• Brain City Ambassador organizes 2nd Falling Walls Lab in Tunis

For the second time, a Falling Walls Lab was held in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on 21 September 2019. The event was organised by Brain City Berlin Ambassador Dr Sana Amairi-Pyka to bring together young scientists from a wide range of fields. The winner of the lab, Walid Jomni from Tunis Business School, qualified to participate in the Falling Walls Lab at Berlin Science Week.

It's about "groundbreaking solutions to the biggest challenges of our time." And tearing down walls in our thinking and in our actions. Since 2009, top researchers, up-and-coming talents, and decision-makers have been meeting in Berlin every year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to present and discuss pioneering research results at the Falling Walls Conference.

A central format of the conference taking place on 9 November 2019 at Radialsystem in Berlin is the Falling Walls Lab: a competition where young researchers from around the world pitch their innovative ideas. One of these will be Walid Jomni from Tunis Business School, who wants to break down the "walls of autism" with his virtual reality project. The young Tunisian won the second Falling Walls Lab held in Tunis on 21 September.

The event was organized by Brain City Berlin Ambassador Dr. Ing. Sana Amairi-Pyka, who founded the lab in Tunis in 2018. "Falling Walls Lab events are very important because, unlike other competitions, the aspect of scientific breakthrough is crucial. This makes the lab a powerful tool for assessing the extent to which local competitors are aware of innovations and technological advances in the world," said Amairi-Pyka, currently a postdoctoral researcher in quantum optical metrology at Humboldt University Berlin. "It also tells us how good the system is: Does it promote creativity? Do smart, young scientists trust their ideas and do they have the tools to make them happen? This, in my view, is an extremely important and necessary evaluation."

The idea of organizing a Falling Walls Lab in Tunisia came to Sana Amairi-Pyka two years ago, when she helped organize the Falling Walls Lab in Berlin-Adlershof. "During this successful and very inspiring event, I wanted to give young innovators in Tunisia an equal opportunity to exchange brilliant ideas in different areas."

Above all, two hurdles had to be overcome in order to realise the project in Tunis: first, there was finding a way to present the event in Tunisia. Many Tunisian universities did not have the necessary resources for this. "The fact that the event was to be held in English was also an issue, as Tunisia is a French-speaking country," recalls Amairi-Pyka.

Following the Lab's great success last year, Sana Amairi-Pyka organised the Falling Walls Lab 2019 in collaboration with the Faculty of Sciences of Tunis and the Tunisian Physical Society. The main partners of the event were Tunis Science City, the Central University of Tunisia, and the National Center for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies (CNSTN).

 "I love Berlin. Berlin is a rich and diverse environment for scientific research institutions. It was an honour to represent my city as much as possible," says Amiari-Pyka. An ideal opportunity for the junior researcher to exchange and network with colleagues from around the world as an ambassador of the Brain City and to develop further transnational ideas. (vdo)

Further information

Falling Walls Conference 2019
Portrait of Ambassador Dr Sana Amairi-Pyka

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