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Look closer: What does it mean to be a researcher?

How much do you know about the research sector in Luxembourg? Scientists are often very different from what people might expect. Watch the video to find out more.

There are a lot of stereotypes about research and scientists, the most common one being: the typical mad scientist with the lab coat or biologist using a microscope. But did you know that this is not an accurate image of science and scientists? From robots for children with autism to lunar rovers, drones, 3D printers or even giant plasma balls, the diversity of the research sector in Luxembourg is great. 

Who participated in the video?

This video features research done in Luxembourg, starring scientists and science communicators from Luxembourg:

The video was created ahead of the 2021 edition of the FNR’s initiative “Chercheurs à l’école“, where researchers visit secondary school across Luxembourg to tell students about life as a researcher. Researchers were able to use the video in their presentations to the students to clear up stereotypes and give them a glimpse of the diverse areas where researchers play an important role.

Video by: Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)
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Industrial & Service Transformation Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news Personalised Healthcare

Stimulating collaborative R&D projects through public-private partnerships in Luxembourg

To facilitate the emergence of projects and support the process of preparing joint projects, a new dedicated digital platform has been set up. It is being tested with this first pilot joint call in the field of health technologies.

A new dedicated digital platform,, has been set up by Luxinnovation, and the three stakeholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to formalise their collaboration. The objective of the call for projects is to stimulate collaborative R&D projects through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

This is the first time in Luxembourg that such a joint call for projects is launched within the research, development and innovation ecosystem. Common objectives have been defined by the National Research Fund (FNR) and the Ministry of the Economy to meet the sector’s development needs, while Luxinnovation plays a facilitating role by providing a digital platform to encourage networking.

A coordinated process

The objective is to facilitate the emergence of collaborative research projects aimed at demonstrating the performance and safety of digital health tools. The development of such new products and services for the benefit of patients requires the combined skills of public research, hospitals and companies. Collaborative projects will be evaluated in a coordinated process. Funding decisions will also be taken jointly by the partners.

“The development of digital tools in health technologies is of crucial importance for the Luxembourg economy. It is part of the implementation of our strategy for data-driven innovation that contributes to the evolution of personalised medicine in Luxembourg.

Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy

“We want to bring together public research institutions, companies and health sector actors around research and innovation projects designed to accelerate the digital transformation in the health sector” 

Marc Schiltz, Secretary General of the FNR

Maximum transparency

To facilitate the emergence of projects and support the process of preparing joint projects, Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency, has initiated the setting up of the platform. Companies, public research organisations, hospitals and healthcare providers are invited to submit project ideas. Luxinnovation’s role will be to follow up on the ideas, in particular by bringing together public and private partners interested in participating.

The call for projects is planned in two stages, with feedback provided to the consortia at the end of the first stage. Only projects relevant to the objectives of the call will be invited to prepare a full application. Finally, the approved consortia can use the platform for preparing the technical documentation required to submit individual applications to the Ministry of the Economy and the FNR.

“Thanks to this platform, we will help researchers and clinicians gain better knowledge of all the innovations in digital health developed by private companies. It will also provide them with new financial opportunities for getting involved in personalised medicine with a real economic impact for the country.

Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation

The platform is being tested with this first pilot joint call in the field of health technologies. It is already open for the “ideation” stage (the creative process of generating, developing and communicating new ideas). It will then open up for the proposal submission period, which will last from 4 May to 30 June. For projects whose ideation component has been validated by the Ministry of the Economy and the FNR, a more complete proposal must be submitted by 15 October, which will then be examined by a panel of external experts. The results will be communicated in January 2022 and projects can start in February 2022.

A webinar presenting the functionalities of the platform will be organised by Luxinnovation on 4 May.

Industrial & Service Transformation Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Public-private partnership towards green steel

Paul Wurth S.A., a company of SMS group, and the University of Luxembourg have entered into an agreement to create and finance the Paul Wurth Chair in Energy Process Engineering. The partnership supports Luxembourg’s ambition to develop a centre of excellence in fields surrounding the emerging hydrogen economy.
© Photo: Sophie Margue/University of Luxembourg

Hydrogen: A key to future energy systems

The Paul Wurth headquarters in Luxembourg is home to SMS group’s global hydrogen competence centre. Hydrogen is considered a crucial factor in future energy systems and energy transformation and in the transition to greener energy sources. One game-changing solution lies in Power-to-Liquid applications for the production of synthetic fuels and downstream products. Hydrogen also promises to become an alternative to coal – both as a reducing agent in steelmaking and as a driver of the large-scale transformation of the steel industry, which today is a large emitter of CO2.

“We are working on the decarbonisation solutions of tomorrow, with the clear goal of enabling CO2-free steel production.”

Professor Hans Ferkel, CTO of SMS group

he agreement between Paul Wurth and the University of Luxembourg to create and finance the Paul Wurth Chair in Energy Process Engineering ties in closely with this ambition. This cooperation will be instrumental for Paul Wurth to become a global innovation centre for metallurgy and hydrogen within the SMS group and to continue the technology-driven initiatives already started by dedicated taskforces. For the university, the initiative is part of its strategy to develop research and an educational offer with a focus on sustainability.

“We look forward to working closely with the University of Luxembourg and are committed to staying in the lead in the global challenge of making green steel,” comments Professor Ferkel.

Cutting-edge research

The chair will be hosted at the university’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) in the Department of Engineering. It aims to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of hydrogen processing and related aspects of carbon-neutral industrial processes. The team attached to the chair will also engage in teaching at Bachelor, Master and doctoral level. In addition, the chair will participate in outreach activities to stimulate interest in key challenges in the field of engineering.

“The creation of the new chair is well aligned with the university’s research strategy and will contribute to the development of the university’s Department of Engineering, in particular in the area of process engineering and hydrogen processing,” says Professor Stéphane Pallage, Rector of the University of Luxembourg. “It will enhance our international visibility, contribute to academic excellence and make a lasting impact on the academic and industrial landscape of Luxembourg,”

“The new chair builds on an existing long-term cooperation between Paul Wurth and the University, in particular in Bachelor and Master teaching as well as the Hydrogen Think-tank initiated within the Department of Engineering. It will be a catalyst for new research activities related to the future hydrogen economy which is important to industry and to the economy in Luxembourg and beyond,” states Professor Jean-Marc Schlenker, Dean of the FSTM.

About Paul Wurth: With more than 1 700 employees and entities in around 20 countries, Paul Wurth is a leading market player for the design and construction of complete blast furnace and coke oven plants. Developing and implementing environmental technologies is a priority for the company.

This article was originally published by the Luxembourg Trade & Invest

21st Century Education Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

University of Luxembourg opens a new Master of Data Science

Starting September 2021, the University of Luxembourg will offer a new Master of Data Science. Based on a multidisciplinary approach, the Master’s programme will train students in data analysis, modelling and management, and prepare them to work in areas as artificial intelligence (A.I), cloud computing, machine and statistical learning or big data.
© Stockphotosecrets

Innovative and interdisciplinary programme

The Master of Data Science, which will be hosted at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM), will train carefully selected students in a multidisciplinary approach. The Master’s programme will build on existing synergies between the University’s disciplines and two of its research centres, the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine and the Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust. Teaching and research activities will be led by renowned academics and researchers from Luxembourg and abroad, who will guide students through the many techniques of data science. In parallel, invited industry experts will help students solve industry-related problems.

“The Master’s programme covers many aspects of data science, including data mining, data processing, data visualisation, statistical modelling and database management. Particular emphasis is placed on machine learning and deep learning techniques and their applications to life sciences, medicine and physics. The pedagogical approaches are varied and based on the practice of data science in each of these disciplines”, explains Prof. Yannick Baraud, course director of the Master.

Prof. Yannick Baraud

Data scientist, a unique profile

Data scientists are trained as both mathematicians and computer scientists. This profile makes them the preferred choice for facing the new challenges of the digital transformation.

Data scientists support decision-making, business modelling and innovation, but are also instrumental to provide legally responsible data management, since improperly managed data can easily become a great liability.

“This new programme is an exciting development. It builds on the recent recruitment of excellent researchers in data science, including statistics and machine learning, and will allow the Faculty to better support the Luxembourg economy by attracting and training talented students in this dynamic field”, adds Prof. Jean-Marc Schlenker, dean of the FSTM.

Industrial and commercial data, key economic drivers

As the fourth industrial revolution unfolds, the global economy and the job market are undergoing fundamental changes. As companies embrace digital transformation, as data sets grow in size and complexity and the opportunities linked to smart connected objects evolve, economic players require skilled data scientists. For sectors such as telecommunications, finance, retail or marketing, data experts are a necessity while sectors as agronomy and transport increasingly seek skilled data experts.

The European Data Strategy predicts that in the next four years the European data economy will account for 6% of the EU’s GDP (830 million euros) and that the number of data professionals on its labour market will have risen from 6 million to 11 million.

On the national level, Luxembourg embraces the process of digital transformation, and the Master of Data Science aligns with the country’s strategy and ambition of a digital nation. “Helping to drive digital innovation and development is one of the strategic priorities of the University, both in its research and its teaching activities, states Prof. Stéphane Pallage, rector of the University. “This is in line with our willingness to explore and address the opportunities and challenges created by the digital revolution. The new Master’s programme is an important element in the implementation of our strategy to grow the pool of promising students and highly skilled researchers at the University and in the region.” 

Data science is also one of intensive research. Graduates of the Master will be trained to go beyond the standard data analyses and model programming, to innovate and improve. For graduates entering the job market, the Master will provide a ticket to choose their future career path. For students wishing to continue an academic career, the Master’s training will prepare them to pursue a PhD in mathematics, computer science or computational sciences.

Learn more on the Master of Data Science

This article was originally published by the University of Luxembourg

Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Strengthening interdisciplinarity: the Institute for Advanced Studies

Six new interdisciplinary research projects have received multi-year funding in the context of the Audacity funding instrument of the University of Luxembourg’s Institute for Advanced Studies.

In addition to its disciplinary excellence, the University has the ambition to strengthen its interdisciplinary approach, which is instrumental to approach both important scientific questions and large societal challenges. The University’s Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) is a concrete instrument to support this ambition.

The six newly selected projects focus on forensic genomics, the microbiome of cancerous patients, the workplace paradigm under COVID-19, the EU monetary policy, robotics and automation, and mechanistic data integration for epilepsy treatment.

The common characteristic of the selected projects is their bold approach to solve complex challenges by taking full advantage of interdisciplinary approaches. Audacity aims at overcoming the barriers between scientific disciplines and sectors, and fostering increased collaboration at the forefront of science at the University of Luxembourg.

The University’s Learning Center on Belval Campus ©FNR

The following projects were retained in the 2020 funding round and will start throughout 2021.

  • CRIMTYP: Meet the Unknown – The future of criminal forensic genomics phenotyping
  • CAMEOS: Cancer Microbiome – Emergent Organisation and Stability across scales
  • W@W: Wellbeing @ Work
  • EMULEG: The Governance of Monetary Policy: The EMU’s Legitimacy Conundrum
  • TRANSCEND: Transforming autonomous navigation, swarm robotics and construction by encoding data into surfaces
  • IDAE: Integrative Data Analysis in Epilepsy

About the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)

The IAS was launched in 2020 with the aim to strengthen the University’s interdisciplinary research and further reinforces its international profile as an excellent research university. Currently, University researchers work on 10 Audacity projects spanning the fields of artificial intelligence, data science, material physics, robotics, law, finance, economics, medicine, microbiology, psychology, politics and history. The next call for Audacity projects will be announced in June 2021.

Building on its strong disciplinary roots, the University uses interdisciplinary research as a catalyst to generate new understanding and innovations to improve the quality of life and society of tomorrow. The Institute is inspired by existing university-based Institutes for Advanced Studies on the international scenery, which are recognised for combining scientific excellence, interdisciplinarity and internationality, and for sharing knowledge and experience with society. As the only IAS in a perimeter of 1000km, the IAS will act as a beacon for research in Luxembourg and the Greater Region.

Learn more on the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)

Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Explore. Inspire. Fascinate: FNR Science Image Competition 2021

Spanning four categories, the award-winning works will receive a 1000 EUR prize and will be widely displayed. Luxembourg-based researchers, collaborators of non-profit organisations, as well as foundations engaged in scientific activities in Luxembourg are encouraged to pick up their camera and document the – often unusual – environment in which they work and to share their passion with the public. Deadline to submit is Monday, 15 February 2021.

Photographs and images will be judged on their aesthetic quality and their aptitude to inspire and fascinate, to convey or to illustrate knowledge, to narrate a story, to engage the public to explore a new universe.

About the competition

The competition was organised for the first time in 2019 on the occasion of the FNR’s 20th anniversary. The awarded images were exhibited in Luxembourg City from September 2020 to January 2021, and printed in a limited-edition souvenir box.

For this second edition, an (international) jury will meet in April 2021 and award a EUR 1,000 prize in each category for the winning entry, as well as EUR 250 for each distinction. The award-winning works will be announced in June, displayed in an exhibition and made available to the public, as well as to institutions.

Learn more on General information and Participation rules on FNR’s website

Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Spotlight on Young Researchers 2021: Early-career scientists, share your science!

Calling PhDs and Postdocs: through Spotlight on Young Researchers, you have the chance to draw attention to a field of research, a question or issue and share the work you are doing and why it is important. Deadline to participate is Monday, 22 February 2021.

Luxembourg has grown and developed as a research destination and is home to hundreds of early-career scientists, many supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). An increasing number of young scientists are choosing internationally up and coming labs in Luxembourg. Many Luxembourgish scientists are also practicing their research across the world. We want to show the diverse range of important research going on in Luxembourg which young scientists are helping make happen. The research disciplines as diverse as the nationalities, we want to put faces and photos to the science. We want to tell stories, narrated by you!

We will use what you send us to write a story, which will be published on (and newsletter FNR Info) in a feature-format and promoted on the FNR’s social media channels (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, Instagram) in varying formats. Stories may also be featured on this website.

Make it visual

Photos and imagery are essential to telling this story. Please include good quality photos in your submission, such as:

  • Photos of you/at work
  • Photos of your work environment
  • Photos related to your work
  • Photos of your work (microscopic images, things you are researching)
  • Videos / clips of your / you in your research environment are also highly welcome!

Consider how photos / images / clips can help illustrate the answers you provide in the submission form and help tell the story.

Finding the right language

With Spotlight on Young Researchers, we want to tell a story, narrated by you. This story must be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your field of research and therefore a lay tone is essential. Below the story, we have a dedicated section where you can go into more scientific detail.

Who is eligible?

Spotlight on Young Researchers is open to early-career researchers previously/currently funded through an FNR grant and/or researchers whose group leader is an ATTRACT or PEARL grantee, who at time of submission are at PhD candidate or Postdoc/Junior PI level (1st year PhD candidates not eligible). Both researchers in Luxembourg and abroad are eligible providing the criteria above are met.

Group submissions of up to 4 people are welcome – at least one person in the group must be FNR-funded.

How to participate

Please send the completed submission form and photos by email or (e.g.) wetransfer to Emily Iversen by Monday, 22 February 2021. Submissions before the deadline are welcome.

Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

Strengthening research in Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) announce the signing of mutual bilateral agreements providing a framework for the ambition of a strategic cooperation.

The University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) announce the signing of mutual bilateral cooperation agreements between the University and LIH and between the University and LIST.

The agreements provide a framework for the ambition of a strategic cooperation between three of Luxembourg’s leading research institutions.

From left to right: Prof. Ulf Nehbass, Prof. Stéphane Pallage, Claude Meisch, Dr. Thomas Kallstenius and Prof. Jens Kreisel

The scope of the agreements covers cooperation in research through participation in joint research projects and programmes, the development of common research platforms and the creation of inter-institutional research groups.

It also aims to reinforce collaboration through the co-affiliation of staff, for instance via Honorary, Affiliated or Joint Professorships. It will help enhance cooperation in teaching and doctoral education by facilitating the contribution of LIH and LIST researchers to the University’s teaching programme at Bachelor and Master level and their access to the University’s doctoral education.

The agreements also encourage the joint use of existing infrastructure for the activities covered by the framework agreements.

The framework agreements were signed by Yves Elsen, chairman of the board of governors of the University of Luxembourg, Prof. Stéphane Pallage, rector of the University, Prof. Ulf Nehrbass, CEO of LIH and Dr. Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST, in the presence of Claude Meisch, minister for Higher Education and Research.

The University of Luxembourg, LIH and LIST have established a strong track record for joint and cooperative research activities, and they are pillars of ‘Research Luxembourg’,” declares Prof. Stéphane Pallage. “We are enthusiastic about enhancing the framework for future impactful research and education cooperation between our institutions, for the benefit of society.”

The framework builds on the deep trust and respect between the institutions, their leadership and researchers, which has been built in Research Luxembourg, in particular during the pandemic,” continues Prof. Ulf Nehrbass. “It is this coordination and alignment which will assure international competitiveness for years to come.” 

“This agreement is a new element which will foster the speed and agility of Luxembourg’s innovation eco-system, states Dr. Thomas Kallstenius. Teaming the complementarity of the roles with the partnership models of the University and our research organisation, is without any doubt a major asset to serve our partners and the society in the best possible way.”

These cooperation agreements will strengthen the whole scientific ecosystem in Luxembourg. By acting in a coordinated and complementary way, the research institutions will leverage their contribution to the big challenges of our time,” underlines Claude Meisch.

Inside Research Luxembourg Latest news

FNR Awards 2020: A digital celebration of science & research in Luxembourg

For the 12th time, the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) held the FNR Awards – the annual celebration of science and research in Luxembourg. For obvious reasons, the normal physical event was simply not possible this year, but this did not stop the celebration from taking place! A solution was found and the event was shifted to 100% digital for the first time. Seven FNR Awards were presented across four categories.

The 2020 FNR Awards were live streamed on various platforms on 19 November 2020. Watch the replay below to get the full experience. Present in the ‘studio’ was host Lisa Burke, FNR Secretary General Marc Schiltz and Government Commissioner Romain Martin, with the awardees joining the Ceremony via video.

Watch the replay of the Ceremony below
And discover the FNR Awards Story below by clicking here

About Luxembourg Latest news

University of Luxembourg among the 250 best in the world

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2021 once again ranks the University of Luxembourg in the position 201-250 among the top 1,527 universities worldwide.

Despite its young age – it was founded as late as 2003 – the University of Luxembourg has once again been ranked in the position 201-250 by the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2021. The ranking, which was published on 2 September 2020, covers the 1,527 top universities in the world. An additional 131 institutions were included compared to last year’s edition.

The University of Luxembourg receives its highest scores in the category International Outlook, ranking #3 worldwide (compared to #1 in 2019). It also ranks among the top 25% of universities in the categories Teaching, Research and Citations.

The THE World University Rankings are one of the most important rankings worldwide. It evaluates the strengths of higher education institutions in the categories Teaching, Research, International Outlook, Industry Income and Citations based on 13 performance indicators. Luxembourg has been included in the THE rankings since 2016.