Review 2016 – 2020 | How it all started

Berlin Science Week is a project of the non-profit Berlin-based Falling Walls Foundation. It was launched in 2016 with financial support from the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Senate Chancellery Higher Education and Research.

The original idea was, and still is, to establish an international science festival in Berlin that brings people together annually in November as a place for transdisciplinary exchange, lively debate, and the celebration of science.

What began in 2016 with 40 events over 10 days and the participation of exclusively local and national science institutions, has since developed into a veritable international science festival.

Already in 2017 we welcomed the first renowned international science institutions, such as the Austrian Institute of Technology, Tohoku University Sendai, or ETH Zurich, and the festival already attracted an audience of 15,000 people.

Highlights of the 2018 edition included the first global summit of Research Museums exploring the transformative potential of research as well as the first international conference on blockchain for science, research, and knowledge creation.

In 2019, we started a collaboration with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin to create a central festival hub: the Campus. On four stages and with numerous exhibitors, over 2,500 people came together for two days full of inspiring scientific events. Especially events such as the Science Award Ceremony of the Senate of Berlin, or the Welcome Reception of the Falling Walls Foundation including the Rundfunkchor Berlin in the Dinosaur Hall left a lasting impression!

In 2020, the onset of the pandemic presented us with major challenges. It quickly became clear that we had to adapt and take the leap into the digital. Unfortunately, this meant that the newly founded Campus had to be put on hold. However, in cooperation with the Falling Walls Science Summit and over 130 organisations, we succeeded in creating a fully digital programme that enabled the participation of people from all corners of the world.

This unique experience showed in particular the importance of international and transdisciplinary cooperation as well as the important role of basic research, evidence-based decision-making, and a continuous dialogue between science and society.

In this sense, we strive to make an essential contribution to the communication of scientific findings and the debate about them in the years to come. 🚀

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