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FSE Researcher Development Blog

Report: Manchester’s Second Falling Walls Lab

The Manchester Falling Walls Lab took place for the second year running on the 25th July, again hosted by Manchester Enterprise Centre, at the University of Manchester. Manchester is currently the only city in the UK to have held a Lab twice and it was another successful event.

Inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the aim of the Falling Walls Foundation is to provide a platform by which innovations in a wide field of research, addressing real world problems, can be presented and discussed with a wider audience. It is supported by many high profile individuals, companies and universities and has seen labs held around the world so far this year including in Ghana, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Australia, Hawaii and Malaysia.

Last years’ Manchester winner, Daniel Laing, attended the Annual Falling Walls Conference in Berlin in November to present his idea for making better use of autistic peoples unique skills and mindset in the workplace and this years winner was awarded the same prize. Daniel has now gone on to set up his idea as a business.

Twelve finalists were selected to present, each given a very strict three minutes by the host, MEC Lecturer Robert Phillips. The presentations covered a vast array of world problems from social, economic and scientific including addressing rural poverty, climate change, quantum computing, tornado proof shelters and improving nanogel drug delivery. All the presentations stimulated animated and friendly questioning which even continued after the event had finished. Judges Lynn Sheppard, Veronica Sanchez Romaguera and Kieron Flanagan deliberated while presenters relaxed with some refreshments in the Zochonis Building’s Thought Cafe.

The winner was Gordon Feld who discussed using sleep to break harmful addictions with 2nd and 3rd places going to Aranzazu Carmona Orbezo for her water purification research and Eve Kekeh for sustainability in baby clothing. All the presenters enthused that it had been a great opportunity to discuss their research with a wider audience and give them useful public speaking experience to an audience who were not experts in the presenters’ particular field. It is hoped Manchester will be chosen again in the near future to hold another Falling Walls Lab.

More details on Twitter @DrRobPhillips

Links
Manchester Enterprise Centre (www.manchester.ac.uk/mec)
Falling Walls (www.falling-walls.com)

Robert A. Phillips