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Luxembourg National PhD Welcome Day 2021

#doctoralux.

Every year, Research Luxembourg players join forces to welcome new PhD candidates.

The 6th edition of the National PhD Welcome Day will take place on 29 September 2021.

What does the research landscape look like in Luxembourg? How to network with doctoral candidates and organisers of doctoral training?

The 2021 National PhD Welcome Day is a great opportunity for all first-year PhD candidates in Luxembourg to find out more about what research in Luxembourg has in store while meeting the people behind research.

Doing research faster, further, together

All over this day, PhD students are introduced to the Research landscape in Luxembourg and are provided with all the information needed to ensure a great and fruitful stay. Specific information are provided about PhD life cycle while meeting doctoral associations and the Ombudsman’s office.

Explore the 2021 programme

In conversation with our young researchers

In 2020, Luxembourg was home to nearly 930 doctoral students. Meet six of them who contributed to Research Luxembourg series In Conversation with our young researchers.

Rutuja Bhusari

Rutuja Bhusari is a PhD candidate at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). She is seeking to create a gas sensor powered by nature combining materials at nanoscale. Her research explores how to reduce the energy consumption of gas sensors.

Christopher Morse

Christopher Morse is conducting a doctoral project as a joint member of the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) and the Human-Computer Interaction Research Group of the University of Luxembourg. The human-computer interaction researcher specialises in the design of user interfaces for digital arts and cultural heritage.

Pauline Mencke

Pauline Mencke is a third-year PhD candidate at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB). She aims to identify common mechanisms shared by the diseases. Her research would allow for the identification of a common pathway and potential drug target, ultimately improving the outlook for patients.

Daniele Proverbio

Daniele Proverbio is a doctoral researcher at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg. His main research lies at the intersection of physics, systems biology and computational sciences.

Adelene Lai

Adelene Lai is a PhD candidate at Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) is an environmental cheminformatician who develops workflows, algorithms, and software to help identify environmental chemicals.

Damien Negre

Damien Negre is a joint PhD candidate, conducting his research both at the University of Luxembourg and the University of Bordeaux. His research is aimed at improving the situation of both Consumers and Businesses in the European Union.

Get practical information about National PhD Welcome Day 2021

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In conversation with our young researchers: Christopher Morse

In an age when the museum experience is no longer tethered to physical spaces, how might we design for memorable experiences in the digital? Christopher Morse is conducting a doctoral project as a joint member of the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) and the Human-Computer Interaction Research Group of the University of Luxembourg.…

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In conversation with our young researchers: Dr Chiara Amorino

Why do we need stochastic differential equations? Where are they used? Dr Chiara Amorino is a PostDoc researcher in the Probability and Statistics group at the University of Luxembourg. The mathematician specialises in stochastic differential equations with jumps. Stochastic differential equations to model various phenomena Chiara Amorino mainly focuses on stochastic differential equations with jumps.…

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Industrial & Service Transformation Latest news

From lab to startup: legAI

legAI.

Meeting compliance requirements involves wasting many hours doing mundane tasks that could be automated.

The University of Luxembourg’s spin-off legAI takes care of such tasks in just one second so that lawyers can spend more time on what really matters.

By combining automatic reasoning, data analysis and legal expertise, computer scientists from the University of Luxembourg have developed a solution that automates critical tasks so that companies can focus on decision-making.

Automating legal decision-making

Tomer Libal is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg. His research is focused on Automated Deduction and especially on applications to law. He recently created the legAI application to make the data protection risk assessment process easier.

When a company has invested in a new human resources management system, for example, making sure it is legally compliant is often a complex task and requires a legal expert. LegAI takes care of such tasks in just one second.

“Our tool is asking you different questions which lead you towards the answer, so you can make the decision and take the responsibility. The idea is to do all the bureaucracy and leave you with the decision process.”

Tomer Libal @legAI

From project to proof of concept

Going beyond the creation of the application, Tomer Libal has submitted a Proof-of-Concept project with the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). Indeed, the researcher has developed an easy-to-use product to give companies a much better legal understanding.

In the process, the postdoc researcher is seeking to get a closer view on business’ needs.

Tomer Libal plans to present his first prototype in 2022 and develop his own company in 2023.

More about Tomer Libal

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From lab to startup

From lab to startup: digitalUs

Whenever you go online, you leave a digital trail of information footprint. It says where you’ve been, how long you’ve been there and what you’ve been doing. Whenever you sign up for an online service, send an email and […]

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In conversation with our young researchers: Christopher Morse

 Human-computer interaction.

Museums and cultural institutions around the world have been digitising their collections for decades, resulting in large networks of digital repositories all around the world that are not only accessible by the public, but usually free to use.

In an age when the museum experience is no longer tethered to physical spaces, how might we design for memorable experiences in the digital?

Christopher Morse is conducting a doctoral project as a joint member of the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) and the Human-Computer Interaction Research Group of the University of Luxembourg. The human-computer interaction researcher specialises in the design of user interfaces for digital arts and cultural heritage.

Bringing together the digital humanities, museum studies, and computer science

Christopher Morse’s work is grounded in human-computer interaction methodologies, which emphasise human-centered design thinking approaches to the development of new technologies. His project is highly interdisciplinary, drawing from the digital humanities, museum studies, and computer science.

The American researcher investigates the application of user experience (UX) design methodologies in the development of next-generation interfaces for museums.

“Within my own project, I partnered with the Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art in Luxembourg City to host a series of design workshops with the public on the subject of digital museum interfaces.”


Christopher Morse

In terms of impact, Christopher had the opportunity to present his research to cultural institutions in Luxembourg, i.e. the Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art and the Lëtzebuerg City Museum.

A researcher at heart

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Japanese Language and Literature and Harvard University, earning a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Christopher developed an interest in library and museum studies, as well as the emerging field of digital cultural heritage.

Christopher moved to Luxembourg from the United States in 2017 to run his research project.

“I have always been a researcher at heart, and the doctoral programme certainly put those skills to the test. Research is more than just reading and writing; it’s also about defending your point of view, challenging your own thoughts, and developing resilience against rejection.”

Christopher Morse

Before moving to Luxembourg, Christopher was a Senior Research Computing Specialist for Arts & Humanities Research Computing (DARTH) at Harvard University.

Why Luxembourg as a research destination?

Two main factors were appealing to the researcher: “First, Luxembourg is a multilingual country, something I appreciate tremendously as a lifelong language learner. Second, the description of the call itself was a perfect fit: research at the intersection of the digital humanities and psychology.” Indeed, this doctoral programme felt like a natural continuation of efforts he made as a co-founder of an annual symposium at Harvard University called ArtTechPsyche.

“In my experience, the research infrastructures are robust and well supported. I never felt like I was missing out on anything I may have needed to conduct my work. What I have found is that researchers have a lot of agency to make the most of their time in Luxembourg, they must merely speak up about their needs.”

Christopher Morse

A TED speaker

In 2019, Christopher Morse was one of the speakers at TEDxUniversityOfLuxembourg. Titled “Experiential Culture: Feeling the Museum of the Future”, his talk offered a new approach to interacting with our shared cultural heritage.

The experience of visiting museums has evolved to extend beyond the walls of the institutions themselves into digital spaces, where online galleries, exhibitions, and virtual tours invite audiences to explore arts and culture from their personal devices. However, generating interest from the public around these platforms remains a challenge, and the digital experience rarely compares to an in-person visit. Building on research that demonstrates the effectiveness of emotional design as a way to generate public engagement with physical museum spaces and exhibitions, Christopher showed that a user-centered design approach has the potential to develop novel experiences around digitised museum collections.

Experiential Culture: Feeling Museum of the Future | Christopher Morse | TEDxUniversityofLuxembourg

About living in Luxembourg

Christopher has found in Luxembourg a place he can call home. “I have discovered so many things about Luxembourg itself that have motivated me to stay long term. It feels like a place that embraces the values that are most important to me, such as multilingualism, multiculturalism, and open-mindedness.”

“My favorite thing about Luxembourg is how well I feel it matches my values. No country is perfect, but during this time of sociopolitical upheaval, it is a privilege to live in a place where many people embrace differences, rather than fear them.”

Christopher Morse

Christopher Morse’s research comes from the FNR PRIDE funding. Find out more about him and his projects.

Meet our young researchers

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Luxembourg a leader in the EU for internet quality

person using macbook air on table

Digital Quality of Life Index 2021.

According to the 2021 Digital Quality of Life index, Luxembourg scores high globally in terms of internet quality, e-infrastructure and mobile broadband growth.

What’s the digital quality of life like in Luxembourg? Where does the country stand in Europe and globally?

The 2021 Digital Quality Life index assesses 110 countries on the quality of a digital well-being. The global research, which covers 90% of the global population, is calculated by looking at the impact of five core pillars: internet affordability, internet quality, e-infrastructure, e-security, and e-government.

Luxembourg ranks high in internet quality, e-infrastructure and mobile speed growth

For the first time, Luxembourg has taken part in the Digital Quality Life index. Overall, the country ranked 15th and 10th in Europe in the study conducted by cybersecurity company Surfshark.

@2021 Digital Quality of Life Index

In the 2021 index, Luxembourg has the highest internet quality in the EU and the sixth highest in the world. The country also has the fastest mobile speed growth in the world and the second highest mobile internet stability.

@2021 Digital Quality of Life Index

As for e-infrastructure, Luxembourg ranks 9th globally, behind Germany and ahead of the UK.

@2021 Digital Quality of Life Index

What our researchers say

A post doctoral researcher in the Bioinformatics Core group of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg, Dr Soumyabrata Ghosh highlighted the high digital quality of life in Luxembourg.

“I like Luxembourg a lot. It is a nice and welcoming place to stay. Life is peaceful and internet bandwidth is high.”

Dr Soumyabrata Ghosh, researcher in the Bioinformatics Core group of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg

Read Soumyabrata Ghosh‘s complete interview.

More about the 2021 Digital Quality Life index.

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Raising awareness to address 5G fears

5G-PLANET.

The introduction of 5G networks has raised many concerns, mostly related to the radiation associated with the technology.

Education on 5G is essential to combat popular fears effectively.

What is the impact of 5G on mobility performance compared to other communication technologies? Is it better than other technologies?

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), in collaboration with Luxembourg’s Department of Media, Telecommunications and Digital Policy (SMC), is launching an awareness-raising platform to present and explain the technologies behind 5G, and in particular to make the complex world of 5G mobility concepts approachable to the general public.

Luxembourg Digital Twin in action to explain 5G

The 5G-PLANET project aims to create a copy of the existing 5G infrastructure in Luxembourg, i.e. digital twin, to show its use, capabilities, limitations, etc. to a wide audience.

5G-PLANET primarily seeks to share LIST’s experience in the planning and design of new 5G networks, using Luxembourg as a practical example. It will specifically target connected mobility applications and intelligent transport systems, which are among the most promising uses of 5G from a socio-economic perspective.

Deploying new network technologies is complex and exploiting their full potential is also a challenge, but one that can generate massive economic benefits down the road. Mobility is an excellent example to illustrate this point and explain to the general public the interest of using new, low latency communication means”

Sébastien Faye, Senior Research and Technology Associate and Project Leader at Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

5G-PLANET intends to provide a decision support system for planning and designing 5G networks for cooperative, connected and automated mobility (CCAM) applications. This system will be demonstrated to raise public awareness of the value of these technologies. The Digital Twin approach will provide an attractive visual showcase for public awareness.

“Our objective is to propose an awareness-raising platform that makes complex 5G-mobility concepts accessible to the greatest number of people in the long run. The dissemination of the project to the general public will be guaranteed through several complementary channels.”

Sébastien Faye, Senior Research and Technology Associate and Project Leader at Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

More about this educational 5G awareness project.

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Latest news Personalised Healthcare

Luxembourg rewarded for its translational medicine excellence 

Translational medicine.

The Luxembourg node of the European Research Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) network was granted the EATRIS Node Reward Framework award for its significant contribution to the efforts and impact of the European infrastructure in advancing translational medicine in 2020.

The EATRIS Luxembourg Node, coordinated by Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and its Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL), as well as the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg, was rewarded for its achievements in terms of translational research.

The award recognised the remarkable efforts of the Luxembourg Node members with regard to Research Luxembourg two flagship COVID-19 studies CON-VINCE and Predi-COVID, as well as the collaborative FNR-funded doctoral training programme i2TRON.

Research Luxembourg institutes standing together

The EATRIS institutes in Luxembourg play a crucial role in setting up training programmes and clinical studies focused on translational science and personalised medicine. This excellence was particularly evident in 2020, when all research institutes in Luxembourg came together to rapidly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, while pursuing their existing research activities

CON-VINCE was launched in April 2020 as one of the several initiatives put in place under the aegis of the Research Luxembourg COVID-19 task force to help contain the current pandemic. By screening a statistically representative panel of volunteers for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the study will identify asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals and follow them up for a year.

Ultimately, the study aims to generate accurate data on the prevalence and transmission of the disease, assisting policy-makers in taking evidence-based decisions.

The Predi-COVID study aims to identify important risk factors and biomarkers associated with COVID-19 severity and long-term health consequences of the disease in Luxembourg. Predi-COVID will contribute to better understanding why some patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 develop severe symptoms while others present only mild forms, which will ultimately lead to more personalised care recommendations.

The study will also include household members of Covid-19 positive participants to study the transmission of the virus in this high-risk population.

EATRIS was founded in 2008 as a research infrastructure comprising over 114 non-profit and academic translational research institutions, located in 14 European member states, collaborating to overcome the fragmentation of the academic research environment and to consolidate knowledge and expertise, with the ultimate aim of accelerating the translation of scientific discoveries into benefits for patients.

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In conversation with our young researchers: Dr Chiara Amorino

Stochastic differential equations.

Stochastic differential equation models have a major contribution in many fields of application, including biology, chemistry, physics, finance as well as social and economic science.

Why do we need stochastic differential equations? Where are they used?

Dr Chiara Amorino is a PostDoc researcher in the Probability and Statistics group at the University of Luxembourg. The mathematician specialises in stochastic differential equations with jumps.

Stochastic differential equations to model various phenomena

Chiara Amorino mainly focuses on stochastic differential equations with jumps. In simple terms, it is a differential equation with a solution which is influenced by boundary and initial conditions, but not predetermined by them. In other words, whenever the equation is solved under identical initial and boundary conditions, the solution takes on different numerical values although, of course, a definite pattern emerges as the solution process is repeatedly performed.

Stochastic differential equations find applications in many disciplines including economics and finance, physics, population dynamics, biology and medicine. The Italian researcher uses this powerful tool to model multiple stochastic phenomena in physics, biology and medical, social and economic science.

“In finance, stochastic differential equations with jumps have been introduced to model the dynamic of the exchange rates, of the asset prices and of the volatility. Utilisation of jump-processes can also be found in neuroscience. Therefore, stochastic differential equations with jumps attract the attention of many statisticians.”


Dr Chiara Amorino

Chiara Amorino is also involved in projects dealing with Stein’s method, Malliavin calculus and Hawkes processes.

Finding a true vocation in research

A graduate of the Università degli studi di Milano in mathematics, Chiara developed an interest in probability and statistics when she was a master’s student. In October 2017, she conducted a PhD in “Université d’Evry Val d’Essonne” under the supervision of prof. Arnaud Gloter before defending her thesis three years later.

“Research is for me a true vocation […] The best part about research is that it takes more time than you expected but in the end you always win. ”

Chiara Amorino

To the mathematician, research is similar to a board game. “At the beginning you need to read the rules and to focus a bit to understand how to play. You really need to take this part to play and have fun. At the beginning of every project you need to review the literature, to understand what it is possible to prove and what has already been proven. After that, you can start playing by making hypotheses and writing your results.”

Why Luxembourg as a research destination?

While attending a conference, Chiara Amorino met Professor Mark Podolskij, who was then living in Denmark. “I wrote to him to see if there was the possibility to apply for a post-doc in his group. He answered to me that there was such a possibility in Luxembourg, as he was changing his affiliation.” That is how Chiara moved to Luxembourg.

“I strongly recommend Luxembourg as a research destination. Research infrastructures are very good, they show the strong commitment of the country in investing in research.”

Chiara Amorino

According to the Italian scientist, the Luxembourg research environment supports interdisciplinarity and collaboration: “it is possible to meet researchers from different disciplines, discuss with them and somehow start collaborating. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to travel and attend conferences abroad, having in this way the possibility to promote our work and, in the meantime, get in touch with other researchers.”

Collaborating with ERC grantee Prof. Mark Podolskij

Chiara Amorino’s research project is part of the ERC grant “Statistical Methods for High Dimensional Diffusions (STAMFORD)”, awarded to Prof. Mark Podolskij.

The STAMFORD project aims at providing a concise statistical theory for estimation of high dimensional diffusions. The methodological part of the project will require the development of novel advanced techniques in mathematical statistics and probability theory. In particular, new results will be needed in parametric and non-parametric statistics, and high dimensional probability, that are reaching far beyond what is state-of-the-art today. Hence, a successful outcome of STAMFORD will not only have a tremendous impact on statistical inference for continuous-time models in natural and applied sciences, but will also strongly influence the field of high dimensional statistics and probability.

About living in Luxembourg

Relocating to Luxembourg was an easy move to Chiara Amorino as the University of Luxembourg supported her in dealing with the administrative process.

In addition, the international dimension of the country contributed to the successful integration of the scientist. “Luxembourg is a very attractive country and so people from all around the world move here.”

“Luxembourg is really beautiful, full of green and of castles, and safe. When you go out for a walk, you perceive immediately the well-being of this country.”

Chiara Amorino

Find out more about Chiara Amorino and her projects.

Meet our young researchers

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Industrial & Service Transformation Latest news

Research to empower companies’ space ambitions

New space movement.

Over the last three decades, Luxembourg has created a thriving scene of space activities where more than 50 companies have emerged.

The new space movement has given rise to a private sector making it possible for more and more businesses to reach for the stars.

Luxembourg has given priority to its space strategy. With its new space movement and a supportive institutional framework, the country provides start-ups with a conducive ecosystem.

The Computer Vision, Imaging & Machine Intelligence Research Group (CVI2) of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) – a research centre within the University of Luxembourg, aims to support businesses in making a breakthrough in space.

How research supports space companies

For many companies in the space industry, creating a team covering the whole spectrum of expertise can seem as difficult as rocket science.

With contributions needed in the areas of materials science, structural engineering, manufacturing and robotics, as well as in computer vision, research in Luxembourg offers a significant advantage to both start-ups and established entities, approaching projects from all angles.

With a team of interdisciplinary researchers, a computer vision lab and the Zero-G lab, SnT enables start-ups to make real progress, steering research in the right direction.

“Offering space companies the opportunity to partner with research to access broader expertise allows them not only to fill in the gaps, but also to focus their efforts on their core business.”

Prof. Djamila Aouada, head of the CVI2 research group and co-head of the Zero-G Lab at SnT

When Research Luxembourg and a start-up enter a ‘new space’ partnership

SnT and Lift Me Off have teamed up to develop technologies that will give service vehicles intelligent visual processing. The start-up is committed to the safe and sustainable use of space by exploring the fields of autonomous satellite services in orbit.

As a result of their collaboration, the SPARK simulator for orbital space detection emerged. This project is certainly one of the most important contributions of research to the Luxembourg space industry. Indeed, the application represents an important step forward in the design of deep learning algorithms for space applications. The simulator also includes target recognition in the critical area of space debris, as well as the complex business of position estimation.

While formally owned by SnT, the simulator has the potential to have a great impact on the sector, with a wide range of applications for future partnerships.

The Zero-G Lab – moving in absence of gravity

The Interdisciplinary Space Master’s Zero-G laboratory is designed to test the motion of orbital robotics, satellites and other spacecraft in a micro-gravity environment.

By seeing how spacecraft and orbital robotics can be controlled or operate with decoupled systems in this environment, researchers can explore, understand and predict their behaviour in space.

@Zero-G Lab – Interdisciplinary Space Master – University of Luxembourg

Read more about the Computer Vision, Imaging and Machine Intelligence Research Group.

More about SnT and Lift Me Off partnership.

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Exploring the origins and fate of lunar water

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is collaborating with institutes from Europe and abroad, for a more robust interpretation of lunar ‘soil’ analyses from samples beneath the surface in the South Pole region of the Moon. They are looking at how water ice molecules behave when changing from ice state to vapour state. “That’s…

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Latest news Personalised Healthcare

Obesity: a new tool to diagnose visceral fat by Research Luxembourg

Personalised medicine of obesity.

Visceral fat is an intra-abdominal adipose tissue stored around several organs, including the stomach, the intestines and the liver.

Visceral Obesity is a major risk factor for developing several diseases, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer, as well as dementia and some inflammatory diseases.

Accurate measurement of visceral fat remains tricky. Keeping track of your Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference are not the best ways to tell if you are losing visceral fat.

The new online tool Visceral Fat Calculator provides an accurate and easy assessment of visceral fat deposits in adults.

This innovative tool is the result of a successful collaboration between Research and Development teams of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) with Dr Hanen Samouda and the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) with Dr Frédéric Dadoun.

Obesity is a growing disease in Europe

Over more than half of adults in the EU have obesity and overweight, according to Eurostat.

Source dataset: hlth_ehis_bm1e

Obesity is a chronic multifactorial disease, probably due to a combination of several factors.

An increase in visceral fat of more than 130 cm² defines Visceral Obesity, which also comes with a series of health complications that can be fatal. Visceral fat depots might increase in people having normal weight, overweight or obesity. 

Usual measurement of obesity, validated by the World Health Organisation, is based on the BMI assessment. Yet, the index does not distinguish between fat mass and fat free mass and is therefore a poor diagnostic tool for general obesity.

Visceral Fat Calculator: an accurate, simple and readily available tool 

The Visceral Fat Calculator is based on an innovative anthropometric model has been validated as the most accurate indicator of cardiometabolic risk, as well as cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality, when biomedical imaging data is not available.

Using this online tool, users enter their gender, age, weight, height, and waist and thigh measurements. Based on these parameters, the tool calculates the amount of visceral fat, providing an indication of the presence or absence of visceral obesity.

Find out more about the Visceral Fat Calculator and the NutriHealth Group.

NutriHealth Group is part of the “Public Health Research” (PHR) that belongs to the Department of Population Health Luxembourg Institute of Health.

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Luxembourg hosts international flagship cancer epidemiology conference

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Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Scientific evidence is not an opinion

Science please!

Traditionally, scientific evidence serves as a foundation for novel hypotheses, innovations, and, conveniently, for making informed political decisions. While this process is usually limited to a few, the Covid-19 pandemic has suddenly thrown us all into it.

More than ever, explaining what scientific processes entail and what scientific evidence is to the public at large has become critical.

Why does scientific evidence make it difficult for researchers, decision-makers, the media and the public at large to manage? What challenges does a pandemic pose for science? How can we all contribute to making scientific evidence widely shared?

Even when research is compelling, personal opinion may trump scientific thinking. Case in point: speculation about the origin of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has persisted since the beginning of the pandemic, spawning misinformation and conspiracy theories. This type of debate may occur when we choose to believe a personal opinion over scientific evidence or statistics.

Understanding scientific evidence

Anyone can have an opinion, formulate it as a statement and try to back it up. Scientists also make assertions, called hypotheses. But in science, every claim must be supported by what is called evidence. In other words, such evidence must be confirmed by recognised, ongoing scientific methods and critically reviewed to confirm, refine or reject it.

Scientific evidence is an ongoing process. Seeking truth, i.e. guaranteed knowledge, is emerging slowly. Along the way, it is not unusual to find out that on some points the hypotheses were wrong and need to be revised. In fact, scientific evidence is usually the result of a large number of studies, conducted by different scientists. And the truth is then a consensus that prevails at a given date among the majority of scientists.

Scientific evidence is a continuum

Scientific evidence is often a consensus of the majority of scientists at a given time. It is therefore not unusual for scientists to change their minds or positions. Indeed, evidence is constantly being supplemented by new findings, refined and sometimes turned down.

What is a common process for scientists can be very confusing for decision makers and the public.

Why is a pandemic such a challenge for scientists?

Finding answers is part of research and researchers are constantly seeking new evidence, knowledge, the truth. They do not only communicate and discuss possible uncertainties or the strengths and weaknesses of their studies among themselves, but in the current crisis they had to share them with the public.

In the situation of a pandemic, we are faced with a dilemma: science needs time, but political decisions cannot wait.

Science is not simple

Science is a process of learning and discovery. Finding out that what we thought was right is then wrong is part of research.

Scientific evidence is often tainted with uncertainty. In public debates that are based on scientific evidence, this poses challenges. Scientists might not always say whether something is completely right or wrong.

The responsibility of politicians, journalists and individuals is to take into account the complete range of information available and to make decisions based on probabilities.

Science cannot provide absolute truths. But its mission is to bring us ever closer.

Scientists may find it important to communicate more clearly about what is known and what is not known and to define what uncertainties go along with evidence.

Translated extracts from “Que sait la science? L’évidence scientifique en temps de pandémie” published on Science.lu

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