Three minutes. That’s how much time the eleven participants had at the Falling Walls Lab Austria 2023 at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) to present their project visions for a better future. The young talents from a wide range of disciplines from science and business presented their innovative ideas and concepts in exciting short pitches. The aim was to convince the top-class jury of experts and to secure participation in the worldwide final in Berlin on 7th November.
The winning idea
The jury chose Fabio Blaschke from TU Graz as the winner of the Falling Walls Lab Austria 2023. His project idea deals with an improved storage option for hydrogen. This ensures the safe and reliable supply of green hydrogen even over long distances. To this end, Blaschke has developed new, iron-based materials in which hydrogen can be stored in large quantities by means of an iron-steam process. This allows hydrogen to be transported safely over long distances. The material used is easily recyclable.
“This success is overwhelming,” says Falling Walls Lab winner Fabio Blaschke. “There were so many good projects. For me it was nice to see so many young scientists working every day to make the world a better place.”
The podium places
Second place went to Julia Kruselburger from TU Wien, whose project aims to improve the barrier-free use of digital applications such as calendars. Since people with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities often have difficulties with calendar information in text form, Julia Kruselburger’s app “Independo” helps by providing pictograms and audio information to make appointments easier to understand.
Philipp Moosbeckhofer from Med Uni Graz and Michael Richter from HyCentA Research GmbH shared third place. With his app “Alice”, Philipp Moosbeckhofer helps patients with cardiovascular diseases to better understand their condition and treatment options. Michael Richter’s project is dedicated to the transport of hydrogen through existing gas pipelines. To do this, he has developed a membrane that only allows water and hydrogen to pass through, thus ensuring that impurities remain behind and that the hydrogen is simultaneously brought to the desired pressure for final use.
Christian Ramsauer, head of the Institute of Innovation and Industrial Management at TU Graz and jury chairman of the Falling Walls Lab Austria, drew a very positive conclusion at the end of the evening: “It was a pleasure to listen to the presentations. I was impressed by the variety of topics and all the pitches were good to very good. Most of the topics presented have a very high social relevance. For us as a jury, the impact of a project was ultimately important and that means it doesn’t always have to be high-tech.”
Second Berlin ticket at the European Forum Alpbach
In addition to Fabio Blaschke’s participation in the final, a second Austrian ticket will be awarded for the final event in Berlin, which will take place as part of the Falling Walls Conference from 7th to 9th November. The winner and the three other top finishers are invited to present their projects again to an international audience of experts at the Technology Talks of the European Forum Alpbach 2023. Whoever wins the public vote there also qualifies to take part in the grand final.
Falling Walls Lab network in more than 60 countries
After its launch in 2011, academic institutions from more than 60 countries are now part of the Falling Walls Lab network. The aim is to promote scientific and entrepreneurial innovation and to encourage the exchange between outstanding young scientists and experts from different fields. That’s why the presentation of the project in front of an international jury of experts is only part of the final in Berlin. In addition, networking events and workshops on topics such as career development, entrepreneurial skills or scientific publications are also on the programme for the finalists.
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