Falling Walls Lab Queensland 2022 Pitch Competition
Queensland University of Technology Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Sheil AO; Director of QUT’s Centre for Future Enterprise and Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Professor Michael Rosemann; representing the Australian Academy of Science, Emeritus Professor Hans Bachor AM FAA; distinguished guests; students and entrepreneurs!
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I am deeply honoured to be here today, in the company of such clever and inspiring people, who are united by the desire to solve the world’s most challenging problems through exceptional thinking.
I thank the Jury Chair, Professor Michael Rosemann, for inviting me to speak today.
Only a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet representatives from the Falling Walls Foundation in Berlin, and was deeply impressed by the way this unique global platform encourages excellence across disciplines—particularly through its Falling Walls Labs, which this year are taking place in over 100 cities across the world.
After the Berlin Wall came down on November 9 1989, ordinary citizens used hammers and picks to destroy this symbol of containment and division.
The walls faced by the ten incredible Queensland innovators who have pitched today, may not be made of bricks and mortar, but they are just as tough to crack.
You represent an array of disciplines and institutions, and your trailblazing ideas have the power to enhance the lives of humans, and the fortunes of the planet itself.
While not all of you are able to go through to represent Queensland in the national Lab in Canberra, you have each demonstrated remarkable intelligence, talent and immense courage, to develop your ideas and present them to such an esteemed jury.
Of course, three minutes of pitch-time belies the untold hours that have gone into generating your ideas, and I congratulate you all for your tireless commitment and dedication.
What Falling Walls Lab Queensland delivers is tremendous hope, because it gives our most amazing minds an opportunity to explore, knowing their work will be valued and applauded for its bravery and vision.
I again thank Professor Rosemann, whose efforts are helping to forge even stronger ties between Queensland and Germany. I know—from my recent travels—that there are exciting collaborative projects in progress, particularly around green hydrogen, that will help create a cleaner world.
I also acknowledge the contributions of the jury members, whose outstanding expertise makes this decision considered and comprehensive, and thank the Queensland University of Technology, the Australian Academy of Science, Study Queensland, and other supporters for fostering innovation.
Finally, I again commend all ten Queensland researchers here today—I am sure your work will continue to be groundbreaking.
Now, it is my absolute pleasure to award certificates to the winning three presenters, and I wish you every success as you represent Queensland in September’s national event, with a view to reaching the Berlin Finale in November.