Breaking the Wall of Crash Protection in Lightweight Vehicles at the 1st MSCA Falling Walls Lab in Brussels

Breaking the Wall of Crash Protection in Lightweight Vehicles at the 1st MSCA Falling Walls Lab in Brussels

30th October 2017

By Jazib Hassan

‘I am proud that the EU’s Marie Skłowdowska – Curie Actions (MSCA) have funded more than 100,000 fellows so far.  This is a great achievement for our programme which trains and supports the most promising researchers.’ These are the words spoken by the European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Tibor Navracsics, at the end of the 1st MSCA Falling Walls Lab and European Researchers Night.

The 1st MSCA Falling Walls Lab is an interdisciplinary competition between researchers funded by MSCA from all fields, presenting their research ideas in 3 minutes. The competition was first announced in June 2017, and I successfully applied to participate. On 24th September 2017 I travelled to Brussels to attend the event. The event started off with a training session on how to present research ideas in lay man terms in the span of 3 minutes. The same day DEBATRIX Rotterdam gave the training to 30 participants and organised mock sessions, followed by a group dinner.

The MSCA Falling Walls Lab event kicked off on 25th September, 2017 in the European House of History. The event was hosted by Christophe Robeet (a Brussels-based journalist) and the jury was chaired by Patricia Reilly (Deputy Head of Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture) and five other members, Dr. Axel Cleeremans, Dr. Vesna Prchkovska, Dr. Katrien Pype, Dr. Brian Cahill (Chair of Marie Curie Alumni Association) and Dr. Eric Vezzoli. Organisers told us that there will be three winners and that the top two candidates will participate in Falling Walls Finale in Berlin.

In the afternoon, I presented my topic ‘Breaking the Wall of Crash Protection in Lightweight Vehicles’. In my presentation I talked about my view why composites are the preferred material in the automotive and aerospace industry, discussed some of my research results, and presented the objectives of the ICONIC project. Both audience and jury applauded my presentation. In the end, Fabien Wagner and John Palmer were selected to participate in the Falling Walls Finale in Berlin, with their presentations on treating paralysis with Neurotechnologies, and how to avoid mosquito-borne disease, respectively.

The event ended with a cocktail session in which all the participants, jury members and media representatives participated. It was indeed a memorable experience, in terms of talking to people from different research areas and convincing them of the importance of my work in simple words. I would like to thank the EU Commission for funding my participation in the 1st MSCA Falling Walls Lab, for organising the event. and that all participants felt welcome. I wish all the other participants best of luck in their research career and I hope I will meet them in a similar event in the near future.

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