektar Ege Altintoprak, who won the Falling Walls Lab in 2018; Berat Kjamili who was 2nd in 2018 as well as Sarp Bilecen who was the winner of 2019, talked about their experiences in the finals in Berlin, how Falling Walls affected their path towards and how they are still connected to the Falling Walls Lab Ankara Family.

We are more than pleased and honored that – in a year filled with extraordinary circumstances that demand a new level of flexibility - the Falling Walls Lab Ankara still could take place the 4th time in a row. The new concept of the event gave us the opportunity to reach a global community, make it a worldwide event and to keep up with our mission in strengthening science communication.

Thanks to everyone who was part of the event!

Franziska Trepke
Director of the DAAD Information Centre Ankara