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SnT And University Of Luxembourg: Where Scientific Effort Becomes a Reality

The University of Luxembourg and its Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) organized another Partnership Day (2021) at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg.

Photo: Theresa Condor (Spire Global) and Carlo Duprel (SnT) / Image Credits: SnT

Björn Ottersten, the director of SnT, emphasized how important this event was to highlight all the partnerships that have been formed in the past 13 years of work.

“The key to everything is to invest in research and innovations, and work towards the diversification of the economy”, he said also mentioning the many milestones – from more than 400 employees, many different research groups and six cutting edge space labs, to the fact that they are in the top ten in software engineering as well as the existence of a Covid task force research team.

“Covid showed us how digitalization shaped today and tomorrow, Luxembourg had a GDP decrease of 1.8 percent, much less then we expected when everything started in 2020. That’s because we were resilient and managed to go about our business”, he said.

The rector of the University of Luxembourg, Stéphane Pallage, agrees with the claim that “it’s all about partnerships”, while Luxembourg Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, who wasn’t physically there, but “popped in” via chat, said that “the Luxembourg University is the most international university in the world, and SnT is a great example of a success story”.

Almost 230 million Euros was invested in the relatively young University, while SnT got more than 30 million Euros from its partners.

“It is a magic triangle, that’s what it is. Academic effort thanks to SnT translates into innovation. Security, reliability and trust are in the core of SnT”, Gramegna emphasized, also saying that generally speaking Europe is lagging behind in digitalization and business unicorns – with the USA and Asia being ahead.

The keynote speaker was Theresa Condor, Executive Vice President at Spire Global, a satellite startup. She talked about “human and Earth problems to which satellites and software are the only solution”.

Spire has over 100 satellites, mostly the size of a bottle of wine, in orbit. Everything they do is fully operational, and not just research, and used by hundreds of customers. Through different sensors and payloads on the satellites a terabyte of data per day lands “into” the ground operations infrastructure. And this is, she says, just the beginning.

“If you think about satellites like the PC computer, we are now in the mid-nineties. We will use space tech more and more, and AI and machine learning, as well as sorting and reading data will become more and more important”, says Condor. Over two-thirds of vital information regarding global warming and climate change – comes from space.

The rest of the program was organized so that the participants could check out some of the projects the scientists and Phd candidates have been working on.

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