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Future breakthroughs in science

PhD student Aliona Nacu participated recently as finalist in the internationally renowned Falling Walls Lab competition in Berlin.

Group photo of all the young Falling Walls Lab contestants 2014
The 100 Falling Walls Lab contestants. Aliona Nacu in the middle in front line.
Photo:
Falling Walls 2014

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The brightest minds on the planet

Falling Walls is an international conference on future breakthroughs in science and society, annually organized in Berlin. In connection to the conference there is a competition for young researchers where they get 3 minutes to present their research to a public and a jury. The contestants have already won semifinals in 18 cities throughout the world, plus some who were chosen directly. This can be compared with Forskning Grand Prix in our country, but on a high international level, and in connection to a conference where you can find Nobel Prize winners and previous heads of governments both in the audience and as lecturers.

The best of the best

PhD candidate Aliona Nacu participated as representative from the University of Bergen. She was chosen directly among the applicants, and did not have to compete to get to be among the 100 chosen as the brightest young minds in research. That is an achievement in itself. In addition, the Berlin jury was impressed with her presentation and the significance of her research, and voted her up among the best in the Falling Walls Lab competition! The best contributions are breifly showed in the video Fallings Walls has made from this year's competition, where we can see Aliona in action.

- The Falling Walls Lab is an international forum, Aliona explains. - It aims at building and promoting interdisciplinary connections between young excellent academics, PhD and master students, entrepreneurs and professionals till 35 years old from all around the world and all fields. It offers the opportunity to excellent young academics and professionals to present their outstanding ideas, research projects and initiatives. Each participant presented his/her work in 3 minutes (2.30 min presentation and 30 seconds for questions from the audience and jury). Every year the Finale is held November 8th in Berlin, with 20 prestigious members of the jury from science and business. This year there were 100 finalists from 34 countries in the finale.

More efficient acute stroke treatment

Aliona's presentation "Falling wall of Acute Stroke Treatment" is based on her PhD work on a new acute ischemic treatment that combines trombolysis, ultrasound and microbubbles within 4.5 hours after stroke symptoms starts.  This could lead to less damage to the brain, and save the lives of more stroke patients.

Educational experience

- The Falling Walls Lab competition was fantastic, Aliona tells. -I was impressed by the variety of topics presented and the motivation, energy and the great competition. It was a very busy day, but truly inspiring for me. I had a chance to talk with other participants and the jury in the breaks who shared their different background with me.

Before the journey to Berlin there were rehersals and training. - I want to thank Professor Lars Thomassen and Communications Adviser Marion Solheim for helping me to prepare my talk. By their help I came well prepared to Berlin, Aliona says gratefully.

Semi-final in Bergen?

Falling Walls is not well known in Norway, and it should be. This is a research conference where you can meet the brightest minds of the world, and is one of the most important windows to the future. Aliona's research aroused international interest. While in Berlin, she was interviewed by German and French media. Aliona has an idea on how to make us more involved. -It would be very nice if UiB next year could organise a Falling Walls Lab semi-final and send contestants to Berlin. The Falling Walls Lab competition is a wonderful experience– an intellectual feast!

We hereby pass the challenge on to the UiB!