The Falling Walls Lab Australia set the stage for inspiring ideas

The Falling Walls Lab Australia took place for the first time on 24 August 2016. The event was hosted by the Australian Academy of Science and supported by the Australian National University, the Embassy of Germany in Canberra, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Embassy of Germany in Wellington.

25 innovative thinkers showcased their research projects, initiatives and business models in front of a cross-disciplinary jury made up of high-ranked representatives of business and academia. The presentations spanned a broad spectrum of scientific fields such as medicine, biosecurity, sustainability and economics.

The distinguished jury selected the best presenter who travels to Berlin on 8/9 November 2016 as one of 100 international participants. The winner is also awarded a ticket for the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November where some of the world's most prominent scientists from around the world present their current breakthrough in 15 minutes each. 


Meet the winner

Kim van Netten     Australia     University of Newcastle     Breaking the Wall of Tailings Dam Disasters

Extraction of metals from the earth, while vital to our way of living, can have catastrophic impacts. For example the collapse of tailings dams, which are used to store waste water from mining enterprises, can suddenly release vast, toxic material flows. By exploiting the hydrophobic effect using a smart binder to form agglomerates with metals and minerals in less than 1 sec, the fine particles are easily separated from mining waste water, removing the need for tailings dams. This has great potential to reduce the environmental impact of mineral extraction and mining.


Meet the jury

Susan Bannigan, CEO, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation

Adam Dixon, Partner, A.T. Kearney

Dr. Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist (Jury chair)

Prof. Stephen Goldson, Deputy Chief Scientist of New Zealand

Dr. Keith McLean, Director of Manufacturing, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Dr. Deborah Rathjen, CEO and Managing Director, Bionomics

Prof. Brian Schmidt, Nobel Laureate, Vice-Chancellor and Nobel Laureate (co-host), The Australian National University

Simone Whetton, Partner, Corporate Advisory CBP Lawyers, Board Director German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce

Susan Wilson, Non-executive Board Director, Innovation and Science Australia (advisory board to Prime Minister)


Dr. Alan Finkel, Kim van Netten and Prof. Brian Schmidt at the Australia Lab 2016.


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