A Queensland researcher who wants to stop broken glass ending up in landfill will head to the prestigious Falling Walls Berlin Conference next month with the support of TIQ’s Study Queensland.

Falling Walls is a German-based foundation that was formed in 2009 on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Falling Walls’ events give academics, entrepreneurs and other professionals an opportunity to present their research, business model, innovative project or social initiative to a distinguished audience from academia and business.

University of Queensland PhD candidate Rhys Pirie will present at Falling Walls Berlin on 8 November, showcasing how broken glass too small to be sorted into the right colour and remade into glass can be recycled for other uses.

Mr Pirie has worked with Professor Damien Batstone to develop a chemical recycling process that repurposes these small shards into thousands of consumer products as diverse as tyres and toothpaste.

With the support of Study Queensland, he was one of 4 Queensland researchers who competed at the Australian Falling Walls finals in Canberra recently, winning third place on the national stage.

Study Queensland organised local experts who specialise in social-justice initiatives to coach and sharpen the pitches of all 4 Queensland finalists.

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said Falling Walls Australia had been a tremendous platform for the state’s leading minds in science and innovation.

‘Queensland had 4 researchers at the national finals, presenting on everything from detecting superbugs to treating depression,’ Ms Willoughby said.

‘All of our entrants were of a high calibre and we are thrilled to have a Queenslander in the international finals this year.

‘Their efforts will help not only Queensland and Australia, but also the world.

‘Queensland fosters a strong spirit of research and innovation, and Rhys’ success is testament to that.’

Inspired by the many legacies that arose from the demise of the Berlin Wall, Falling Walls invites academics, entrepreneurs and other professionals to answer the question: Which walls will fall next?

Innovation is identified as a key factor in export success in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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