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University Announces Launch of Finnovation Hub

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Published on Thursday, 10 February 2022

The University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) today announces the launch of its Finnovation Hub, an initiative aiming to help Luxembourg continue to develop its reputation as one of the world’s leading financial centres, with the support of the Ministry of Finance. The Finnovation Hub will be headed by industry expert Jean Hilger.

Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes today signed a partnership agreement with the University to support the creation of the Finnovation Hub at SnT, in the presence of the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch.

Financial services represent the largest sector of Luxembourg’s economy, and is therefore a priority research area for SnT. The Finnovation Hub will help to identify key areas to advance the digital transformation of Luxembourg’s financial institutions, and work with SnT researchers to develop the ground-breaking technologies that will help the sector address these challenges. SnT has a long track record of leveraging advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, data analytics and distributed-ledger technologies, to enhance competition in the financial sector. These technologies, moreover, tackle challenges related to cybersecurity, regulatory compliance and fraud detection.

“Emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology such as blockchain and quantum computing, bring new opportunities, as well as new challenges for the financial sector. This rapid digitalisation has been further spurred by the pandemic. The Finnovation Hub, supported by the Ministry of Finance, fuels research activities aimed at solving challenges in the financial services sector and will facilitate the transfer of innovative technology to both the public and private sector,” said Yuriko Backes, Minister of Finance.

“The Luxembourg government has made research and innovation the cornerstones of its vision for the country's future, Says Claude Meisch, Minister for Research and Higher Education. “This initiative, supported by the Ministry of Finance, is fully in line with the government's program and above all, with its national research and innovation strategy, both of which underline the importance of covering the entire innovation chain, from basic to applied research, which are inseparable, interdependent and complementary. The Finnovation Hub is a prime example of how research can be engaged in the service of an entire economic sector in order to adapt an already efficient system to rapidly changing conditions. Thus not only ensure competitiveness, but also expand it.“

“The University is very grateful for the ministry’s support for this ambitious project,” said Prof. Stéphane Pallage, rector of the University. “It sits at the crossroads of digitalisation and the future development of the financial industry. Both topics are of crucial importance to Luxembourg, and are also core focus points of the University’s strategic priorities going forward. We look forward to contribute, through research and creative innovation, to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and support the development of new technologies, creating positive impact at economic and societal level.“

Jean Hilger (Director of the Finnovation Hub), Björn Ottersten (Director of SnT), Yuriko Backes (Minister of Finance), Claude Meisch (Minister for Higher Education and Research), Yves Elsen (Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University) and Stéphane Pallage (Rector of the University)

 

“We are pleased to have Dr. Jean Hilger lead this effort. With a career spanning three decades in digital innovation, Jean Hilger has been an honourary professor at SnT since 2013, as well as the former Senior Vice President and Head of Information Technology at Spuerkeess. He now serves as Innovation Advisor to the CEO of Spuerkeess, Chairman of LUXHUB and Chairman of the Digital Strategy Committee at the Luxembourg Bankers Association (ABBL),” said Björn Ottersten, Director of SnT.

“The Finnovation Hub will be assisting the financial sector in further embracing cutting-edge technology – with a view to improve efficiency of processes, reforming business models and advancing digital services, to shape the financial industry of tomorrow. These are aspects addressed in highly competitive fields that companies strive to champion in, or challenges that can be addressed in a mutualised setting and benefit the whole financial community,” states Hilger.

SnT’s Partnership Programme has seen them collaborate with around 65 local and international companies to create new technologies with tangible benefit to wide-ranging industries. More than 20 of these partnerships are within the financial sector, with seven research groups working on upwards of 25 FinTech projects. The Finnovation Hub aims to build on this success to take innovation in Luxembourg’s financial sector to the next level. Through SnT researchers, the Finnovation Hub will target key industry concerns and develop new proof-of-concept models and mutualisation projects that are shaped upon new technology concepts, helping to bring state-of-the-art applied research results to market.

The Finnovation Hub is positioned at the junction of industry needs and research capacities. Its aim is to identify and structure industry priorities, such as the resilience of a financial sector which increasingly depends on digitised services.

Other focal points include the radical paradigm and business model changes that are enabled by decentralised finance settings, new tools to deal with increased regulatory reporting and compliance, and, finally, increasing overall competiveness of the financial centre by supporting the development and application of promising new technologies. The initiative will use the capacity of SnT’s research teams to gather financial institutions around mutualisation projects powered by new technology concepts, helping to bring state-of-the-art applied research results to market.

© University of Luxembourg