N° 1 / 2008
on Research & Innovation in Luxembourg
Automotive components made in Luxembourg
A dynamic knowledge - based economy Pages 4 - 7
Towards public research excellence Pages 27 - 33
Editorial Table of Contents So this is Luxembourg An interview with Minister Jeannot Krecké 04
News from innovative Luxembourg
Automotive sector At the heart of the car components revolution
EmTroniX and Raval Europe 20
Entrepreneurship and innovation News
Mangrove Capital Partners 26
Public research An interview with Minister François Biltgen 27 The University of Luxembourg
Public research centres and programmes
10 questions for … Ceratizit
EMEA Husky Injection Molding Systems
Did you know it’s from 36 Luxembourg ? Useful contacts
Editorial The globalisation of the world economy has turned research and innovation into key factors for competitiveness and sustainable economic growth. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, located in the heart of Europe, is seizing the opportunities and rising to the challenge presented by this development by enhancing its already strong activities in the areas of research, development and innovation. With this first issue of FOCUS on Research and Innovation in Luxembourg, Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research, is proud to present the activities of the Grand Duchy in this field to a wide international audience. Renowned as a financial centre and founding member of the European Union, Luxembourg is also an attractive and dynamic location for research and business. Its involvement in international research collaboration carried out, for example, in the context of the European Union’s framework programmes for research and technological development and on behalf of the European Space Agency is steadily increasing. In addition, the European Innovation Scoreboard 2007 confirms that Luxembourg is well on the way to claiming its place among the European countries which can document a strong innovation performance in both the service and the industrial sectors. This favourable business climate has led entrepreneurs to set up their innovative businesses in the Grand Duchy and is equally attractive to more established companies. Did you know that one of Luxembourg’s strongest industrial sectors is that of automotive components? One of the main reasons for this is that international corporations such as Goodyear, Delphi and IEE have all chosen to locate major research and development centres in Luxembourg. The headquarters as well as several production and research facilities of the world’s leading steel company, ArcelorMittal, are also located here. The government’s determination to reinforce research and innovation in Luxembourg is manifested by a considerable increase in public investment in this field, as well as by the establishment of the University of Luxembourg in 2003. This young institution is already active on the international research scene, showing a strong orientation towards applied research and business collaboration similar to that of Luxembourg’s specialised Public Research Centres. Luxinnovation plays a crucial role as promoter of research and innovation in the Grand Duchy. Its mission is to provide strategic information, advice and support to companies and research institutions, thereby facilitating their access to knowledge, financing, technologies and business opportunities. This provides the agency with a privileged insight into the country’s research and innovation capabilities, which it now wants to share with the readers of FOCUS. We welcome you to this first edition of FOCUS and invite you to discover research and innovation “made in Luxembourg” !
Chairman Luxinnovation National Agency for Innovation and Research
So this is Luxembourg
So this is Luxembourg
Luxembourg’s talent in exploring lucrative niches has turned it into one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Although it is the financial sector which has powered the latest growth, the country also has a proud tradition of excellence in manufacturing and high-tech services. The country has decided to strengthen activity in this area and thus to promote innovation through research and development, a policy that is beginning to bear fruit. We spoke to Jeannot Krecké, Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade, about what makes the Grand Duchy so attractive for high-end innovation projects. Jeannot Krecké, Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade
Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade Directorate of Research and Innovation
+ 352 24 78 41 28 email@example.com www.eco.public.lu
“Quality and highly innovative products are the ones we are focusing on”, the Minister explains. “We cannot compete with the new EU member states and Asia in terms of cost, but we excel in developing highly specialised knowledge and spotting development niches. I always tell prospective investors that they have to be among the best in their field or they will not be successful here.”
Small but with excellent vision “Luxembourg’s small size is the key to its success”
“Luxembourg’s small size is the key to its success,” Minister Krecké says. With only half a million inhabitants living on 2,586 sqkm of land where France, Germany and Belgium meet, “the people have no choice but to look outwards, as befits a founding member of the European Union”. Until the 1970s, the country thrived as its steel industry exploited markets within easy reach in the neighbouring countries. However, anticipating the arrival of the steel crisis and eager to diversify away
from an economy dominated by this monolithic sector, the government instituted a plan to attract foreign businesses. By the 1980s, there was a push to promote a private banking sector. Luxembourg now accounts for around 15 % of market share. By the early 1990s the Grand Duchy had become a globally renowned hub for investment fund administration, and it is currently ranked second in the world. A skilled workforce of people working in banks, funds and insurance companies has created a particularly developed finance industry.
A highly varied economy Although finance and the related business services account for an important share of wealth creation, there is substantial depth and variety in the economy. The Grand Duchy’s steel industry is now one of the most sophisticated on the planet, and home
So this is Luxembourg to the headquarters of the world’s leading steel company, ArcelorMittal. Twenty-five years ago, Luxembourg was quick to grasp the potential of satellite communications, spawning the company which was to become SES, which has its global headquarters and its European satellite operations in the Grand Duchy. More recently, Skype used Luxembourg as its base for its revolutionary web telephony service which has taken the world by storm. Then there is a varied automotive sector, a business which will be reviewed in this issue of FOCUS. All this has made Luxembourg a very wealthy country.
Successful in any language So what are the ingredients that have gone into creating this diverse, knowledge-based, competitive and dynamic economic base ? “Two of Luxembourg’s big advantages are linked,” Minister Krecké notes. A central location at the heart of north-western Europe encourages multilingualism, with English, French and German being widely spoken. Many other nationalities are also present with the population expanding by nearly 1 % per annum, so that now over 42 % of the population is non-Luxembourgish. This enables businesses to hire staff who can talk to partners and clients in their mother tongues. Immigrants tend to either have very high or quite low levels of educational achievement, depending on the type of work they are seeking. They are also attracted by the high quality of life, as the country is easy to get around in and largely rural whilst also providing excellent cultural opportunities. As well as the resident workforce, Luxembourg attracts commuters from neighbouring countries. Around 150,000 non-residents, usually with an above-average educational profile, come to the Grand Duchy to work each day, representing 44 % of the total workforce.
The steady heart of Europe “The central location is important in terms of market access too,” remarks the Minister, “with about half of the old EU15’s GDP lying in a ‘banana’ shape stretching from the southern UK, through the Benelux, Germany and France to Northern Italy and Spain.” Also, Luxembourg has a thriving airport with a brand new terminal. A high-speed train takes just over two hours to reach Paris and the country is at the intersection of major motorway links.
The political climate is very stable, with all main parties agreeing on the importance of remaining economically competitive whilst maintaining a well-funded welfare state and peaceful industrial relations. Although salaries are generous enough to attract talented people, low employer charges mean that gross salary costs are generally below those of most western European countries. Business taxes are competitive and the government has pledged to cut them further over the medium term. Infrastructure (e.g. for education, transport, telecommunications and industrial zones) is well funded. High salaries and low unemployment help grease the wheels of a mainly consensual industrial relations environment known for its low rate of strike action.
Focus 2008 I
© Nicolas Lopez
So this is Luxembourg
The “Luxembourg social model” effectively dealt with the upheavals of the declining steel industry through tripartite discussions and action by government, unions and employers. This experience has been an inspiration ever since.
“The government is keen to diversify the economy”
An attentive, proactive government … Not the least of Luxembourg’s attractive features is the willingness of the government to listen to new and existing investors, with assistance provided where practical. “The government is keen to diversify the economy,” Minister Krecké emphasises. “For example, ICT companies had concerns that the private sector may not be able to cope with its medium-term needs for high-bandwidth connections to the European internet backbone. So, in consultation with the industry, the state helped fund a cable project to settle any fears.” Ministers frequently lead economic promotion trips abroad, often visiting corporate headquarters to spread the word.
… targeting niches … Recent policy has seen a greater targeting of specific areas of innovative activity. As this publication will show, Luxembourg has a long history of automotive components manufacturing, which in recent decades has seen the development of just the kind of high value-adding, innovation-driven industry that the country set out to foster. ICT has also been targeted. Since the 1920s, Luxembourg has been a major player in European broadcasting, hosting the forerunner of the RTL Group and now SES which provides the world’s largest audiovisual media distribution platform via satellite. Then, in the 2000s, skills, infrastructure and the lowest VAT in Europe at 15% encouraged a host of internet firms to base their European operations here, with Amazon, Apple, eBay and Skype being just four examples. So-called “third- and fourth-party logistics” are also being explored, with a public-private partner-ship under way to build state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate innovative, high-value transportation services. Moreover, the government has just announced partnerships with three top health science organisations, with € 140 million of public money to be spent to kick-start the process. Mr Krecké adds that energy and environmental technology are also due to be promoted. Information about the practicalities of doing business in Luxembourg is supplied by the Board of Economic Development (BED), a “one-stop shop” for new investment projects. From its offices around the world, the BED offers customised support on issues such as costs (including wages and taxes), government support programmes and regulations, site selection and introductions to important contacts.
... and encouraging innovation As well as being in the global market place to attract innovative investors, there is also a push to encourage innovation from existing firms of all sizes and sectors. “The packages of state aid for research and development in Luxembourg are in the process of being updated and improved, whilst keeping within EU laws on state aid,” says Minister Krecké. This backing from the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade is open to service and manufacturing businesses for identifiable and defined projects, whether they create new capacity or build on existing capabilities. The higher the potential
So this is Luxembourg risk and return on investment, the higher the subsidy and/or the low-interest loan can be. Small businesses can receive extra help if they fit certain EU regulation criteria. Start-up and development loans are provided by the National Credit and Investment Company (Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement, SNCI) which works in step with the Ministry. Regional development funds are also available.
“We need more companies involved,” he emphasises. “There are many small companies which have huge potential but are simply unable to identify it due to a lack of expertise, time or money. We want to help them be as good as they can be.”
Innovative start-ups can be incubated, hosted and coached in publicly owned facilities to ease their early development and their access to the different governmental services and support instruments and institutions. The new aid scheme under preparation takes the idea of subsidising innovation to a new level. “People can tend to think that innovation is just about technology and developing new products, but it is much wider than this”, Minister Krecké insists. “It includes managerial and production processes which can boost the effectiveness of any type of business. Most companies do not have special departments to deal with R&D and innovation, but we will offer financial support to hire a specialist or use a consultant to give them new ideas about innovation.”
Providing insight The aim is to broaden the scope of innovation in the country. “At the moment private R&D is comparatively high at about 1.3 % of GDP compared to the public at just above 0.2 %,” Minister Krecké notes. Whilst this is a commendable effort, he remains concerned that the vast majority of this is performed by the big economic actors such as ArcelorMittal, Ceratizit, Delphi, Goodyear or Rotarex.
In this respect, he highlights the important role played by Luxinnovation. “This body takes a proactive stance in encouraging innovation amongst businesses and helping a new entrepreneurial spirit. In particular, we want small to medium-sized businesses to get involved.” Minister Krecké says that administrative procedures have been simplified for small businesses. Luxinnovation assisted around 1,500 businesses over the past few years, with numerous research dossiers co-financed and innovative businesses supported. As this issue of FOCUS will highlight, over the past 10 years the government has decided to provide a considerable boost to publicly funded research, development and innovation. The landmark event was the founding of a research-focused university in 2003, which with the public research centres will eventually constitute a City of Sciences. This was made possible through a step change in the government’s attitude to public research funding, which is steadily increasing. In line with other European countries, Luxembourg has promised to bring total R&D spending up to 3 % of GDP, but as Minister Krecké notes, “this is not just some arbitrary figure ; we want to achieve this because innovation is key to the continued success of our economy and our way of life.”
“ Innovation is key to the continued success of our economy and our way of life”
Focus 2008 I
The new Chamber of Commerce building, which also houses FEDIL – the Business Federation Luxembourg, Luxinnovation and other organisations, evokes confidence, stability, transparency and modernity. Made with ArcelorMittal steel and Guardian glass, this structure by French architect Claude Vasconi in association with the Luxembourgish architect Jean Petit was awarded the European Steel Design Award in September 2003 for its creative and outstanding use of steel in architecture and construction.
© Chamber of Commerce
Architecture for an innovative environment Like talented musicians whose seemingly effortless performances derive from years of intense daily practice, the Philharmonie’s grace and elegance owe everything to careful forethought and study. To create this landmark inaugurated in 2005, which is also home to the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, architect Christian de Portzamparc used a huge choir of thin pillars to support a glassfronted peristyle. To do this required precisely analysing the pressure on the windows and the roof and calculating the aerodynamic stability of the pillars, amongst other feats.
What stronger foundation for a country’s economy than steel ? The discovery of iron ore in Luxembourg in 1850 was a turning point in the Grand Duchy’s history, bringing prosperity to the whole country. And of course, through the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1958, steel also helped to build today’s European Union. Luxembourg is home to the world’s leading steel company, the ArcelorMittal group, which is also the country’s largest private employer. A prominent position, from which the company looks resolutely to the future – as evidenced by its modern new headquarters.
Like a Thermos, this building keeps things warm or cold, depending on the need. This is one of the reasons why the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) new building, inaugurated in June 2008, is the first in continental Europe to be awarded the UK’s BREEAM* Bespoke “high environmental quality” certification with a “very good” rating. Designed by architect Christoph Ingenhoven, it perfectly reflects the EIB’s engagement in supporting environmental projects. * Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.
Focus 2008 I 09
News from innovative Luxembourg
National committee to advise on research and innovation policy Higher Committee for Research and Innovation
Solar Sails Materials
“Research and innovation are the motors that drive a country’s evolution, economy and society in its entirety,” said Minister for Research François Biltgen when announcing the creation of the Luxembourgish Higher Committee for Research and Innovation at the end of July 2008. The committee was formed to help develop a coherent and effective national policy and to advise the government on the implementation of this policy. In particular, committee members will be aiming to define Luxembourg’s national research priorities and identify the steps and tools needed to achieve these goals.
Clear sailing ahead for Luxembourg’s contribution to space research
The idea of using sails to propel spacecraft was first put forth in the 17 th century, and mankind has been fascinated with the idea ever since. New breakthroughs are expected in the Grand Duchy, where a Luxembourg-led consortium recently beat out stiff competition to win the Solar Sails Materials (SSM) project from the European Space Agency to study and design solar sails and produce the required materials. “Very probably, the first European solar sail will be assembled here with ‘made in Luxembourg’ components,” says LuxSpace Space Systems Engineer Florio Dalla Vedova. Solar sailing uses photonic radiation pressure from the sun in much the same way as traditional sailing uses the wind ; it is environmentally sound, and space agencies around the world are keen to harness its huge potential. Giant sails of tens of thousands of square metres are needed to propel spacecraft, and the sail material itself is typically an ultrathin polymer foil coated with a reflective layer on the front and an emissive layer on the back. The SSM project brings together LuxSpace as prime contractor, the Public Research Centres Gabriel Lippmann and Henri Tudor, Dupont de Nemours and partners from Belgium, France and Germany.
www.lee.lu www.soil-concept.lu www.synerco.lu
By setting up the committee, Luxembourg is confirming its commitment to making research and innovation a top priority of its national policy agenda and to helping them thrive in the Grand Duchy. The committee is composed of individuals selected from the scientific, business and civic communities. Part of the idea is also that outsiders sometimes have insights that insiders miss ; committee members, by taking a constructive look at research and innovation, might see unexplored opportunities and point R&D in Luxembourg in new directions. “Luxembourg can only endure if it is quick, flexible and innovative,” said Minister of the Economy Jeannot Krecké, who presides over the committee along with Mr Biltgen.
Waste not, want not : ENERCOM produces sustainable alternative fuel
The production of industrial and municipal sewage sludge is continuously increasing, raising the crucial question of its disposal. While the existing ways of treating sewage sludge tend to be greedy in energy consumption, the research project ENERCOM explores a concept that achieves a very high overall energy efficiency. ENERCOM is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development and is run by the Luxembourgish companies
News from innovative Luxembourg L.e.e. Sàrl and Soil-Concept S.A. in collaboration with partners from Belgium, Germany and Lithuania.
Although at this stage, it is not possible to heat all residential and industrial buildings with this alternative form of energy, this type of research paves the way for future developments and helps reduce the dependency on fossil fuel. To bring this innovative know-how to the market, a spin-off company by the name of Synerco Sàrl has been established in Luxembourg.
Substantial cash injection for health technologies research
In June 2008, the government of Luxembourg announced that it will be investing € 140 million in health technologies research, specifically aiming to develop cutting-edge skills and expertise in molecular medicine. Molecular diagnosis is the cornerstone of personalised medicine, a relatively new approach that takes an individual’s genetic and biological make-up into consideration when providing health care. Ultimately, this is expected to result in great improvements in the ability to administer the right dosage of drugs at the right time. Three prestigious American research institutions will be working with the University of Luxembourg and the three Public Research Centres – Gabriel Lippmann, Henri Tudor and Santé – to make strides in this area of expertise. The centrepiece of the overall project will be the creation of a Luxembourg “biobank”, which will be open to international cooperations and will initially
© Sergey Galushko
First dried through composting, the sludge is mixed with the biomass residues to constitute a blend that can then be used in three different product lines : one for composting, one for producing energy through gasification and another for manufacturing pellets. The project’s most impressive achievement is that it simultaneously brings down the disposal costs of sewage sludge and greenery waste while offering a clean and energy-positive technological way to generate renewable fuels without producing CO2 emissions. This innovative concept transforms the treatment of sewage sludge from something that consumes energy into something that produces it.
concentrate on collecting and analysing biological samples in order to support lung and colon cancer research. Funding will also go towards establishing a centre of excellence in systems biology, which will conduct research into genome sequencing and molecular fingerprinting of the body’s main organs. A third area to benefit from this investment is a pilot project aiming to advance research in personalised medicine by pursuing research projects focused on developing molecular diagnostics for specific diseases. The Luxembourgish project will focus on lung cancer, a disease where the therapeutic possibilities are currently limited, and where reliable early detection tools are needed urgently.
“ The government of Luxembourg will be investing € 140 million in health technologies research.”
Health technologies research
www.eco.public.lu www.mcesr.public.lu www.ms.etat.lu
Novelis and the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann in R&D partnership
Novelis, the world leader in aluminium rolling, has its European Technology Centre based in Luxembourg and has established a long-term partnership with the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann to cooperate on research and development for aluminium foil products and manufacturing processes. Set up in 2007, this collaboration is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that benefits all participants.
Novelis – Lippmann
Focus 2008 I
News from innovative Luxembourg Among its priorities, the Public Research Centre aims to strengthen national industry through the creation of new technological competencies within the Centre itself and through the transfer of know-how to enterprises. To a core team of Novelis scientists and technologists fully dedicated to research on foil, the Centre offers the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, notably for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), a very sensitive technique for surface and thin-film analysis that characterises trace and major elements on solid surfaces. Novelis has committed a first capital investment of € 500,000 to advance its knowledge in surface treatment of foil products for packaging and technical applications.
Mitigating the effect of natural disasters IRMA
BioHealth Cluster www.biohealth.lu
I Focus 2008
The University of Luxembourg is the coordinator of the European-African partnership behind the project IRMA (Integrated Risk Management for Africa), which is funded by
the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development. The project brings together a truly international group of researchers from Belgium, Cameroon, France, Luxembourg, Morocco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Senegal and South Africa. The goal of IRMA is to develop a rapidly deployable ICT-based solution for public disaster warnings and emergency management. It will provide a communications network that mitigates the impact of natural disasters such as wildfires in Cameroon and Senegal, or floods in Mozambique which in 2000 resulted in the loss of 800 lives and caused $ 450 million in damage.
Disaster risk reduction policies and institutional mechanisms already exist within the African countries in the consortium. However, their effectiveness is limited when major disasters strike and complex emergencies arise, since they rarely take account of the vulnerability of the area at risk or of the possible domino effects between risks of different nature. IRMA aims to show the effectiveness of ICT applications in these types of extreme situations by integrating the whole disaster management chain from assessment to recovery. This will be achieved by merging existing tools adapted to specific regional needs with new developments addressing the issue of multiple combined vulnerabilities.
Luxembourg launches BioHealth cluster
Luxembourg’s Cluster of Health Sciences and Technologies was launched at the end of September 2008 with the aim to stimulate cross-fertilisation and technological cooperation in the field of health sciences and technologies. It is the latest addition to the Grand Duchy’s “Clusters” programme, which was initiated in 2002 by the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade and animated by Luxinnovation with the aim to support and reinforce synergies and collaboration between the public and private sectors. The BioHealth Cluster will contribute to improving scientific knowledge in the field of health sciences and technologies, boosting R&D and innovation and developing transnational and international collaboration, notably with other RDI centres of competence. The cluster encompasses national expertise in health technologies in the fields of biodevices, bioinformatics, biomaterials, imaging and platforms. Research efforts in Luxembourg focus on fields such as allergology and toxicology, cardiovascular diseases, microbiology, neurodegenerative diseases and oncology. Participation in the BioHealth cluster allows companies and public research centres to address scientific and technological problems with the help of expert advice, identify potential scientific or technological partners, and generally remain informed of the scientific and technological skills available in the country.
At the heart of the car components revolution Luxembourg’s automotive sector is a prime example of how innovative companies can use the country as a base to explore a niche and grow. With car makers increasingly dependent on suppliers for technological improvements, they have turned to the Grand Duchy to serve both European and global clients. Whether it is major global players like Delphi or Goodyear, or local creations such as ELTH or IEE, all have been able to innovate and grow in Luxembourg’s fertile environment. We spoke to Paul Schockmel, the president of the Association of Luxembourgish Automotive Suppliers. Paul Schockmel, President of the Association of Luxembourgish Automotive Suppliers
Estimates vary, but between a half and twothirds of the value of a car is now designed and made by component suppliers, with constructors increasingly focusing on design and marketing, as well as assembling the finished article. Paul Schockmel, the president of the Association of Luxembourgish Automotive Suppliers (Industrie Luxembourgeoise des Equipementiers de l’Automobile, or ILEA), comments : “The constructor wants to design and control everything which is related to the car brand, but the hidden items, such as electronics, are barely visible and so are difficult to sell to the consumer. Increasingly these elements are being outsourced.” He elaborates further : “Today, profits on car sales are generally low, with constructors making most of their money through financial services and spare parts. So there is an incentive to leave innovation of the less noticeable components to suppliers.” Thus the risk and investment is increasingly
being taken by the component makers, and all have to follow this trend as competition from low-cost production centres means innovation is essential.
R&D activity significantly above industry average Association of In this dynamic, knowledge-based environLuxembourgish Automotive ment, Luxembourg has adapted and now Suppliers (ILEA) thrives. For example, when Goodyear + 352 43 53 66 1 opened its tyre plant here in the 1940s, it firstname.lastname@example.org simply executed its customers’ orders. Now, www.ilea.lu its Colmar-Berg facility hosts one of the multinational’s most respected research centres, developing new materials and features for its clients. This is just one example of a sector where numerous companies produce a range of high-quality products, from glass to electronic sensors and engine management systems. Currently 9,000 people are employed in this sector, creating well over € 1.5 billion in turnover. Focus 2008 I 13
Paul Schockmel estimates that research and development accounts for more than 20 % of his members’ activities, a figure significantly higher than the global industry average. “Most of our members carry out customer programmes,” he notes, “adapting existing technology to precise specifications and then testing it rigorously.” So while this represents most of the business performed here, there is also a significant amount of new product innovation. A shining example is Luxembourg born-and-bred IEE, whose sensing products have almost become standard features in most cars sold around the world.
On top of this comes a multinational workforce, securing the ability to understand the culture and languages of clients, for example, in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy or Spain. Of course English is spoken widely, but to really gain a full understanding of what individual clients are looking for, it is best to use their mother tongue. However, it is in the area of human resources that the sector faces its stiffest challenge. In addition to recruiting people with the required skills in Luxembourg and its neighbouring regions, the search for talent has now become global. With the new University of Luxembourg, increased public research spending and recently relaxed immigration rules, this particular concern should soon be a thing of the past.
Tailor-made business support in a central location
Multilingual, multicultural, multinational
I Focus 2008
So how has Luxembourg been able to stake a claim in this fiercely competitive high-tech business ? Mr Schockmel highlights the multilingual, multicultural nature of the workforce and Luxembourg’s central location as being of primary importance. “It is a huge advantage that Luxembourg is within easy reach of the main European car production centres, enabling clients to keep a close eye on developments.” Also, when it comes to delivering the finished article, the country is handily placed for businesses working to tight “just-in-time” production schedules. And, he adds, “for key customers, if you are working on a new product or development you have to be close to them; they need a close relationship with suppliers so that they can fully commit to these new products. You cannot have this over long distances.”
Luxembourg’s small size also has other benefits, such as its ability to offer personalised business support. The government has pledged to boost research and development spending, and the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade actively supports private companies with their efforts, both in terms of financial assistance and through a willingness to listen to requests for other forms of help. “The more you are taking technical risks, the greater is the chance you will receive financial aid from the government,” notes Mr Schockmel. The country is also equipped with its own development bank, the National Credit and Investment Bank, which takes a pro-active stance towards helping with start-up and investment capital. In general, production has tended to move to low-cost centres where practical, with Luxembourg maintaining control of the high-knowledge functions. “Our customers want price reductions, so they are pushing for us to use low-cost countries,” Mr Schockmel concludes, “however, they would be nervous if we were to transfer R&D or very high-tech production to low-cost centres as they want to be close to where these sensitive, complex products are being developed and made.” The production of highvalue and complex items tends to remain in Luxembourg. Goodyear, for example, hosts its European truck tyre production site here. For other items, such as the glass products produced by Guardian Automotive, transport costs are a major issue and off-shoring is simply not a viable option.
Public research drives development of innovative car equipment The increased commitment of the Luxembourgish state to invest in public research institutes also benefits the automotive components sector. A new department for Research in Equipment for the Automobile industry (REA) has been established at the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann. Formed in 2007 in response to Luxembourg’s growing presence in this sector, REA’s objectives are the development of new products and production processes as well as the improvement of the quality of products and production processes for automobile equipment manufacturers. REA’s partners include Accumalux, ELTH,
SNCH s.à r.l. Approval of vehicles and their components Certification of products and quality systems Dometic s.à r.l. Refrigeration systems Thermoelectric and compressor driven cooling devices
IEE and Luxbat as well as the University Henri Poincaré in Nancy. “We concluded a framework agreement with the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann three years ago to establish a unit to serve the automotive sector,” explains Paul Schockmel. “The first projects have been completed and they are expanding their building to accommodate their work with us. We welcome this because it will bring know-how and specialised people to Luxembourg. It is also important for potential investors to know there is this wider research infrastructure in place.”
ELTH S.A. Temperature sensors Bimetallic switches Diesel fuel heaters Level sensors Windscreen & headlamp washer systems
TÜV Rheinland Luxemburg GmbH Certification approval tests Fanuc Robotics Europe S.A. Automation solutions
GoodYear S.A. Production of steel cord Production of molds IEE S.A. Occupant safety sensing Pedestrian Protection Traffic management Interior input devices
Rotarex S.A. Valves, Fittings, Regulators (LPG & CNG & H2 applications) Complete kits Safety valves Plastic Parts Fire extinguisher systems
Luxinnovation GIE R&D service agency National Agency for Innovation and Research Luxcontrol S.A. Certfication and witness testing according to international standards
HITEC Luxembourg S.A. Measuring devices & control system Traffic management infrastructures C2C2E communication concepts Accumalux S.A. Boxes and lids for batteries
Comes & Cie S.A. Transformation of trucks and trailers
Guardian Automotive Europe S.A. Automotive glass
GoodYear Luxembourg Tires S.A. Production of truck and earthmover tires
Tarkett GDL S.A. Sound insulation products for automotive industry Floor coverings production
Raval Europe S.A. Fuel tank venting and control systems Related accessories to safety venting systems
DuPont de Nemours s.à r.l. Production, conversion and sales of synthetic materials
Faurecia AST Luxembourg S.A. Supplier of automotive interiors for carpets and insulations
CTI Systems S.A. Planning and execution of turnkey automated materials
Delphi Luxembourg S.A. Technical Center for development of automotive systems and components SaarGummi Technologies s.à r.l. Production of elastomer products such as seals for car bodies, doors and trunks, folios for flat roofs, window seals
Source : Ilea
Focus 2008 I
Edouard Michel, Manager New Product Industrialisation
The wheel … re-invented
The history of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company can be traced back to 1898 when the first rubber tyres were developed for bicycles and carriages following a need for improved passenger comfort. Subsequent R&D projects have concentrated upon improved handling for race tyres, improved durability for long-distance trucks and improved material properties for aircraft tyres. In 1970, the first tyres on the moon were from Goodyear.
Goodyear S.A. / Goodyear Luxembourg Tires S.A.
+ 352 81 99 1 jean-paul.bruck@goodyear. com www.goodyear.com
I Focus 2008
In 1949, Goodyear opened a production facility at Colmar-Berg, north of Luxembourg City, to be centrally located for a growing European market. In 1957, the Technical Centre (GTC*L) was opened on the same complex, and at the start of the 1970s the tyre plant reinforced its local autonomy with the opening of fabric, mould and wire plants at the same time as the creation of a test circuit to support the continued expansion of R&D activities. At the turn of the century, shortly after celebrating 50 years in Luxembourg, the GTC*L completed another wave of significant expansion to add several new testing facilities and laboratories.
continues to change throughout the life of the product, maintaining high levels of wet grip and aquaplaning resistance.
Of the 3,300 employees currently working in Luxembourg, 900 are directly involved in activities that, together with the Goodyear Technical Centre in Akron, USA, spearhead Goodyear’s R&D throughout the world. “Our mission is to provide a continuous flow of innovative tire products that exceed customer expectations and drive our success in the market place” explains Edouard Michel, Manager New Product Industrialisation. “Besides this, we provide technical support to manufacturing and marketing for all Goodyear products in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.” Recent R&D projects include the development of such pioneering products as the RunOnFlat tyre which allows a driver to safely continue on a journey with a punctured tyre and eliminates the need for a spare. Another, developed with the latest SmartWear Technology, is the new OptiGrip tyre which incorporates a uniquely visible tread design that
Goodyear also benefits from collaboration with local high-tech research companies that contribute their specialist expertise to the knowledge-driven processes. One such example involved cooperation with the startup company eXstream Engineering, which was keen to prove out an innovative micromechanic modelling technology based on its DIGIMAT® software. The win-win opportunity was that GTC*L would be an enthusiastic customer once the technology was validated for application in the development of innovative materials and tyres. The project, which was launched in May 2004, required the design of 36 test formulations and the manufacture of 114 test tyres during the 18-month collaboration. Being members of the Luxinnovation SurfMat technology cluster, GTC*L and eXstream benefited from important advice and expertise as well as financial support through the government R&D incentive scheme.
With worldwide sales now in excess of 200 million units per year and a turnover of almost $20 billion, Goodyear also has environmental obligations. In 2006 the European Commission awarded Goodyear a major R&D grant to develop an ultra low-rolling resistance BioTRED tyre. The project included research into the development of a new “bio” filler made from renewable resources such as corn starch which will provide the added advantage of reducing CO2 emissions during the production process.
Delphi Powertrain’s wise move to Luxembourg
Delphi Luxembourg employs around 750 employees with about two-thirds having engineering skills used in the development and application of new technologies and products. Of these, about 60 are highly skilled and qualified engineers who make up their “innovation centre” and concentrate on the development of advanced technologies. Steven Kiefer is very satisfied with the setup : “The infrastructure and laboratories at our disposal in Luxembourg are very special and offer an ideal environment to support and meet our customers’ expectations. The turnover of the Bascharage facilities is around € 100 million per year.” So why did Delphi decide to move its Global Powertrain Headquarters here? “In terms of powertrain, propulsion, and internal combustion engines, there is no doubt that much of the technical innovation is being led from Europe,” notes Mr Kiefer. “For Delphi it is crucial to have a ‘local’ presence where the technology is being developed and where the customer base is located. Delphi demonstrated this strong commitment to our customers by moving the Powertrain Headquarters from the US to Europe. Additionally, Delphi was attracted to Luxembourg by all of the attributes that are well recognised here – namely, cultural diversity, central location, commercial neutrality, high-level skilled workforce, pro-business government policy, economic and social stability, and a high standard of living for our workforce.”
Steven Kiefer, Managing Director
On the downside, he notes that wage costs tend to be higher than in other locations, but overall, low employer charges mean LuxemDelphi Automotive Systems Luxembourg S.A. bourg is competitive compared to the rest of western Europe. “After two years, we are + 352 50 18 47 51 convinced that Luxembourg was the right panagiotis.panotopoulos@ delphi.com decision for our Headquarters’ move,” Steven www.delphi.com Kiefer comments. “The responsiveness and pro-business attitude of the government ministries has been a critical factor in our decision to grow our presence in Luxembourg. The accessibility and support of national organisations and of the local decision makers is perhaps unique in Europe, if not in the world. Additionally, Luxembourg’s social model as well as its social stability considerably help operating a business such as ours.”
In addition to its Luxembourg Customer Technology Centre, Delphi has its Global Powertrain Headquarters and European Thermal Division Headquarters here. Delphi Thermal Systems is engaged in the development, engineering and validation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and engine thermal management systems. Delphi Powertrain Systems has an engineering and system testing and validation centre for automotive engine controls including fuel systems, valvetrain, combustion technologies and related products.
In 2006, after 23 years in Luxembourg, leading car components manufacturer Delphi Automotive decided to relocate the global Headquarters of its Powertrain Systems Division from the US to the Grand Duchy. This move amounted to a huge vote of confidence in Luxembourg as a location for high-tech innovation. We spoke to Steven Kiefer, the site’s Managing Director, about this choice.
So what advice would he offer to potential investors in R&D ? “I would encourage other companies to see first hand the benefits of being here. The Ministry of the Economy, the Chamber of Commerce as well as the various public research centres have proven to be very accommodating and can also provide additional information on the benefits of performing R&D work in Luxembourg.” Focus 2008 I
World-class car safety sensors
IEE is one of the star performers of Luxembourg’s economic diversification strategy. It has achieved this by targeting high value adding, knowledge-intensive production of sophisticated sensors for the car industry, products which have become must-have safety features. All conceived, researched and designed in the Grand Duchy. IEE has no intention of resting on its laurels, and is now working on revolutionary sensing products.
+ 352 24 54 1 email@example.com www.iee.lu
Founded less than 20 years ago, IEE currently employs around 900 people in the Grand Duchy, with a further 500 worldwide, producing turnover set to reach € 178 million in 2008. The company’s principal business to date has focused on automotive safety sensing systems for occupant detection and classification related to the smart deployment of passenger airbags. In the early 1990s, although airbags were seen as an important step forward for car safety, there were some problems. A minor prang could see the airbag deploy – causing unnecessary cost and inconvenience at best, but at worst these devices have been known to kill infants riding in the front seat. IEE was the first to find a convenient solution for passenger presence detection in the early 1990s by inserting a sophisticated sensor into the car seat. “Others looked at traditional solutions such as optical or radar,” notes Aloyse Schoos, IEE’s chief technology officer, “but these proved to be too expensive and difficult to deploy. Our innovation was to use plastic film onto which we could print
I Focus 2008
electronic circuits to create sensing functions, an extremely efficient method. This solution avoided big modifications to the car and was easy to install.” IEE is building on this success, with a new generation of sensors coming on stream. Mass production has begun of a sensor which uses electrical fields to detect human body presence. Then there is a system which lifts the car bonnet a split second after a frontal collision with a pedestrian, creating a buffer between the engine and the person’s head. However, potentially the biggest innovation of all are the sophisticated 3D optical sensors that are currently being developed ; these would see IEE move into a myriad of new markets. For example, applications such as driver assistance, people counting, luggage classification or conveyor belt monitoring could all be automatised with these systems. And the brain work for this operation is based in Luxembourg. Manufacturing and assembly is carried out in Echternach, Luxembourg, and in the firm’s Chinese factories, with some minor development and marketing performed in the firm’s other subsidiaries around the world. But the main R&D and sensitive, critical and confidential production are centralised in the Grand Duchy. Which does not imply that the firm is closed to fresh ideas from abroad. With its multilingual staff, it is able to cooperate closely with research institutes around the world. “We have a well-defined innovation process,” comments Mr Schoos. “Our research work is guided by marketing : we look actively for upcoming possibilities through market research and then we define a business plan. If the business case makes sense, our scientists and engineers start developing innovative products / solutions for that market.”
Building on three decades of automotive innovation Based in Steinsel, just north of the city of Luxembourg, ELTH S.A. has been producing temperature sensors for automotive systems and domestic appliances for more than 30 years. The company has long been a champion of research, development and innovation in Luxembourg. customer’s product requirements can be ELTH satisfied in terms of form and functionality + 352 33 20 71 while maintaining common core components. firstname.lastname@example.org This “platform” strategy has resulted in www.elth.lu important economies of scale in the production process. By supplying to a very large customer base with high-volume production, ELTH has been able to justify important investments in the latest manufacturing technology that will enable it to minimise costs and hence resist competition from new entrants to the market.
ELTH S.A. has experienced steady growth, particularly in automotive applications, and now operates from a production site covering 27,000 sqm employing more than 600 people, 40 of whom specialise in R&D activities. The company has been collaborating with Luxinnovation and the Grand Duchy’s public research centres since their launch 20 years ago. “I’m proud to support their efforts in my role as Vice President of the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann, which hosts the National Research Department that specialises in the development of automotive equipment” says Mr René Elvinger, ELTH’s General Manager.
Concerning technical innovation, demand for increasingly precise temperature control has resulted in an extension of the product range from fixed temperature bi-metallic thermostats to NTC thermistors. Pressure on automotive OEMs to address environmental issues is leading to the requirement for much closer control of fuel, engine and cooling systems, which in turn has generated growing demand for ELTH products. Applications have grown from basic water temperature sensors to a range of more complex integrated units such as oil level sensors, diesel fuel heaters and windshield washing systems. Innovation during the development of new products has enabled the production facilities to benefit from “design for manufacture” and “mass customisation” whereby a
In the late 1980s, ELTH responded to the globalisation of its customer base by collaborating with MES, a Swiss automotive supplier, to create the CEBI group of companies. In time, other smaller companies were brought into the CEBI Group which provided an opportunity to market a more coherent range of products to worldwide customers. The Luxembourg site now manufactures more than 3,000 different parts for most automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as well as for tier one suppliers and truck manufacturers.
Proximity to clients is of key importance to the ELTH product and service offering, and an important differentiator from low-end competitors. Physical proximity to clients is provided by the central location of
Luxembourg and its convenient transport networks. ELTH also demonstrates a cultural proximity to clients with its multinational workforce and a commercial team able to converse comfortably with clients in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish. Furthermore, 30 years of industry experience working with the design offices of all of its major customers have resulted in an intellectual proximity to clients that facilitates new product collaborations early in the design process to the benefit of both customer and supplier and helps keep ELTH one step ahead of the competition.
A single NTC (Negative Temperature Coefficient) thermistor provides a degree of precision in temperature control that would previously have required several bimetallic thermostats. The benefit to the end customer is a solution that is more precise, more compact, and less costly. Focus 2008 I
New arrivals quickly moving into the fast lane Many of the companies that have shaped Luxembourg’s thriving automotive sector have been established in the region for decades. But the Grand Duchy is proving just as attractive to new ventures. EmTroniX and Raval Europe are two of these companies. EmTroniX
+ 352 26 58 17 50 email@example.com www.emtronix.lu
+ 352 26 55 51 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.raval.co.il
EmTroniX is a small company of expert engineers specialising in bespoke electronic control systems. The company’s systems are used by the R&D departments of large companies in fields as varied as the automotive, aerospace, defence, medical and petrochemical industries.
The founders were, by their own admission, not typical businessmen, but passionate about their technical expertise, confident of their capability to solve complex technical problems and energised by the autonomy and creativity offered by the opportunity to set up their own enterprise. In 2001, that passion, confidence and energy sufficiently impressed the Institut Français du Pétrole to commission test equipment for its R&D laboratories in Paris, providing a sound business case for the launch of the company. Subsequent projects with large organisations such as Delphi, Eurocopter, Honeywell Garrett and Renault have helped establish EmTroniX as a reliable “solution provider” to R&D departments throughout Europe. EmTroniX will continue to grow in Luxembourg with plans to add “off-theshelf” rapid prototyping equipment to its current offering of consultancy and specially designed equipment. Luxinnovation,
I Focus 2008
the National Agency for Innovation and Research, is playing an important role in supporting the company’s development of a robust business strategy : “Luxinnovation has been a constant support, providing expert opinion concerning diversification of our product range as well as important local knowledge, ranging from giving us a ‘headsup’ on government initiatives to providing important introductions to R&D networks in the Greater Region,” said Henri Du Faux, Software Manager. Raval Europe, established in 2002, is a subsidiary of Raviv ACS Ltd, the Israeli specialist in precision plastic parts for the automotive industry. Raval operates in a competitive marketplace that demands innovation both in technical terms, concerning products and processes, as well as with respect to how the company’s product is supplied to end customers in a constantly changing and dynamic marketplace. Raval has adapted its product and service offering over time as its customers, the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive industry, have transitioned from a model of vertical integration to one of tiered suppliers. The tiered model in the automotive industry, which shifted the production of many basic, low-technology commodities from Europe to locations with lower labour costs, had represented a threat to companies such as Raval. Raval responded with a differentiated product/service offering, leveraging its R&D capability to supply technologically more complex integrated fuel systems and providing the added value of optimising the supply chain of its customers. Raval Europe is steadily growing and has moved from its initial base at the Ecostart Centre for Enterprise and Innovation. Resident engineers play a key R&D role in both product and process improvements for local manufacturing, which is strategically central to automotive customers who require synchronised “just in time” supply.
Entrepreneurship and innovation
1,2,3, Go : The fast track to a winning business plan
Since 2000, the Business Initiative asbl has been promoting the Interregional Business Plan Contest “1,2,3, Go”, with prizes totalling € 60,000, in collaboration with partners from the Greater Region. Based on an idea by the management consulting company McKinsey, the programme is financed by an interregional network of public and private partners. It is supported by 300 coaches who provide all contestants with guidance related to the elaboration of a persuasive business plan, for example with regard to products and services, marketing and finance. In 2007, an additional programme called “Start bonus” was set up to give innovative companies supported by 1,2,3, Go the opportunity to receive some free sponsorship. Applications can be sent for review by a reading committee at any time. To be eligible, candidates must put forward a feasible, innovative project that is not already financed by venture capital. They should be from, or be intending to implement their projects in, the Greater Region of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Lorraine (France), Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland (Germany) or Wallonia (Belgium).
The in total 193 business plans developed in Luxembourg through 1,2,3,Go have been the starting point for 53 new, innovative companies, and the programme is now reaping the benefits of past participants returning to share their experiences with new generations of entrepreneurs and innovators.
Inspired wastewater treatment
Founded in 2005, Epuramat provides turn-key wastewater treatment plants and systems, at the heart of which is its ExSep solid/liquid separator – a compact unit which makes the pre-treatment of wastewater more efficient and results in much smaller, less expensive and easier-to-use treatment plants. Epuramat received expert advice and mentoring to present its original business plan via the 1,2,3,Go programme and was named the best Luxembourgish entry in 2005. The government-backed R&D incentive scheme co-financed the adaptation of its technology to a variety of industrial requirements, and Epuramat has also collaborated with the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann and the Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies on practical projects such as the development of a local biogas plant.
“Epuramat provides turn-key wastewater treatment plants and systems.”
In 2007 Epuramat moved to larger premises in Contern, Luxembourg. Reputation and customer base continue to grow, and in March 2008 the company presented itself to the European investment community at “Benelux Venture 50”, having been nominated as one of the 50 most promising startup businesses in the region.
In September 2008, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce hosted the eighth annual awards ceremony of the 1,2,3, Go Business Plan competition. The initial 189 projects resulted in 45 completed business plans submitted for evaluation, with nine of them receiving special awards and sharing the total prize. The two Luxembourgbased companies among the winners were IT security specialist Leakwall and small aircraft timeshare business Smartair.
Seeing is believing
As digital cameras become a popular means of recording the progress of activities in businesses such as construction, transportation, advertising and security, so technology has also developed to edit photos, providing the capability to falsify information. CodaSystem has developed “Shoot & Proof” as the first professional solution that instantly captures undisputable pictures. Photos taken with this innovative software are localised
Focus 2008 I
Entrepreneurship and innovation using GPS, time stamped, signed and coded, conclusively establishing when, where and by whom a picture was taken.
Artists can also access forums that discuss industry topics and share technical tips such as how to achieve best recording effects. In 2007, Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners provided venture capital to boost the growth of the business and, in 2008, Jamendo left the incubator having established a “critical mass” of artists and users.
Training tomorrow’s masters of innovation
Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
CodaSystem was initially launched at Paris Cyber Village, the French business incubator of Paris Développement, and this is still the base for its marketing and administrative staff. Since 2005, the company also benefits from the logistical support of the Technoport incubator in Luxembourg which hosts a technical staff of eight people. This team is responsible for R&D to extend the universal applications of the company’s product while also exploring new market opportunities – such as using “Shoot & Proof” as an industry standard when providing evidence for insurance claims. CodaSystem is currently exploring opportunities with major blue chip manufacturers of digital media devices to potentially ensure that the millions of digital images captured daily on cameras, PDAs or telephones will carry assurance that viewers can truly believe their eyes.
“Creative commons” licence
“Creative commons” licences provide a legal framework for artists who wish to share their music with an international audience. They enable artists to publish their music while preserving their rights, including when they allow the creation of derivative works or the commercial use of their music.
I Focus 2008
A win-win approach to file sharing
Jamendo entered the Luxembourgish business incubator Technoport in December 2004 with a revolutionary concept to permit legal free sharing of music via the internet while providing artists with the opportunity to publish, promote and receive payment for their music. Jamendo’s “creative commons” licence establishes a legal framework to distribute the work of artists via their website using the latest peer-to-peer technology at near-zero cost. Jamendo users are permitted to listen to, download and share music and are encouraged to contribute to community forums, while Jamendo artists can receive donations from appreciative listeners ; the more popular they become, the greater their share of the advertising revenues from the website.
The one-year Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation offered by the University of Luxembourg in conjunction with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is in direct response to the EU's Lisbon Strategy, which called for “making knowledge and innovation the real engines to drive lasting growth”. Diversity is an important element in creativity and thus in innovation, and this is reflected in the student population, which hails from diverse business and cultural backgrounds. The programme, delivered in English,
is structured into six knowledge blocks. The first covers an overview of entrepreneurship, theories and skills. The next three modules use the common theme of a business plan to demonstrate the synergies in technical entrepreneurship of the start-up process as well as marketing and finance. The fifth block offers a toolbox for entrepreneurs, and the sixth block consists of project work and a Master’s thesis. The programme successfully links the academic and business worlds by incorporating student internships at local mentoring companies. Students initially spend an average of one day per week at their mentor companies in the first months of the programme, and this attendance increases to full-time by the end of the programme. Matching students and companies early in the process is key to the fruitful relationship between faculty, student and the mentor companies which, as a consequence of the experience, will improve their readiness to transition their business towards an efficient knowledge-driven economy.
Entrepreneurship and innovation
A promising start for Luxembourg’s first university spin-off
Millions of people around the world are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Neither of these conditions can currently be cured, and the drugs available to patients can only treat the symptoms or, at best, delay the progression of the illness. AxoGlia’s ground-breaking research on a molecule derived from vitamin E may turn this situation around. “We focus on the development of innovative drugs for use in the treatment of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases,” explains Dr Djalil Coowar, AxoGlia’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We are a pioneer in the development of small chemical entities which have dual capacities – both antineurodegenerative and anti-inflammatory. That is to say that the molecules act on two levels: the regeneration of nervous cells by influencing the cell fate of cellular precursors, and anti-inflammatory properties.” The successful development of new drugs might well allow patients suffering from these and similar conditions to recover completely. AxoGlia’s research is currently at the preclinical phase. If it proves successful, the enterprise intends to transfer licences on the developed molecules to mid-sized pharmaceutical laboratories or large pharmaceutical groups. Dr Coowar is confident about the reception of the company’s research results and emphasises the tremendous support it has received from R&D actors in Luxembourg.
A carefully chosen location AxoGlia was set up in February 2006. Its activities build on basic research conducted by the University of Luxembourg in collaboration with two French institutes, the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg and the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. This cooperation was initiated by a Luxembourgish student in Strasbourg, and
The discovery of a molecule that may have the potential to treat diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, inspired the creation of the biotech company AxoGlia Therapeutics S.A. and could bring hope to millions of patients. Building on the work of three research institutes in two countries, AxoGlia carries out its pioneering activities in close collaboration with the University of Luxembourg.
Djalil Coowar, Chief Scientific Officer
it has enabled AxoGlia to take advantage of the complementary nature of these research institutes. When the company was established, the AxoGlia Therapeutics S.A. founders decided to take up residence in + 352 46 66 44 62 88 the Grand Duchy. Dr Coowar explains why. email@example.com “We moved to Luxembourg in order to take www.axoglia.com advantage of the numerous incentives that are on offer to encourage and nurture R&D and innovative activities. There is a strong public and private will to develop this sector of the economy and show that, even if Luxembourg is one of the smallest European countries, it has much to offer, and is not all about banking and investment funds.”
Enthusiastic public and private support So, AxoGlia met with the Luxembourgish government, represented by the Minister of the Economy, Mr Jeannot Krecké, who in July 2007 signed a convention to assist in the financing of its R&D activities. The government put up the sum of € 545,000. Focus 2008 I
Entrepreneurship and innovation
Private investors interested in the dynamic health technologies market contributed another € 300,000. AxoGlia also received research cofinancing of € 250,000 from the National Society for Credit and Investment (Société Nationale de Crédit et Investissement, or SNCI). This is a bank specialised in the medium- and long-term financing of investments made by Luxembourgbased companies. The SNCI has recently launched a new initiative aiming to support spin-offs from the Grand Duchy’s research centres and the university which are engaged in R&D or innovative activities.
I Focus 2008
Susanne Siebentritt, TDK Europe Professor
AxoGlia has also benefited from the assistance obtained through the transnational business plan competition 1,2,3, Go, which covers Luxembourg and its neighbouring regions in Belgium, France and Germany. The competition’s support network helped the company develop a sound business plan and evaluate whether its business model was viable, and provided it with an experienced business coach.
To put it simply, photovoltaics explores the conversion of sunlight into electricity using solar cells. At a time of global concern about climate change and the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, research in this field is obviously critical as it will help to fine-tune the technologies exploiting a promising alternative source of energy. TDK’s generous funding provides an amount of € 3.5 million for a five-year period of research into solar cells.
Dr Coowar is extremely grateful for the confidence that has been shown in his project in Luxembourg and hopes that AxoGlia’s activities will encourage other R&D players to choose this country as their base. “It is still very much a developing sector in Luxembourg and the university itself is very young. However, the more companies come to the Grand Duchy, the more the sector, and the facilities made available to it, will mature and expand.” Dr Coowar would, in particular, like to see more premises dedicated to R&D activities. AxoGlia is currently using the laboratories of the University of Luxembourg, but is hoping to move into its own premises shortly. Dr Coowar welcomes the City of Sciences under construction in the south of Luxembourg, which shows a lot of promise for further research-based activities in the Grand Duchy.
The beneficiary of the TDK professorship is Dr Susanne Siebentritt. The widely published native of Nürnberg in Germany studied physics at the Universities of Erlangen and Hannover, where she received her doctorate in 1992. After post-doctorate work at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Free University of Berlin, she took on new responsibilities as a project director at Berlin’s Hahn - Meitner Institute. Dr Siebentritt explains that the Photovoltaics Laboratory, which was set up in April 2007 as part of the university’s Physics and Materials Research Unit, concentrates on two main issues. These are “the development of the technology for thin film solar cells and the fundamental materials physics of the novel semiconductors used as absorbers in these devices”.
Entrepreneurship and innovation
Capturing the sun in Luxembourg :
The Photovoltaics Laboratory It might seem surprising to launch such an initiative in a country where the average monthly rainfall exceeds 60 mm, but TDK, the leading Japanese materials technology company, chose the University of Luxembourg to establish a photovoltaics laboratory and fund the “TDK Europe Professorship”.
Next-generation photovoltaics Dr Siebentritt’s work at this point in time focuses on chalcopyrite. This crystal is made of the elements copper, indium, gallium and selenium. Its black colour makes it suitable for solar cells. It is of particular interest as an alternative to the silicon commonly used to produce semiconductors for modern consumer electronics such as mobile phones and iPods. Dr Siebentritt explains : “Thin-film solar cells using chalcopyrite are considered the next generation of photovoltaics because of their enormous potential for production cost reductions. These come from significant decreases in the amount of material and energy used to make them as well as less labour effort. In Luxembourg, we work on processes and materials for this technology.”
Professor notes that she and her team are open to a range of potential public-private partnerships.
Building the future Photovoltaics Laboratory Dr Siebentritt looks forward to her department’s being able to offer a Master’s pro- + 352 46 66 44 63 04 gramme in materials physics and being able firstname.lastname@example.org http://physics.uni.lu/ to attract students “from all over the world” photovoltaics_lpv with whom she can “work and discuss”. In the meantime, she is “delighted to be part of a new university and help to build it up”. This, however, does not appear to be the appointment’s sole attraction, as she adds : “I simply like living in Luxembourg. It is a great place.”
Benefits beyond pure research The research capability of the laboratory, which Dr Siebentritt attests “has excellent equipment” thanks to TDK and the University of Luxembourg, would be of interest to any company in the semiconductor and sensor industries, and not just to those active in the area of photovoltaics. The Focus 2008 I
Entrepreneurship and innovation
Gerard Lopez, Managing Partner
Venture capital with a punch
Innovation turns great ideas into great products, but it requires both entrepreneurship and capital to turn great products into great business success. Luxembourg - based Mangrove Capital Partners invests in early stage internet and software businesses. Its investment portfolio includes an internet start-up company which has helped shape the modern telecommunications landscape – Skype. Mangrove Capital Partners
+ 352 26 25 34 1 email@example.com www.mangrove-vc.com
Mangrove Capital Partners set up in the Grand Duchy in 2000 to provide “capital with a punch to entrepreneurs looking to build world-class companies”, placing equal importance on providing its portfolio companies with sound advice based upon relevant experience supported by deep industry relationships. Gerard Lopez, co-founder and managing partner of Mangrove, explains that Mangrove’s goal is to “invest in companies operating internet or software businesses as early as possible in their development and even stand ready to invest prior to product launch. We see our role as an accelerator of growth and a partner for the journey to success.” A “serial entrepreneur” himself, Mr Lopez uses his own extensive experience when collaborating with investees.
“ We see our role as an accelerator of growth and a partner for the journey to success.”
Mangrove invested € 20 million to create Skype in 2003. Eight months after it had set up its online platform, internet telephony network Skype counted 7 million users and that figure had grown to 117 million users by April 2006 when Skype was sold to eBay for $4.1 billion. The exponential growth had permitted Skype to gain an important foothold in a market that soon saw other entrants using VOIP (voice-over-internet protocol) technology. Skype’s headquarters, located in Luxembourg City close to Mangrove, are also close to the European Investment Fund (EIF), which similarly counts Skype as one of its success stories. The EIF, in which the European Investment Bank is lead shareholder alongside the
I Focus 2008
European Commission and a cluster of banks and financial institutions, does not lend money to SMEs directly, but specialises in venture capital financing and in guarantees for banks’ SME activity and collaborates with Mangrove through its European Technology Start-up Facility. Mangrove continues to invest funds, time and expertise in high-tech companies. “We are always on the lookout for companies looking to break the mould,” says Mr Lopez. Another Luxembourg-based company in which Mangrove has invested is SecureWave, a specialist in prevention of the loss or theft of data started at the Technoport business incubator in Luxembourg. After attracting investment from Mangrove, SecureWave embarked on the same exponential growth as Skype. Four years later the company celebrated the sale of its one millionth licence and then took only six months to sell its next half million. In September 2007 it merged with PatchLink to become Lumension Security, which is now the world’s leading provider of proactive security solutions. So why did Mangrove choose the Grand Duchy as its base of operations ? “Luxembourg’s size brings the advantage that we can maintain a close relationship with government decision makers”, explains Mr Lopez. The country is not yet a focal point for venture capital which, Mr Lopez continues, “makes Mangrove the key player and allows us to be counted among the pan-European venture capitalists. While we expect to make a majority of our investments in greater Europe, the right entrepreneur and a bold vision can entice us beyond.”
The strategic importance of public research Although Luxembourg’s public research effort is a relatively new venture, it has allowed the government to take a fresh approach to attracting new people with original ideas. The country is determinedly building a research base – to help energise existing businesses, but also to create possibilities in new areas. The government is fully committed to this strategy. We spoke to François Biltgen, the Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research, about these plans.
François Biltgen, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research
“One hundred years ago, Luxembourg lived from the wealth of its soil, with steel and agriculture dominant. For the last 50 years we have depended on ‘sovereignty niches’, but now we can only thrive using the knowledge of our people.” This is how François Biltgen explains the turnaround in attitudes to public sector research in the Grand Duchy over recent years. “We can only remain a country with a high standard of living if we invest in research, innovation and training,” he adds. Although the public research effort began around 20 years ago, it was the decision in 2001 to found a research university which really changed the game, with the government now targeting public research spending of 1 % of GDP for the next decade. In 2008, € 175 million is being spent, representing 0.48 % of national income, with 0.53 % planned for 2009. There are currently around 2,500 researchers working in the country, about 550 more than five years ago, with a further 500 set to arrive by 2013. In fact, the main concern appears to be identifying ways of investing in a constructive fashion. Quantitative targets are being set for the university and the public research centres (in terms of number of doctorates, patents, publications etc.), but it is the long - term, less tangible benefits that the government is looking for. And it appears
to be in for the long haul. “The discovery Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research of inventions is certainly one of the most Department of Research important results of research,” notes Mr and Innovation Biltgen, adding that “a vibrant research community and an overall innovation-friendly + 352 24 78 52 19 environment are considerable assets for firstname.lastname@example.org www.mcesr.public.lu attracting new economic activities.” There www.recherche.lu will be an emphasis on a limited number of priority research areas in order to develop centres of excellence.
Creating top-notch conditions for world-class R&D With the public research centres being founded at the end of the 1980s and the university in only 2003, there is clearly a lot of work to do to reach these goals. Yet, by being a “new kid on the block”, it is possible to learn from international best practice without entrenched agendas from existing institutes. For example, Mr Biltgen is enthusiastic about the “knowledge triangle” which will be formed by a new City of Sciences at the Esch-Belval brownfield site. Planned for the 2012/13 academic year, it will bring the university and the public research centres together onto one site, with the buildings arranged by area of research : ICT and mathematics ; materials and engineering ; human and social sciences ; life and environmental sciences ; innovation.
“A vibrant research community and an overall innovation-friendly environment are considerable assets for attracting new economic activities”.
Focus 2008 I
Public Research There is also a state - of - the - art research governance system (based on specific OECD recommendations), and the Bologna principles, which are designed to facilitate student mobility in Europe, have been adopted. This effort is also backed by favourable legal and regulatory frameworks. The private sector has a central role in the research effort, being represented on the governing boards of all public research institutions and agencies.
Investing in new thoughts and discoveries Mr Biltgen stresses that “the aim of research is to think new thoughts and make discoveries. Research is a risky business. But only through such research can you find things which will bring economic benefits in the future.” As an example of its commitment, the state is due to invest € 140 million over the next five years in an ambitious biotechnology programme in conjunction with three respected institutes from the US. The effort will centre around the creation of a biobank, with two specific projects using this facility’s services. Although many countries have tried to kickstart biotech activity in a similar fashion, Luxembourg is approaching this challenge with an open mind, looking to use knowledge where it can and to be as open as possible to new ideas, without institutional or nationalistic bias. Although Mr Biltgen admits freely that this effort is “very risky” and “going beyond what we already have”, he points out that it is part of a plan to concentrate on developing specific centres of excellence.
“ Research is a risky business. But only through such research can you find things which will bring economic benefits in the future.”
The state also supports two research-related agencies. One of these, the National Research Fund, helps the Ministry of Research set priorities, create and implement its programme and evaluate results. Then there is Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research. It offers tailormade services to businesses of all sizes as well as private and public research centres and laboratories. In recent years, Luxembourg has joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the European Science Foundation and the European Space Agency, a decision that ties in with the strategy to strengthen the country’s research credentials. The focus now is on making the current initiatives work, but Mr Biltgen insists that the government will keep its “eyes and ears wide open for opportunities”.
I Focus 2008
This was the opportunity – and challenge – Luxembourg embraced when in 2003 a law was enacted to establish a university that would focus on teaching, research and the commercial exploitation of research results. Today, the University of Luxembourg is made up of three divisions : the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication, the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, and the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Art and Education. It offers 11 Bachelor’s degree courses and 20 Master’s degree courses. Currently 220 researchers are working towards PhDs in 18 areas that range from biology and engineering to finance and political science. Reflecting Luxembourg’s multicultural nature, the university works in three languages – English, French and German. The university is headed by Rector Rolf Tarrach. A native of Spain, Dr Tarrach was previously Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Barcelona, where he also served as Dean of the School of Physics. He then spent some time in Madrid as President of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research. He was also a member of the European Union Research Advisory Board and President of the European Heads of Research Councils.
A university “led by research” “The University of Luxembourg would quite likely not have been created without having research in mind”, explains Dr Tarrach.
The University of Luxembourg :
Born to research Imagine that, in the first decade of the twenty- first century, you could create a new university. What would it be like ? In which fields would you seek to achieve excellence ? What types of students and faculty would you want to attract ?
Security and reliability of information technology Materials science Life sciences
European and business law International finance Educational science
Luxembourg studies Finance, of course, reflects Luxembourg’s position as an international financial centre, while European law takes advantage of the Luxembourg location of the European Court of Justice. Materials science is an area of interest to local companies such as ArcelorMittal and Goodyear. Educational science falls under the university’s mandate to train teachers for the Grand Duchy’s schools, while the security and reliability of information technology are of major interest for the government as well as the private sector. Four other areas that have been identified as “medium priority” are geodynamics and seismology, environmental resources and technologies, social sciences, and the economy and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is
the focus of a new Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, offered jointly by the university and the Chamber of Commerce.
As multinational as Luxembourg itself University of Luxembourg By 2007, the university had already attracted more than 4,100 students, of whom 47 % + 352 46 66 44 1 came from 89 countries outside of the email@example.com Grand Duchy. Nearly 60 % of these “foreign” firstname.lastname@example.org www.uni.lu students were from neighbouring Belgium, France and Germany, and a substantial contingent from Portugal reflected the strong local presence of Luxembourg’s largest immigrant group. Eastern Europe and Africa also provided numerous students. Teaching these young scholars were 61 professors and 74 assistant professors from 12 different countries. blitz agency
“This is fortunate, since pushing forward our frontiers of knowledge is the activity which is most passionately pursued by academics. Whether research is centred in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences or technologies, it will be the lifeblood of the university.” Seven areas of research have been designated as high priority :
Rolf Tarrach, Rector
Focus 2008 I
Public Research The TDK Europe Professorship for semi-conductor research established in 2007 by the Japanese company TDK exemplifies this ambition. The focus of the Chair was to be research in photovoltaic, or solar, batteries that do not use silicon or indium. The work centres around the development of a low-cost process for the preparation of thin-film solar cells which are “next generation” because of their potential for production cost reductions.
Digital integrity The Computer Science and Computer Research Unit contains the Laboratory of Algorithmics, Cryptology and Security (LACS). Headed by Dr Alex Biryukov, an internationally recognised expert in the field, the laboratory boasts five professors and assistant professors and 11 research assistants and post-docs. LACS’ importance reflects the ubiquity of digital communications in contemporary society and accompanying concerns like privacy and anonymity, protection of intellectual property and digital rights, data integrity and threats from surveillance systems such as Echelon. To address such issues, an interdisciplinary approach is needed that draws researchers from engineering and law as well as computer sciences.
Teams, not silos
Another development at the university Dr Blessing feels is of particular interest is the construction of multidisciplinary teams that cut across traditional departmental silos. Examples are the Behavioural Finance unit that is part of the Luxembourg School of Finance, which itself is part of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance. The Behavioural Finance unit combines finance with mathematics and psychology to study people’s investment behaviour. Another team is INSIDE, the Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development. INSIDE’s academic disciplines include psychology, sociology, educational sciences, social pedagogy and social work. The group focuses on issues relating to population ageing, aggression in institutional and social contexts, and psychosocial stress and health-related problems.
In addition to cryptography, the research issues on which LACS focuses are computational number theory, needed in public key cryptosystems, network security, including intruder detection systems, and information security management, including the prevention of identity theft. Besides having academic partners from Belgium, Germany, France, Israel and Switzerland, LACS is part of ECRYPT, the EU’s Network of Excellence in cryptography. Mindful of the commercial applications for its work, LACS has also established corporate and institutional partnerships that include the Centre for Information Security Technologies (Korea), the Federal Office for Information Security (Germany), Gemalto (France), Hitachi (Japan), the Ministry of Defence’s Centre of Electronic Weaponry (France) and Telindus (Luxembourg). To focus research efforts and gain administrative and fiscal efficiencies, the university’s three faculties have organised specific research units. Doctoral students’ research projects are supervised by the academic staff of these research units.
Mindful of the need for the commercial exploitation of research, the university is working on raising awareness of intellectual property among faculty and student researchers. It is also exploring ways to involve greater numbers of SMEs as research partners. The university’s mission is to increase the number of research faculty at the university by 40 - 50 % by 2013.
Research collaboration with the private sector is considered a priority by the university’s Vice Rector for Research, Dr Luciënne Blessing. A native of the Netherlands, Dr Blessing was appointed Vice Rector in 2007 and is also a professor in the Engineering Research Unit. She was previously Professor in Engineering Design and Methodology at the University of Technology Berlin and a Senior Research Associate at Cambridge University.
I Focus 2008
Luciënne Blessing, Vice Rector for Research
Although the university is too young to have had many spin-offs, one success story is AxoGlia Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that is described on pages 23 - 24. Rector Tarrach is proud of the company as he believes, “People who had the ideas should benefit.”
A healthy balance
Believing that there needs to be a healthy balance in research between the theoretical and the applied, Dr Tarrach is pleased that many of the university’s PhD students are undertaking research proposed by companies that are also co-financing the students’ work. He feels the endowment of chairs is an excellent way to assure the relevance of the university’s research and that this can apply beyond the private sector. The City of Luxembourg, for example, is financing a chair in urban planning.
The innovation matrix : public research centres and programmes
Stimulating research activities, attracting researchers and enabling the country’s researchers to participate in projects abroad are core activities of Luxembourg’s national research fund, the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR). The FNR is also in charge of selecting and funding public research projects undertaken under its thematic programmes and accompanying measures. Mr Raymond Bausch, a mathematician by training and Secretary General of the FNR, is deeply committed to developing Luxembourg’s research capabilities and “ensuring their excellence”. He sees the Fund’s strategic objectives as “supporting researchers by contributing to a favourable research environment and actively promoting a scientific culture nationally.” In 2006 - 2007, the FNR undertook a foresight study to pinpoint the research themes that would determine national research priorities for the coming years. It enlisted stakeholders that included business, government and the citizenry as well as representatives of the national research system and international experts in the exercise. The results are the domains which make up the new CORE programme : Innovation in services Sustainable resource management in Luxembourg Identities, diversity and integration Labour market, educational requirements and social protection New functional and intelligent materials and surfaces / new sensing applications Biomedical sciences in age-related diseases While some of the domains, like intelligent materials and surfaces, build on previous programmes, other areas, like innovation in services, are new. The services domain is a response to the substantial contribution of the service sector to Luxembourg’s GDP. Its sub-domains are business service design, the
Luxembourg’s three public research centres, along with the University of Luxembourg, the research centre CEPS/INSTEAD and the National Research Fund, comprise the public portion of the Grand Duchy’s national research system. Working within this system are approximately 650 public sector researchers, a number which the government hopes will grow considerably in the coming years.
Raymond Bausch, Secretary General
development and performance of financial systems, information security and trust management, and high-performance telecommunication networks.
While FNR funding is reserved for recipients within the University of Luxembourg, the public research centres and a few other public institutions that undertake research, private sector participation in projects is encouraged. The CORE programme has a total budget of € 81 million for six years.
“ The ATTRACT programme provides grants to outstanding young researchers to come to Luxembourg.”
National Research Fund
Roaming researchers To promote researcher mobility, the FNR supports two programmes. With a total budget of € 6 million, the aptly named ATTRACT programme provides grants to outstanding young researchers to come to Luxembourg, establish a team at a Luxembourgish research institution and undertake research in their subject area. Six ATTRACT grants are foreseen up to the end of 2012. The need for international cooperation is widely recognised among researchers, particularly in order to raise the profile of Focus 2008 I
Public Research He is explaining the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and how its practitioners determine which of the 11,500 herbs and medicinal plants in the Chinese pharmacopoeia should be prescribed. His presence is part of a project under development with CRP Santé to identify the active agents in these plants to facilitate their acceptance and use in the West. It reflects CRP Santé’s focus on fundamental, applied, clinical and industrial research in health care, public health and biotechnology.
Luxembourgish research abroad and to achieve a critical mass of research which can be difficult to attain within the Grand Duchy’s borders. The INTER programme provides funding for participation in international research programmes run in partnership with, for instance, the European Science Foundation or the US National Science Foundation, or in ERA-NET, the cooperation instrument of the European Research Area. INTER-funded projects have, for example, brought together researchers at the University of Luxembourg with peers in Poland and Finland under the ERA-NET MATERA programme and enabled researchers in the Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann’s Science and Analysis of Materials department to join forces with researchers from the University of Texas.
Preparing the next generation
CRP Gabriel Lippmann
Aid for Training and Research (Aides à la Formation-Recherche, or AFR) is a research grant programme for PhD candidates and post-docs. The objective of the programme is to help increase the number of researchers in Luxembourg from 6 per 1,000 persons employed in 2005 to 10 per 1,000 persons employed by 2010. It also serves to promote the mobility of researchers – recipients do not have to be Luxembourgish or even undertake their research in Luxembourg – as well as improve working conditions by offering work contracts. In 2007, under the previous grant programme hosted by the Ministry of Research, 129 awards and € 6.3 million in fellowships were dispensed.
From Bergen to Beijing and beyond : CRP Santé CRP Santé
I Focus 2008
Dr Liu Xinmin, MD and PhD, from the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development in Beijing, is addressing a crowded amphitheatre at Luxembourg’s Hospital Centre.
CRP Santé is one of Luxembourg’s three public research centres (centres de recherche publics, or CRPs, in French) established with the mission to enhance R&D activities in the Grand Duchy and encourage research collaboration and technology transfer between the public and private sectors. Its Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, which organised the conference on Chinese medicine, investigates plant allergens and food tracing, and undertakes functional studies on plant actin-binding proteins. It is also in charge of the CRP’s microscopy imaging facility, which is used for cell biology research and can be accessed by both researchers and industrial users from Luxembourg and the surrounding region. It is a long way from China to Norway, where CRP Santé is a partner in NorLux with the University of Bergen. NorLux is a state-of-theart neuro-oncology research centre which studies the development of malignant brain tumours and strives to identify novel therapeutic proteins that can be used for cell-based therapies. CRP Santé also works in public health with organisations including the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) in London, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in Lisbon, Luxembourg’s National Laboratory and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.
Nanotechnology and cellular biology : CRP Gabriel Lippmann “If you ever wanted to see stardust up close, here’s your chance,” says researcher Susan McGinn about the capabilities of the ion microprobe NanoSIMS, short for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer. This scarce and costly instrument analyses the isotopic and elemental composition of extremely small samples – such as interplanetary dust particles – at a sub-micrometre, or nano, scale. At CRP Gabriel Lippmann, the NanoSIMS is also put to more earth-bound uses. Lippmann’s Science and Analysis of Materials department
works on innovative surface treatments. It is a reference laboratory for the characterisation of materials, surfaces and interfaces down to a nanometric scale. Lippmann makes its researchers and equipment available to academic institutions and industrial partners (e.g. ArcelorMittal and Goodyear), both national and from other countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US. It is also a leading partner in the EU’s NanoBEAMS Network of Excellence which develops the analytical techniques and instruments required to work with nanomaterials. With the University of Luxembourg, Lippmann organises a European PhD School to train scientists in nano-analysis. Lippmann’s Environment and Agro-Biotechnologies department studies the complex mechanisms of natural and man-made ecosystems, in order to conserve, maintain and, if necessary, restore these resources. Its work encompasses both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and both forestry and agricultural sectors.
Applied research for innovation: CRP Henri Tudor CRP Henri Tudor is the largest Luxembourg public research centre with a staff of 345. Its activities cover five scientific and technological fields : ICT ; materials ; environmental and healthcare technologies ; business organisation and management. It offers various activities and services such as applied and experimental research, doctoral research, development of tools, methods, labels, certifications and standards, technological assistance, consulting and watch services, knowledge and competence transfer as well as incubation of high-tech companies. Its training arm organises training and conferences (4,600 participants in 2007). CRP Henri Tudor has set up sustainable collaboration with the services, finance, production, construction, healthcare and social security sectors, as well as with the public sector, and particular attention is given to SMEs. To reinforce this collaboration, new business models such as the Multi-annual Partnership Programmes (MPP) for research and innovation (for example InnoFinance within the financial sector) and collaboration research projects where partners can share risks, results and Intellectual Property (IP) have been developed. Besides these new models, CRP Henri Tudor continues to offer a wide range of contract research services and projects with
IP in these cases belonging up to 100 % to the client. Consequently, partnership is very important for CRP Henri Tudor’s activities, as 54 % of its partners are companies and federations and it is always looking for new partners.
CRP Henri Tudor
Seas of people, oceans of data : CEPS / INSTEAD Luxembourg is also home to the internationally renowned research centre Centre d’Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Network for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development (CEPS / INSTEAD), which provides detailed social science and economics data for researchers worldwide. It undertakes short- and long-term studies of populations, with a particular focus on poverty. Its databases allow work on both national and comparative bases. Two of its programmes are of particular interest for researchers. The first organises visits of two to 12 weeks for scholars doing research using the centre’s archives of micro-data. Visits from EU researchers are even funded under the EU’s Framework Programmes for research and development. The second programme offers an advanced Master’s degree awarded by the Belgian university K.U.Leuven. The programme’s goals are to provide a solid theoretical foundation in comparative socioeconomic policies, a thorough training in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and expertise in policy evaluation.
CEPS / INSTEAD
“CEPS / INSTEAD provides detailed social science and economics data for researchers worldwide.”
Focus 2008 I
10 questions for Mr Jacques Lanners Chairman of the Executive Board of Ceratizit
end is very hard while the other end is softer to allow it to be welded onto a steel shaft. This innovation received an award from the European Metal Powder Association (EMPA).
5. How do you see the future of your company in Luxembourg over the next, say, 10 years ? We plan to continue the growth that we have experienced since our foundation in 1931 and we aim to remain a major actor in the tungsten carbide world of the future.
+ 352 31 20 85 1 email@example.com www.ceratizit.com
1. What types of activity does your company currently have located in Luxembourg ? We are a tungsten carbide manufacturing company with our worldwide headquarters based in Mamer, to the west of Luxembourg City. We also have manufacturing facilities that produce some of our raw materials in Differdange, our compacting tools in Livange and our tungsten products in Mamer. Luxembourg is also the home of our research department. 2. What are the advantages to your company of being located in Luxembourg ? Mainly the internationality and the skills of our staff, and the possibility to recruit further highly educated people from Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Germany. 3. What type of research, development and innovation (RDI) activities does your company currently carry out in Luxembourg ? Our business is split up into five business units. Four of these units have their own R&D department, three of which are in Luxembourg. They are responsible for the development of the products as well as for some fundamental research on material and processes.
4. Could you please outline an RDIrelated project that your company has successfully developed in Luxembourg ? We have developed a new composite drill bit for one of our customers (Hilti). The particularity of this drill bit is that the machining I Focus 2008
6. What is your opinion of the present RDI capabilities in Luxembourg ? Some promising activities have been launched here, and I believe that the structure of the research centres and the University of Luxembourg will provide powerful platforms for the future of R&D in Luxembourg. There is a clear recognition of the need for the Grand Duchy to become leaders in innovation. Innovation is going to be one of the key factors of success in developed countries as they compete with the lower-cost emerging economies. 7. What, in your opinion, is currently lacking in Luxembourg’s RDI system ? I believe that the Luxembourgish government has now realised that the promotion of R&D is necessary to keep our local wealth growing and to remain an important economic actor in Europe and the rest of the world. Of course there is still a long way to go. 8. What is your vision of Luxembourg in 2015 ? My vision is quite optimistic, provided we can avoid the trap of becoming too bureaucratic and slow. After all, in the fast-changing world in which we live, it is no longer “the big ones that eat the small ones”, but “the fast ones that eat the slow ones”. Luxembourg can be small and fast. 9. What is the most exciting experience of your career so far ? It was our merger in 2002. Our company Céramétal merged that year with the Austrian company Plansee Tizit. Today our group is managed from Luxembourg with 13 production units around the world and with more than 4,500 employees. We are number 5 in our business and we hope to continue growing in the future. 10. W hat is your personal motto? “Just do it.”
10 questions for Mr Volker Neuber Vice President EMEA Husky Injection Molding Systems S.A.
2. What are the advantages to your company of being located in Luxembourg ? Luxembourg is an attractive location for access to employees who combine language skills with a broad technical experience. Our workforce of more than 20 nationalities comes from all over the Greater Region. 3. What type of research, development and innovation (RDI) activities does your company currently carry out in Luxembourg ? Local R&D is part of a global R&D team. In the past 12 months, we have been centralising our R&D activities here where we focus on trends demanded by the European customer base. 4. Could you please outline an RDIrelated project that your company has successfully developed in Luxembourg ? In Europe we are particularly concentrating on such subjects as energy efficiency, and this also drives us to investigate developing machines to make lighter weight products. 5. How do you see the future of your company in Luxembourg over the next, say, 10 years ? There is enormous growth in the emerging markets where sales of “safe packaged food” are a key indicator of the initial stages of economic development. We are expanding our operations to meet those growing needs, but this will not result in delocalisation of our European business. We still have an enormous demand to support European packaging companies that need to be located close to their customers due to the prohibitive cost of transporting empty packaging over long distances. Last year, Robert Schad, who founded Husky in 1953, sold his majority shareholding to the private equity company Onex. Onex will maintain the core values of Husky, but it is
EMEA Husky Injection also very open to growth through mergers Molding Systems S.A. and acquisitions and I would expect this to require increased technical support from the + 352 52 11 51 Luxembourg site over the next 10 years. firstname.lastname@example.org
6. What is your opinion of the present RDI capabilities in Luxembourg ? The country of Luxembourg is an attractive magnet to bring experts here, and the highly educated human resources that come from the Greater Region of the surrounding countries are of particular importance.
1. What types of activity does your company currently have located in Luxembourg ? Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. is the world’s largest brand name supplier of injection molding equipment. Worldwide HQ is in Toronto, Canada, and we have 850 employees working in Dudelange, south of the city of Luxembourg. The campus houses the HQ of Sales and Service for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as our European manufacturing facilities. The Technical Centre provides training and technical support and includes a growing R&D department.
7. What, in your opinion, is currently lacking in Luxembourg’s RDI system ? To address past skills gaps we have created our own apprentice scheme, but I am now pleased to see that Luxembourg is investing more in technical education and I would look forward to seeing more employees coming to us from the University of Luxembourg. 8. What is your vision of Luxembourg in 2015 ? I believe that the financial sector will be even stronger, with manufacturing staying at same levels or decreasing. The growth of activity in services and R&D is likely, but dependent upon the attractiveness of Luxembourg as a place to live, and the government is working on that … 9. What is the most exciting experience of your career so far ? In 1999, when working at GE, I drove in a convoy with a group of managers to bring aid to schools and local relief organisations in Albania – a moving experience. 10. W hat is your personal motto ? “The impossible exists only when we don’t try to make it possible.” Focus 2008 I
Did you know it’s from Luxembourg ?
First zero - emission polar station stands on Luxembourgish foundation Prefalux S.A.
+ 352 78 95 11 1 email@example.com www.prefalux.lu
I Focus 2008
If you can build a zero-emission structure to survive weather conditions described by explorer Ernest Shackleton as “a blinding, shrieking blizzard all day, with the temperature ranging from - 51 to - 56 °C”, you can prove to the world that with the right research and technology, you can build environmentally sound structures anywhere. The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station is a technical showcase and a major achievement : it is the only polar base operating entirely on renewable energies. The Luxembourgish company Prefalux S.A. played an important part in making this polar research station so eco-friendly : the company was responsible for studying, designing, producing and mounting the structure’s wooden frame as well as for the coverings for the façade and roof.
Did you know it’s from Luxembourg ?
Focus 2008 I
Index FOCUS on Research and Innovation in Luxembourg is published by :
Luxinnovation GIE National Agency for Innovation and Research Director of publication : Gilles Schlesser
Lena Mårtensson firstname.lastname@example.org Journalists :
Susan Alexander, Ros Browne, Stephen Evans, Wendy Winn Copy-editing :
Louise Ferguson, Frauke Hertel Graphic design and layout :
Alternatives Communication Cover :
© Delphi Luxembourg Printed in :
20,000 copies Sponsored by :
Luxembourg Board of Economic Development, National Research Fund For a free subscription, please contact : email@example.com
The publisher has tried to ensure that all information is accurate but cannot be held responsible for the use which might be made of the information, nor for any mistakes or omissions which may appear. Reproduction is authorised, provided the source and copyright are acknowledged. © 2008 Luxinnovation GIE
Useful contacts in Luxembourg Governmental portal for innovation and research www.innovation.public.lu
Ministries Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade Directorate of Research and Innovation 19-21, boulevard Royal L-2914 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 41 28 I Fax : + 352 26 20 27 68 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eco.public.lu
Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research Department of Research and Innovation 20, montée de la Pétrusse L-2273 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 52 19 I Fax : + 352 46 09 27 email@example.com www.mcesr.public.lu www.recherche.lu
Research and innovation agencies Luxinnovation GIE National Agency for Innovation and Research 7, rue Alcide de Gasperi L-1615 Luxembourg Phone : +352 43 62 63 1 I Fax: +352 43 81 20 firstname.lastname@example.org www.luxinnovation.lu
National Research Fund Luxembourg 6, rue Antoine de Saint-Exupéry P.O. Box 1777 L-1017 Luxembourg Phone : +352 26 19 25 1 I Fax: +352 26 19 25 35 email@example.com www.fnr.lu
Invest in Luxembourg Board of Economic Development Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade 19-21, boulevard Royal L-2914 Luxembourg Phone : +352 24 78 43 45 I Fax: +352 26 20 27 68 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bed.public.lu
Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement P.O. Box 1207 L-1012 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 46 19 71 1 I Fax : + 352 46 19 79 email@example.com www.snci.lu
Luxembourg business promotion Chamber of Commerce 7, rue Alcide de Gasperi L-2981 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 42 39 39 1 I Fax : + 352 43 83 26 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cc.lu
Public research organisations
Luxembourg for Business GIE 19-21, boulevard Royal L- 2449 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 84 31 I Fax : + 352 22 34 85 email@example.com
University of Luxembourg 162a, avenue de la Faïencerie L-1511 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 46 66 44 1 firstname.lastname@example.org I email@example.com www.uni.lu
University of Luxembourg researcher mobility centre EURAXESS Service Centre Luxembourg 162a, avenue de la Faïencerie L-1511 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 46 66 44 66 81 I Fax : + 352 46 66 44 6760 firstname.lastname@example.org www.uni.lu
Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann 41, rue du Brill L-4422 Belvaux Phone : + 352 47 02 61 1 I Fax : + 352 47 02 64 email@example.com www.lippmann.lu
Public Research Centre Henri Tudor 29, avenue John F. Kennedy L-1855 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 42 59 91 1 I Fax : + 352 42 59 91 77 7 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tudor.lu
Public Research Centre Santé Bâtiment Thomas Edison 1A-B rue Thomas Edison L-1445 Strassen Phone : +352 26 97 01 I Fax : + 352 26 97 07 19 email@example.com www.crp-sante.lu
CEPS/INSTEAD 44 rue Emile Mark L-4620 Differdange Phone : + 352 58 58 55 1 I Fax : + 352 58 55 60 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ceps.lu
Ecostart Enterprise and Innovation Centre c/o Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade 19-21, boulevard Royal L-2449 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 41 85 I Fax : + 352 26 20 27 68 email@example.com www.ecostart.lu I Focus 2008
Technoport Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor BP 144 L-4002 Esch-sur-Alzette Phone : + 352 54 55 80 1 I Fax : + 352 54 55 80 40 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.technoport.lu
H^cXZ '%%%! i]Z CVi^dcVa GZhZVgX] ;jcY AjmZbWdjg\ ;CG ]Vh WZZc ÒcVcX^c\ ]^\]"aZkZa gZhZVgX] egd_ZXihi]gdj\]^ihbjai^"VccjVagZhZVgX]egd\gVbbZh^ceg^dg^inYdbV^ch[dgAjmZbWdjg\# ;jgi]ZgbdgZ!i]Z;CGViiVX]Zh\gZVi^bedgiVcXZidi]Zegdbdi^dcd[^ciZgcVi^dcVaXdaaVWdgVi^dc!i]ZbdW^a^in d[gZhZVgX]Zgh!VcYi]Zegdbdi^dcd[hX^Zci^ÒXXjaijgZ^c\ZcZgVa# I]Z ;CG \^kZh Vc VYY^i^dcVa ^beZijh id gZhZVgX] VXi^k^i^Zh ^c AjmZbWdjg\ i]gdj\] ^ih VXXdbeVcn^c\ bZVhjgZh! \gVcih i]Vi hjeedgi! [dg ^chiVcXZ! i]Z dg\Vc^hVi^dc d[ V hX^Zci^ÒX Xdc[ZgZcXZ dg V hiVn Vi V gZhZVgX]^chi^iji^dcVWgdVY# ;gdb Vjijbc '%%- dclVgYh! i]Z ;CG l^aa iV`Z dkZg i]Z bVcV\ZbZci d[ i]Z \gVci hX]ZbZ 6^YZh | aV [dgbVi^dc"gZX]ZgX]Z6;G!l]^X]egdk^YZhÒcVcX^Vahjeedgi[dgE]9VcYedhiYdXidgVahijYZcih#DkZgVaa! i]Z 6;G hX]ZbZ l^aa Xdcig^WjiZ id i]Z ^begdkZbZci d[ i]Z ndjc\ gZhZVgX]ZgÉh igV^c^c\ XdcY^i^dch VcY Zc]VcXZi]ZXVgZZgYZkZadebZcid[gZhZVgX]Zgh# ;dg[jgi]Zg^c[dgbVi^dc!eaZVhZk^h^ii]Z;CGÉhlZWh^iZlll#[cg#ajdghZcYVcZbV^aid^c[d5[cg#aj#
-Y CHOICE FOR INNOVATIVE "USINESS INVESTINLUXEMBOURGLU (IGH TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENT
2EWARDING TAX ENVIRONMENT
(IGHLY SKILLED MULTILINGUAL WORKFORCE
#OMPETITIVE BUSINESS COSTS
%ASY ACCESS TO DECISION MAKERS
3TATE OF THE ART INFRASTRUCTURES
!TTRACTIVE )0 DESTINATION
)NVESTMENT AND 2$ INCENTIVES
"USINESS FRIENDLY LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
(IGH QUALITY OF LIFE
,UXEMBOURG THE PRIME BUSINESS LOCATION