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The Swedish Ambassador at SnT

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Published on Monday, 10 July 2017

The Swedish Ambassador to Luxembourg and Belgium, Annika Hahn-Englund, and Consul-General for Luxembourg Claes-Johan Geijer, recently paid a visit to the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT). Researchers at the Centre were delighted to present their work at the cutting edge of the fields of Big Data Analytics, Robotics and Financial Technologies. Prof. Dr. Björn Ottersten, Director of SnT and a fellow Swede, was especially pleased to welcome the Ambassador. “Within the scope of our Partnership Program, we collaborate intensively with many technology companies from Luxembourg and abroad,” Ottersten said. “I am delighted at the prospect of intensifying these activities in future with companies also from my home country of Sweden, which itself has an excellent reputation for research and development.”

Ambassador Hahn-Englund emphasised that the conditions are already ideal for this, as she learned from her visit: “SnT researchers work on such a broad spectrum of research areas, it’s truly impressive. I find the partnership model SnT has put in place especially interesting, since it enables companies to collaborate on research and solve problems of the present – and the future!” The Partnership Program is a key part of Luxembourg’s innovations ecosystem, providing an incentive for companies from Europe and abroad to relocate their R&D activities to Luxembourg, and to invest in research and development in the Grand Duchy.

Left to right: Claudio Cimarelli, Prof. Björn Ottersten, Ambassador Annika Hahn-Englund, Dr. Patrice Caire, Karl Johannesson and Consul-General Claes-Johan Geijer

Among other things during her tour, Hahn-Englund became acquainted with the work of SnT researcher Dr. Patrice Caire on artificial intelligence and humanoid robots, a field that is currently undergoing rapid development. Robotics has long been about more than just micrometre-precision welding or cutting of materials; in the future, humanoid robots will assume a supporting role in many areas of life, able to react to and learn from their surroundings. Patrice Caire and her robotics team are gaining fundamental insights that will be of great importance in medical and health care and even education. The Ambassador was particularly interested to learn about SnT’s robot football team, Luxembourg United, which will be competing at the RoboCup World Championship in Japan, July 2017.

Another key topic, presented by SnT researchers Dr. Jacques Klein and Dr. Radu State, is FinTech. FinTech, which stands for Financial Technologies, is a blanket term for modern and usually Internet-based technologies for managing financial affairs, and the development of the sector is one of the strategic priorities at SnT. Luxembourg, already a global financial centre, has recognised the opportunities and threats associated with FinTech, and with SnT’s support the Grand Duchy intends to become a European hub for such activities. The technical challenges facing this sector – e.g. ensuring security, reliability and trust, risk and compliance management or business and data analytics – are core research areas at the centre. Nearly all groups and labs at SnT have integrated the topic of FinTech into their activities. “There are many interfaces here that ought to present extremely attractive opportunities also for Swedish technology companies to cooperate with SnT,” says Karl Johannesson, who advises SnT in the field of FinTech innovation and partnerships.