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2021-09-23

Interview with Sebastian Turner, founder of the Falling Walls Foundation

You initiated the Falling Walls Conference in 2009. What was your underlying motivation?

2009 was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and countless retrospective events were announced. I volunteered to support the Berlin Science Senator at the time and suggested they do a future-oriented event called "Falling Walls" with the guiding question "Which are the next walls to fall?". After that, it turned the event was entirely unprecedented with its three "i "s - international and interdisciplinary and intersectoral. In addition to that, it connects the very identity of Berlin and the peaceful fall of the Wall with global questions about the future. The response to it was so positive that we turned this unique event into an annual forum which is by now one of the most relevant scientific meetings worldwide. 

What role do food topics play at the Falling Walls Conference and Berlin Science Week? Has their importance increased over the years?

We have strived for a broad dissemination of the major issues facing humankind. Food is inevitably one of them - from agriculture to health to CO2 avoidance.

How do you rate the importance of bioeconomy for science? How much do you think this topic will influence science and also our lives in the coming years?

I'm just a kind of novice at the event, marveling at the achievements of science. As far as the prediction of research results is concerned, I'm in fact seeking advice myself.