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New academic year 2021-2022 opens with optimism and hope

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Published on Friday, 08 October 2021

The University of Luxembourg held its Rentrée Académique 2021-2022 on 7 October on Belval Campus.

Both the Rector, Prof. Stéphane Pallage, and Prof. Catherine Léglu, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, sounded a note of optimism, hoping for a progressive return to “normality” in campus life and a return to in-person teaching.

Prof. Catherine Léglu praised the university community, students, teachers and staff, for their resilience and inventiveness during this challenging period. “As we look back on almost three semesters in a “state of emergency”, we can say that we have learned a few things: Resilience and creativity pay off,” she said.

Rector Prof. Stéphane Pallage outlined the University’s Strategy framework, with medicine and health, sustainability and digital transformation as main pillars. “The three challenges I have just mentioned are among the most important challenges facing mankind in this twenty-first century. Our University WILL provide answers to the questions they raise.” he emphasised.

In his keynote speech, Prof. Michael Heneka, currently Director of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease and Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Bonn (Germany), and designated Director of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), addressed the topic of the delayed impact of COVID-19 on the brain. Prof. Heneka highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on memory functions and brain morphology. He encouraged the promotion of support centres devoted to neurocognitive studies and the search for new therapies for victims of long COVID-19.

Claude Meisch, Minister for Higher Education and Research, addressed the evaluation of the University’s teaching by an independent organisation. While the full report will be presented in several weeks, the minister stated that “the conclusions and recommendations of the evaluation are encouraging”. He also congratulated the University of Luxembourg “for overcoming the past crisis with commitment, humanism and solidarity.”

Teaching Awards and Student Initiative Awards 2021

At the Rentrée Académique, awards were given for outstanding teaching and student initiatives.

Teaching Awards were conferred to:

Gabor Wiese, Professor in Mathematics and Study Director of the Master in Mathematics, Sebastiano Tronto, Doctoral Researcher in Mathematics, Séverine Menetrey, Professor in Judicial Law, Zsòfia Kräussl, Research Scientist in Finance and Technology at the Department of Finance, Ingrid de Saint-Georges, Associate Professor in Educational Science, Harlan Koff, Professor of Social Sciences-Migration Studies.

The Student Initiative Award was granted to the Student Delegation for its contribution to the social integration, mental health and well-being of students, the promotion of values and their support to the community. A second Student Initiative Award was granted to the BelvalExpress Theater for creative theatrical initiatives and outreach to students during the pandemic.

The Teaching Award is dedicated to professors and associate professors, and to doctoral candidates and post-docs greatly appreciated for their work and honoured in recognition of their excellence and outstanding commitment. The winners are chosen based on student recommendations, given to their respective faculty council.

© Photos: Sophie Margue / University of Luxembourg