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Carlo Duprel (SnT):  Connecting Innovation

Carlo Duprel, Head of the Technology Transfer Office describes how The University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) stimulates Luxembourg’s innovation ecosystem by linking the research sector to public and private entities in the Grand-Duchy and internationally. Interview.


Can you describe the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) in a few words ?


SnT stands-out because it is an internationally leading research centre that exists to fuel innovation in the economy. We work with both public and private partners to solve complex challenges that require excellent scientific research. In practice we act like an external R&D team, offering a bridge between pure science and working prototypes, spanning the latest digital technologies. This approach makes us an essential part of the Luxembourgish ecosystem as we enable technology investment, which in turn helps our partners stay competitive. At the same time our academic standing and industry projects attract highly specialised researchers to Luxembourg, creating a valuable talent pool.

"Today we have close to 50 partners and 70 on-going research projects with them."


How does the SnT interact with the broader Luxembourgish technology ecosystem ?


The core of SnT is our collaborative approach. We work with both public and private entities to solve real-world challenges and create prototypes that our partners can turn into market ready applications. Our partnership programme has attracted a variety of organisations to work with us, from big companies to start-ups, as well as public bodies. Today we have close to 50 partners and 70 on-going research projects with them. These projects are always a combined investment between the partner and SnT. We look for partners who will be fully engaged in the research process, and it is normal for our researchers to work on projects at a partner’s premises. This close contact ensures that the research results are properly informed by the partner’s particular challenges and builds long-lasting relationships that fuel innovation in Luxembourg. 


What challenges and opportunities do you identify in the ICT sector in the next five years ?


ICT is an enabler for every sector; therefore, CIOs need to be prepared for a multitude of challenges. These could take many different forms, from the strain on IT systems that the recent COVID-19 crisis has caused, to responding to disruptive innovation like AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, and IoT. The challenge for CIOs is to see the potential impact clearly and understand the technological landscape in order to move forward. The current COVID-19 crisis is demonstrating the power of ICT systems, while also exposing their weaknesses. Machine-learning and data mining are assisting in a crucial way with everything from medical research to logistics, making it possible for us to tackle this crisis in unprecedented ways. At the same time, the rapid transition to remote working is raising security questions about networks and data privacy that need to be addressed quickly. And while we can’t see the complete implications yet, it is already certain that this crisis will have a lasting impact on the way that ICT systems are designed in the future.

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