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Young Innovators pitch their ideas at Falling Walls Lab

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Published on Friday, 24 May 2019

Pallavi Sabharwal was awarded the first prize in the “Falling Walls Lab” 2019 at the University of Luxembourg, a pitch competition for young innovators. The jury was impressed by her idea to genetically modify a plant virus, so it can be used to deliver therapeutic antibodies directly to the cells where there are needed. The first prize consists of a 1.500 € cash prize plus the opportunity to participate in the qualification round for the Falling Walls Lab Finale that will take place in November in Berlin.

Over 20 applicants pitched proposals ranging from a device that can transmit smells and tastes over long distances, to risk assessment software to support GDPR compliance, to a solution that would allow pet owners to monitor the movement and health of their animals during flights.

The second prize worth 1.000 € went to Kacy Greenhalgh for the development of a phone app that provides cancer patients with evidence-based dietary recommendations and allows patients to plan an optimal diet based on their type of cancer, treatment, and symptoms. Manuel Castillo-Lopez won the third prize (cash value 500€) with a solution that would allow robots to anticipate the movement of humans making interactions safer.

The EY Venture Prize went to Varvara Markina whose start-up MeGeno analyses an individual’s genome and identifies potential disease risks that require health surveillance. The aim is to enable early detection of diseases and prevent their outbreak. She will receive personalised coaching from the EYnovation team and gain access to EY Finance Navigator.

The Audience Prize endowed with 1.000 € was awarded to Ursula Heins Marroquin for a new approach that allows researchers “to leverage the full capacity of yeast as a research organism and transform drug repurposing in the context of ageing,” as she explained.

The Falling Walls Lab Luxembourg is a platform for academics, entrepreneurs and professionals from all disciplines, providing them with an opportunity to present their “wall breaking” idea to a broad audience and a distinguished jury from academia and business. Sponsors of this year’s edition providing the prize money were the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), the incubator Technoport and the University of Luxembourg.

The event is part of the international Falling Walls Lab initiative with the aim of providing a forum for the next generation of outstanding innovators and creative thinkers. All over the world, participants get the opportunity to present their research work, business model, or initiative to peers, a high-calibre jury made up of experts from academia and business, and the general public - in only 3 minutes each.