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Partnership Day 2021: Together We Shape Tomorrow

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Published on Tuesday, 23 November 2021

“The Covid-19 measures caused a surge in digitalisation, and at SnT we saw an increased demand for innovation and collaborative research projects around this topic. In fact, the last two years saw record activities in terms of collaborative projects.” It’s with these words that Björn Ottersten, Director of SnT, opened the 2021 edition of Partnership Day, the first after a hiatus of over two years caused by the pandemic. 

Moderated by Carlo Duprel, Head of SnT Technology Transfer Office, the Centre’s flagship event took place on 18 November at the European Convention Center Luxembourg, featuring talks from Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, and Rector, Stéphane Pallage. Under the motto “Together We Shape Tomorrow”, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust reaffirmed its mission: create socio-economic impact, both with its commitment to long-term fundamental research, as well as by engaging in collaborative projects with the public and private sectors. The latter was the subject of the dedicated event, which saw the participation of more than 400 attendees from the space, finance, industry and public sectors.

 

   
     SnT In Numbers 

  • Ranked in the Top 10 institutions for software engineering
  • Ranked in the Top 100 institutions in the world for computer science
  • From 300 researchers in 2019 to over 440 today
  • Seven new research groups since 2019, bringing the total to 16
  • Two additional spin-offs since 2019, bringing the total to six
  • From 43 partners in 2019 to over 65 today
  • Two additional ERC Grants since 2019, bringing the total to five
  • From € 125 million in external funding in 2019 to € 181 million in 2021

 

“SnT plays a key role in bringing together the University, the world of academy on one side, and the economy on the other hand. We have a sort of magical triangle: one that unites the University with research and development on the one side, and the enterprises on the other. The connection is made by SnT, who, together with other partners such as Luxinnovation and Technoport, makes sure that the academic effort also translates into innovation and the economy,” said Gramegna in his video message at the event. 

 

Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, in his video message at Partnership Day 2021.

 

”We are very proud of the partnerships we entered into in 2020/2021 and we hope to sign two to four additional agreements before the end of the year. These span many sectors of Luxembourg’s economy, especially in the area of financial technology we see a strong development, and now also the space sector is quickly picking up,” said Ottersten during his session, as he went on to highlight some of SnT’s milestone achievements, such as the LuxWays project for cybersecurity in West Africa, for which SnT is also in discussions to open a local outpost. 

Another milestone is the recent launch of the SnT-SES Joint Lab to explore high-throughput satellite systems in the areas of next-generation networks, including quantum communications and cybersecurity. Finally, Ottersten also thanked the many professors and researchers that are part of Luxembourg’s Covid-19 Task Force, and who have been working on eight projects on topics, such as modeling the spread, as well as monitoring and analysing the impact of social distancing measures.

After the Director of SnT, the Rector of the University, Stéphane Pallage, took to the floor to attest to SnT’s impact. “SnT always tackles problems through the lenses of multiple actors with complementary backgrounds. No wonder the centre is close to industrial partners; what SnT does has impact for you and for us, in our daily lives,” he stated. He also highlighted a significant anecdote from a previous rendition, “‘Once a partner, always an SnT partner’. In fact, the partnerships are indeed very strong, which tells us a lot about the appreciation of the work that is done here,” he said.

 

The plenary session of Partnership Day 2021 brought together more than 400 attendees from the private and public sector.

 

It was then the turn of Theresa Condor, Executive Vice President at Spire Global, to hold her keynote session about technology innovation in space. Spire Global is a key player in the NewSpace economy, providing Earth observation data and CubeSat services. Condor explained the opportunities brought by small satellites, Spire Global’s key area of expertise, whose capability/kg increases up to 10x every five years, and especially the possibility of forming intersatellite links, essentially satellite mesh networks. “In the satellite sector, we’re basically in [what were] the early to mid-90s [for computer connectivity],” she said, making a parallel with the timeframe that led to the diffusion of the internet. She also mentioned the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in space, the growing space-as-a-service business model, and the impact of the space economy on the Earth economy.

After the keynote, six SnT researchers held flashtalks about the partner projects they are leading, specifically: 

  • For Secure and Compliant Data Management, Dr. Sallam Abulhaija held a session about ARTAGO, a project focusing on the use of AI for GDPR compliance checking, conducted in partnership with global law firm Linklaters
  • For Internet of Things, Dr. Michael Schoepf held a session about Inductive, a project for optimising EV charging conducted in partnership with Fondation de Luxembourg and Fondation Enovos
  • For Cybersecurity, Dr. Laura Lopez Fuentes held a session about PROOFILE, a project for deep fake detection conducted in partnership with Post Luxembourg
  • For FinTech, Oxana Turtureanu held a session about digitalUs, a FinTech start-up for know-your-customer technology and SnT’s most recent spin-off.
  • For Autonomous Vehicles, Prof. Raphaël Frank held a session about Connected Dynamic Insurance, a project conducted in partnership with insurance company Foyer
  • For Space Systems, Dr. Carol Martinez Luna held a session about active space debris removal, a project for cleaning space debris, conducted in partnership with Spacety.

The attendees were then invited to join a guided visit of the 30+ demo stands, where SnT researchers presented their projects in fields such as satellite communications, space robotics, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, computer vision, smart contracts, machine learning for FinTech, energy transition, and many more. Finally, both researchers and industrials had the chance to spend time networking and exploring future collaboration opportunities at the closing reception.

 

COO Oxana Turtureneau presenting digitalUS, SnT's latest spin-off, a FinTech start-up for KYC technology.

 

Do you want to know more? Have a look at our photo gallery from the event or contact us.