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Focus Areas

 

Belval Campus, University of Luxembourg

A major goal of public research in Luxembourg is to position the country as a knowledge-based society.

The national strategy is to foster innovation that will drive sustainable socio-economic development and further diversify the economy by developing new and strengthening existing high added-value economic and social activities. The University of Luxembourg supports this strategy through its commitment to:

  1. be an international leader in selected areas of research;
  2. provide high quality interdisciplinary teaching and learning programmes; and
  3. positively contribute to shaping Luxembourg’s society and strengthening its economy.

 

2018-2021 roadmap

This four-year phase will be characterised by a refinement of our research foci and a consolidation of resources.

 

Supporting Existing Pillars of Excellence

As noted by the third external evaluation, these research areas are defined as excellent because of the quantity and quality of research output & their ability to acquire highly competitive external research funding.

We put Education in this category because the Luxembourg education system is unique - with the country’s multilingualism and its associated societal heterogeneities, Luxembourg’s education system is a “living laboratory” of international relevance.

We also put our newest Interdisciplinary Centre, Contemporary History and Digital Learning, into this category.

 

Materials Science

 

Materials science is a national research priority and a funding theme of the FNR. Materials science at University support this national priority through excellent research results (see the EE), and significant external funding (including three ongoing ERC projects). Research focuses on four axes:

  • Soft and living matter: research here investigates the properties of soft- and bio-materials, such as highly responsive polymers and liquid crystals and long-range macro-molecular interactions, as well as complex phenomena in soft- and living-systems, such as self-organisation and critical phenomena;
  • Photovoltaics and semiconductors: research spans the range from the fundamental properties of advanced semiconductors, through novel growth methods, to building efficient photovoltaic devices that convert light to electrical energy;
  • Magnetic and multiferroic materials: research investigates novel functional materials with a focus on the study of the underlying fundamental principles and how functionalities can be translated into technology are part of this topic; examples include state-of-the-art permanent magnets or piezoelectric and caloric compounds;
  • Theory and materials modelling: research entails developing theories and numerical methodologies to predict and design macroscopic properties of materials based on their underlying microscopic structure. These tools are essential for the other three research axes and beyond.

Activities within these four areas will grow over the four-year plan.

The University maintains strong interactions nationally and internationally, and we plan to further strengthen the local interactions within the four-year plan:

 

Collaboration with the MRT Department at LIST: A common strategic plan between the University and LIST’s Materials Research and Technology (MRT) department entitled “Belval Future Forge” has been established, where several mutually interesting fields of collaboration are defined, supported by joint professorships. It comprises a joint technology and characterisation platform in a “Maison des Matériaux” (house of materials) on Belval Campus. The Belval Future Forge will cover fundamental, use-inspired basic and applied research, as well as technology transfer on various novel functional and intelligent materials. In 2016, the MRT and the University jointly acquired 24 million EUR from competitive and industrial projects. Areas of collaboration include:
1) materials and technology for sensors and energy harvesting to acquire and use broad knowledge of coupling/sensing and energy conversion phenomena with the aim of discovering new general concepts, materials and devices;
2) soft matter, namely innovative polymer-based composites, including an improved durability and the use of alternative materials such as bio-derived polymers and natural fibres; and
3) future collaborations on the topic of nano-additive manufacturing.

 

Physics and Biology: New innovations in biology can be achieved through a more fundamental understanding driven by physics. The University has built up research excellence in both physics and biomedicine. It is therefore very promising to reinforce activities at the boundary between the two disciplines. Particularly promising directions concern the characterisation of stochasticity and critical behaviours at the single cell level, a rigorous understanding of the thermodynamics of metabolism and mitochondria, the statistical characterisations of the microbiome, and the design of new materials for biomedicine. Establishing a new sub-discipline of physics to understand complex biological phenomena will develop new approaches to biology.

 

Materials and Modelling: Computational materials science deploys complex methods and computing algorithms implemented in software code, which generate large amounts of information on novel functional materials that can then be explored with the methods of machine learning and big data analytics. The University contributes to the development of those methods and is connected to the leading European research networks in the field (see, e.g., Novel Materials Discovery (NOMAD) Laboratory: https://nomad-coe.eu). This activity will contribute to the development of the materials modelling testbed within the Important Project of Common European Interest on High Performance Computing and Big Data Enabled Application.

 

 

Computer Science & ICT Security

 

The University can build on existing excellence that has already started to infiltrate various research domains. Digital technologies are transforming the way progressive research, teaching, and knowledge transfer are undertaken. The ubiquitous presence of digital tools in public, professional and private life combined with artificial intelligence, high computing power and data storage have redefined the type of questions that can and need to be addressed. The University will actively engage in this process in order to take an internationally leading role in digital research, knowledge creation, and knowledge transfer with the goal of positively impacting Luxembourg’s society and economy.

 

Research in computer science has undergone a rapid and successful development. Initially University research in this domain was located in only a few Research Units. Today computer science, digital science, and/or Data Modelling and Simulation are research foci in all of ourInterdisciplinary Centres and Faculties.

 

Computer sciences & ICT security is highly successful in attracting competitive external funding from industry, European, and national sources. Hand in hand with relevance and impact, achieving scientific excellence increases the University’s appeal as a national and international research partner and attracts talent to Luxembourg. The University set highly ambitious, long-term goals for this focus area in the Strategic Plan 2009, and a solid foundation for continued development towards these targets has now been laid.

 

As the country’s principal ICT knowledge institution, the University will achieve sustainable integration into Luxembourg by supporting collaborative research programmes in strategic areas, by developing a TTO (Technology Transfer Office) embedded in the innovation ecosystem of Luxembourg, and by attracting and training highly talented and skilled professionals to meet the increasing human resources demands of the country’s expanding Interdisciplinary CentreT intensive industry. The following areas will require specific investments and are aligned to the Digital Lëtzebuerg strategy and Rifkin report:

  • Financial and regulatory technologies;
  • Space resources;
  • Compliant data management;
  • Machine leaning;
  • Artificial intelligence.

University researchers have forged close links with research groups at leading research universities in Europe, Asia, and the United States. We will continue to develop our strategic research areas in digitalisation creating a European hub for international research cooperation by partnering with the best research teams in Europe to enter the highly competitive H2020 and the European Space Agency research programmes. The evaluation review confirmed the importance of computer science for the digital strategy of the University and for Luxembourgish and global society.

 

Digital Sciences are significantly influencing the Luxembourg research landscape as evidenced by the fact that the country’s digital economy has grown significantly over the last decade. As a central pillar of the University’s research and learning strategy,Digital Sciences strongly complements Luxembourg’ digital strategy. The University is well-positioned to support and participate in societal and economic transformations, driven by Digital Sciences and will continue to develop this strategic research area.

 

 

European and International Law

 

Research in European law necessarily includes various forms of regulation of modern social systems, such as capital markets, media and communication, or health and is thereforeinterdisciplinary. Research in European law at the University has achieved an excellent international reputation and research output.

 

Over this four-year plan, further competencies will be developed in the areas of:

 

European Union Law: With the aim of actively contributing to current debates and furthering knowledge of EU law in profoundly shifting areas, research in EU law focusses on the following central topics:
(1) European economic law and governance, where questions regarding the future of the Economic and Monetary Union as well as regulatory matters are addressed. Linked to these issues and central to the development of the internal market are questions of European civil law, especially contract law, European company law, European social and labour law, as well as applied European consumer law;
(2) systemic issues in European legal thought and procedural law, with the latter cutting across all branches of power, the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary as well as their relations in horizontal and in multi-level terms. In that regard, research in European criminal law and comparative public law are growing areas capable of providing the backbone for important normative developments;
(3) the external and international dimensions of European law and policies with respect to trade and immigration, both areas that pose important political and legal challenges to European integration.
These research fields will attract external support from both private and public stakeholders (compliance, data management) and will be embedded into University-wide research topics (data management/digitalisation; intellectual property/biomedicine/health).

 

Data management and privacy: With the ongoing digitalisation and growing technological ability to capture, aggregate, and process an ever-greater volume and diversity of data, data management (in particular with regard to big data) will become increasingly important and will have an impact on governments, businesses, and the everyday life of citizens. The analysis of large amounts of data can be used for varied purposes ranging from fraud detection to the enhancement of cybersecurity. While the potential uses of “Big Data” seem endless, this large-scale processing and data management in general raise numerous and substantial legal questions of data protection and privacy. Research in the field of data management will therefore address thesechallenges and opportunities from a legal perspective including the new Europeanised regulatory framework for data use. This research area will significantly build on interdisciplinary approaches such as fundamental ethical, social, economic, and technological issues that are connected with the applicable law.

 

Intellectual property law: In knowledge-based economies, effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights are crucial to stimulate innovation and compete in a globalised economy. This has been the case in the past but is becoming ever more relevant in a rapidly changing technological environment which foresees digitalisation of all areas of life. The EU is a crucial player and promotes within the “Innovation Union” a comprehensive IPR strategy under its Digital Single Market Strategy. This flagship initiative will not only modernise the legal framework for IPR enforcement, but also further develop a balanced approach between use of protected property by society and rights holders’ interests. Research in this area with a focus on the cross-border dimension of enforcement in an online context is essential to contribute to the discussion of how to prevent infringing activities from undermining growth and sustainable employment in the EU. University research already covers different models of enforcement, but further areas for development include industrial property protection, an area that will be of growing significance in Luxembourg with the arrival of the Unified Patent Court.

 

Compliance and law enforcement: In the field of business law, the aim is toestablish an interdisciplinary research field around corporate crime and compliance. In this context, compliance refers to the process of ensuring that a company and its employees follow the applicable laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices. In addition to the legal issues relating to law enforcement, effective methods of identifying and deterring corporate misconduct will be examined. Research into compliance and law enforcement will facilitate and deepen the understanding of the causes of corporate misconduct, and seek to identify policies and practices to enhance corporate compliance while preserving business innovation and creativity.

 

 

Finance and Financial Innovation

 

Financial Technology (also known as FinTech) is a broad concept that combines innovative new technology with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services.

 

The University has initiated its investment in financial innovation with several researchers in the different Faculties and Interdisciplinary Centres. As the complexity of the regulatory environment increases, ICT tools are necessary to provide scalable and cost-effective, secure, and compliant solutions for the financial and banking sector. Also, the emergence of technologies such as block chain-based systems, smart contracts, crowd-based funding/lending where security and trust aspects are central may have a disruptive impact on the sector.

 

In finance, relevant research addresses:

  • how the increase in computing power as well as amounts of data leads to new research methods and, moreover;
  • how the increased availability of data impacts the functioning and efficiency of financial markets and the financial industry.

New legal frameworks will be needed to address the challenges (regulation, compliance, and criminal law enforcement) posed by the collaboration between intermediaries inherent to finance-related technology. Research in this domain has the potential to provide growth, prosperity and social welfare but may also become a source of new risks that are at present poorly understood by supervisory authorities and regulators. To react to these risks,research in law is key, particularly in the newly emerging field of regulatory compliance that includes research expertise in management.

 

The University has entered into eight long-term strategic partnerships to establish collaborative research in financial innovation including an endowed chair in Digital Financial Service sponsored by PayPal and the FNR that demonstrate industry’s strong commitment and endorsement of the University’s strategy in this area of research.

 

 

Education

 

In Education, the current four-year plan will combine the considerations of local needs with the challenges and quality requirements of the international research community. Being a research priority in all previous four-year plans, the Research Theme Education (RE) has been able to achieve impact at national and international levels. The University has been successful in implementing fundamental and internationally visible research (e.g. in the fields of cognitive science, technology-rich assessment and sociology of education). The research in this four-year plan will continue to focus on nationally relevant research questions. The University is committed to helping every single child reach their maximum potential, and thus shares the focus of Luxembourg’s educational policy (“Offrir les meilleures perspectives d’avenir à chaque enfant et chaque jeune”). The national context of education developed considerably over the past few years, with newly implemented educational guidelines, institutions and actors (e.g. multilingual early childhood education, creation of competence centres). The University will complement, and in some cases, define these efforts in two concrete ways.

 

First, the research group in education will implement a cluster dedicated to special educational needs. Based on existing capacities in the Research Unit and Centre(s), this new project will allow for the cluster to design reliable valid (digital) diagnostic and intervention instruments (for large-scale and/or individual use) for children with special educational needs in highly-diverse and multilingual learning contexts.

 

Secondly, the group will monitor the impact of selected national educational reforms, interventions, and projects that have a specific focus on multilingualism and diversity in formal and non-formal education. In this vein, the University will:

(1) actively participate in establishing and coordinating the model school “Kannercampus Suessem”, an innovative institution offering research-guided school and extra-curricular activities from day-care to fundamental education, thus providing a unique setting and opportunity (e.g. proof of concept studies) for pupils, teachers, and University researchers alike;

(2) further develop the national report on education (Bildungsbericht) by focussing more systematically on key questions of the Luxembourg education system;

(3) extend the language-test portfolio (in early grade levels) of the national school monitoring programme, which will allow for a better understanding of multilingual education efforts deployed during early childcare.

 

In order to emphasise Education’s national relevance, enhance visibility, maximise synergies, counteract fragmentation of the field, reduce bureaucracy, and facilitate communication with internal and external partners/stakeholders, the University intends to merge the Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET), the Luxembourg Centre for School Development (LuCS), and the aforementioned novel special education needs cluster into a single research and transfer structure the Luxembourg Centre for Educational Research (LUCER; Zentrum fir lëtzebuergesch Bildungsfuerschung).

 

Based on the University’s pioneering work in digital approaches to education (e.g. digital assessment using user-centred methods) all these endeavours will be firmly grounded in the Research Theme Education’s developments in digitalisation. In this four-year plan, the University will build on the strengths already present, as acknowledged by the external evaluation, and further extend these assets. This will contribute to the role of the University as a university for Luxembourg, while at the same time achieving international recognition and visibility in target domains. Work in the research unit of education will contribute to the three core missions of the University: research, teaching, and knowledge transfer. The unit will explicitly connect to two other University priorities, Health and Systems Biomedicine (e.g. assessment of children with special educational needs) and data simulation and modelling (e.g. big data handling in digital assessment). Naturally, the Research Theme Education activities will also continue to foster the research-based teaching approach in several core study programmes in education.

 

 

Contemporary and Digital History

 

The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History is the third Interdisciplinary Centre of the University and focuses on the study, analysis, public dissemination and engagement with regards to contemporary history of Luxembourg and Europe. In order to realise its ambition to become a world leading Centre in developing and applying digital tools and methodologies for contemporary history, a sustainable investment in the Centre, especially in its digital research infrastructure and academic staff that have both scholarly and digital expertise, is key for developing and establishing the Centre.

 

Based on recent discussions with the C2DH Advisory Board and the Scientific Committee, over the time frame of this four-year plan, University researchers working in this focus area will concentrate their activities on four thematic axes that have a double strategic function:

  • first, to concentrate on timely topics that are of high relevance for Luxembourg society and fill important gaps in contemporary historiography;
  • secondly, to apply new digital tools and methods in studying these topics and thereby produce internationally competitive outputs that demonstrate the uniqueness of the C2DH approach.
    • Global Histories of Finance: focussing on the Luxembourg financial industry in a globalised financial network and studying the impact of this sector for the Luxembourgish society and economy;
    • Digitising Industrial Heritage: developing new forms of digital documentation and representation of the industrial past (especially the steel industry) with the aim to produce innovative public history tools /applications;
    • Legacies of War, Collaboration, and Resistance: questioning national myths and re-evaluating socio-political phenomena like occupation, resistance, collaboration, forced recruitment and labour, persecution, and their legacies for the two post-war societies; and
    • Digital History and Hermeneutics: engaging with the urgent epistemological questions of digitisation for the practice of doing history in the 21st century and offering new pedagogical tools (e.g. online tutorial) for digital source critique and transmedia storytelling.

Next to these thematic axes, which concentrate existing scholarly capacities of the four research areas, the Centre will concentrate on acquiring external funding for realising projects that will help to strengthen its position as national expertise Centre and international hub in digital history.

 

In digital or e-learning, the University researchers working in this priority will develop a strong collaboration with the Media and Digital Design Centre (MDDC) and a partnership with the Learning Centre of the University. In addition, it offers an important contribution to the Bachelor and Master programmes in history as well as to the Doctoral education.

 

A major challenge for this research theme is the development of a sustainable digital research infrastructure (DRI) that will enable and foster the process of productive “thinkering” with data as well as in disseminating and preserving the outputs of the Centre. A recent White Paper outlined the necessary strategic investments for the DRI and will serve as a roadmap for the next four-year plan. Yet without a critical investment in new research tools, life-cycle management and the creation and enhancement of digital corpora and resource collection and – most importantly – professional and sustainable support from SIU (Service Informatique de l’Université), the researchers working in this field will not be able to realise their ambitions.

 

 

Growing Cross-Disciplinary Themes

Research will also focus on enhancing research impact by bringing together University pillars of research excellence into larger themes that have a strong potential for interdisciplinarity. The University will build on existing achievements and will extend the research in these fields to strengthen collaborations between Research Units and Interdisciplinary Centres in these areas. Collaborating across different disciplines can create critical mass around a research subject and the cross-fertilisation of different ways of thinking can sometimes result in innovation in a field. These interdisciplinary themes include:

 

Health and Systems Biomedicine

 

Health and Systems Biomedicine is a future-oriented research subject that has the potential tocreate links across many activities at the University and collaborations with existing expertise at the public research centres and healthcare institutions in the country. At the same time, it is of high socio-economic relevance, as it will improve public health and contribute to the creation of a biomedicine driven economy. The collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries between biomedicine, the social and behavioural sciences, environmental research, and computational sciences will create a unique profile of Luxembourgish research. Based on a common IT infrastructure, mechanistic computational models can be derived from real life data on health, environment, nutrition and socio-economic circumstances as well as from suitable experimental models. With a strong link to law and finance, the University will be in an excellent position to tackle future health challenges. These include topics such as health-economics as well as legal and ethical aspects in the changing society of an information age and rapidly advancing technical progress.

 

The Health and Systems Biomedicine research theme and the Medical Education programme will be closely linked. The Health and Systems Biomedicine research focus federates University actors in the fields of biomedicine, clinical sciences, behavioural sciences, and social sciences as well as reaching out towards the researchers in the environmental sciences. The aim is a highly, integrated approach to some key pathologies (e.g. neurodegenerative diseases and cancer). The medical training to be offered in the future will obviously be part of this University strategy as it will integrate interdisciplinary approaches and will involve quantitative and analytical methods that rely on biostatistics and bioinformatics, training the medical doctors and clinician scientists of the future with personalised medicine as a target. With both the research and the education components relying largely on big data usage, computational modelling, and machine learning techniques, the actions in the biomedicine field are linked themselves again to the other cross-sectional theme in digital sciences and modelling.

 

The following subject areas have been identified as research themes that will bring together researchers from the different Research Units and Interdisciplinary Centres to establish cross-sectional activities. We foresee additional collaborations between the University and other national and international institutions.

 

 

> Biomedicine and IT

 

Biomedicine has become a major player in the big data field and the heterogeneity of information from the clinical to the molecular level requires advanced machine learning approaches and artificial intelligence to identify underlying correlations and networks. IT-supported implementations of personalised medicine have reached healthcare and the related medical informatics includes challenges such as data standardisation and privacy. The activity “Biomedicine and IT” is directly linked to the other cross-sectional theme of the University “Digital Science, data modelling, and simulation”.

 

The large amounts of data in biomedicine require a computing that cannot be solved by traditional fast high-performance computing but relies on dedicated hardware that allows fast input/output operations such as field-programmable gate array technologies. The Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication plan to engage in this field through the Luxembourg coordinated Important Project of Common European Interest on High Performance Computing and Big Data Enabled Application.

 

Specific "use cases" will take centre stage to not only further establish Luxembourg as a data hub for biomedical data (through the ELIXIR node), but also to develop and apply advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches to these data. Time series data, e.g. from longitudinal patient cohorts, will be used to integrate data from different sources, including molecular, clinical, and population level data. The aim is to bring together leading University researchers in experimental and clinical neurology and tumour biology, machine learning, data base and information science, and systems control theory to improve prediction tools for the prediction of disease trajectories and in the long term run to co-develop innovative and comprehensive decision-making support tools for clinicians and healthcare professionals.

 

Additional research in this domain will include integration of data sets derived from various technological platforms, modelling of molecular networks based on wet-lab data, and multiscale modelling.

 

> Biomedicine, Socioeconomics, the Environment, and Behaviour

 

Diseases are not only a result of genetic predisposition but health and diseases are also heavily influenced by environment, life style, and socioeconomic factors. It will be important to investigate the role of these environmental factors and their complex interactions with genetic and epigenetic processes. Research in this domain will focus on understanding the influence of the environment on health and disease by investigating different stressors, including the role of the microbiome, food, toxins and socio-economic influences such as poverty or chronic stress. New competences in epigenetics in particular will need to be developed. The cross-sectional theme "Biomedicine, Socioeconomics and Environment" will be developed as a bridging theme and will include the analysis of stressors like migration, income inequality and social status on individual and population health. Research in this domain will also focus on cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, the influence of exogenous factors (nutrition, environmental stressors like toxins, etc.) on signalling networks including the regulation of gene expression and of the metabolism. This activity will also link to many Faculties and Interdisciplinary Centres.

 

> Research and Healthcare

 

Integrating research into healthcare will enable information flow between the needs of the patients and the innovation in the lab. Such exchanges will drive more focused research according to the requirements in the clinic and will allow for a faster transfer of the latest research findings into clinical practice in Luxembourg. The National Centre of Excellence in Parkinson’s disease (NCER-PD) which is building up a cohort of Parkinson patients and healthy controls has pioneeredmedical translational research at the University by bridging biomedical research to the clinics in Luxembourg.

 

Together with healthcare providers in Luxembourg, we aim to establish a translational medicine network in neurology that integrates both research and healthcare to pursue cutting-edge medical research and provide excellent care. A particularly important element for the creation of innovation is the proximity of biomedical research to the clinic. The envisaged medical training, e.g. the specialisation programmes in neurology and oncology will help to catalyse an efficient knowledge transfer of modern biomedicine into clinical practice. The recruitment of more senior clinician scientists within the Medical Education Programme will be essential in this context. In addition, the University has to enable the creation of the organisational and legal framework to integrate clinician researchers located in the healthcare institutions. It is planned to use the EU programme WIDESPREAD to build the necessary critical mass in clinical research in Luxembourg. The focus will be on oncology and neurology with immunology as a transversal subject and medical informatics as a central component.

 

Cutting-edge behavioural-experimental research and interventions in the investigation of health- and disease-related processes are also necessary. Establishing an out-patient clinic (Luxembourg Centre of Mental Health) is a crucial element to the provision of this clinical research and training on the development, maintenance, and treatment of mental health problems. Clinical research will contribute to developing evidence-based behavioural treatments for mental health problems, and prevention interventions to increase mental and physical health and well-being in individuals across the whole life-span. Similar to the longitudinal cohort studies of Parkinson´s disease patients, use cases will be developed that are centred around patients and patient cohorts with socio-psychological stress.

 

> Biomedicine and Law and Ethics

 

Considerations in law and ethics are essential for future-oriented medicine in education, research and societal debate. Questions of ethical, legal and intellectual property issues in biotechnology and health are constantly developing and provide an interdisciplinary link between research in health and research throughout the Faculties and Interdisciplinary Centres. As a result of the rapid changes in global information flow, the concept of privacy needs to be revisited. A cooperation between the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance on this topic is foreseen and a joint Chair in Bioethics is envisaged. The issue of privacy will also be of key interest in the context of attempts to develop an appropriate legal framework for data protection, data privacy and security.

 

 

Data Modelling and Simulation (formerly known as Computational Sciences)

 

This area of research refers to the practice of using models (physical, mathematical, or other logical representations of a system, entity, phenomenon, or process) as a basis for simulations. This broad theme supports analysis, experimentation, and training. Data modelling and simulation (DMS) can help us to understand a system's behaviour without actually testing the system in the real world.

 

DMS research is being developed in research disciplines as diverse as climate modelling and drug delivery in the brain. DMS is a cross-cutting University research theme that addresses technological, scientific, and societal challenges.

 

The DMS initiative is a bottom-up effort from various Research Units. The cross-cutting DMS has created a positive and symbiotic research environment that relies on a strong scientific, computational, and mathematical research core. Through this cross-cutting theme, researchers from social sciences are, for example, working with theoretical physicists to understand social inequalities through machine learning algorithms.

 

This cross-sectional research theme will make Luxembourg a model for Europe to test innovative research, teaching, learning and training paradigms in scientific computing which will become the backbone of “Digital Lëtzebuerg”. This will be achieved by building on Luxembourg’s unique IT infrastructure (High Performance Computing, near-total internet access).

 

 

> Modelling and Material Sciences

 

Computational materials science deploys complex methods and computing algorithms implemented in software code, which generate large amounts of information on novel functional materials that can then be explored with the methods of machine learning and big data analytics. The University contributes to the development of those methods and is connected to the leading European research networks in the field (see, e.g., Novel Materials Discovery (NOMAD) Laboratory). This activity will contribute to the development of the materials modelling testbed within the Important Project of Common European Interest on HPC and Big Data Enabled Application.

 

> Modelling and Mathematics

 

Probability theory, analysis, and partial differential equations (for numerical analysis and modelling), geometry and topology (e.g. computational geometry or topological data analysis), or algorithmic number theory (for cryptography and data security) are a large component of DMS. A focus toward applied mathematics will also be fundamental to build up this research theme.

 

> Modelling and Socioeconomics and the Environment

 

Modelling tools can be used to predict economy-wide performance and analyse its path toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. A tax-benefit microsimulation model for Luxembourg to better advise policy makers (and public bodies such as the “Chambre des Salariés”) on the redistributive effects of public policies is being developed in a joint collaboration between researchers at the University and LISER.

 

Machine learning algorithms, apps, and other computational methods are being developed at the University to make predictions on the determinants of a successful individual life, to monitor and change health risk behaviours, to understand healthy ageing, epidemiology and public health or to optimise neurofeedback in the rehabilitation of cognitive function in stroke patients. DMS can also be employed to pursue research on the different forms of human learning and its determining factors. Tests and trainings used to enhance cognitive processes that rely on computational models and machine-learning techniques need to be developed.

 

Like the economy and the human body, Earth is also a complex system where water and air are in constant motion to balance the incoming energy from the Sun. Monitoring these constantly evolving patterns is fundamental for understanding the physical processes as well as for predicting short, medium, and long-term changes as global warming continues. Earth observation data are growing at an exceptionally fast rate due to existing and new satellite, airborne, and ground-based remote sensing systems. This component of DMS will steer the applications of data science to address new questions related to climate change.

 

> Modelling and Digital Humanities

 

The fast-growing field of digital humanities does engage in many ways with the modelling of datasets for doing both empirical and theory-driven qualitative research. The mass digitisation of corpora (newspapers, manuscripts, audio- and video collections) and the flood of “digital born” sources ask for new methods of mining, analysing, modelling, and visualising digital data in the humanities and social sciences. The Doctoral Training Unit on “Digital History and Hermeneutics” and interdisciplinary collaborations between C2DH and Computer Sciences at University prepare the ground for a more systematic investigation of the “trading zone” between sciences and humanities in the digital age.

 

> Modelling and Finance and Law

 

Digital finance and FinTech are concerned with the implications of significant and abrupt changes brought about by digital revolution. Digitalisation has led to an unprecedented level of archived data, i.e. big data. The technological innovations in financial services are forcing commercial banks and other financial intermediaries to adapt. Hence, the University sees the high potential to connect these fields to a new research focus in data modelling. The same applies to law, as modern legislative procedures are increasingly based on algorithms which can be particularly demonstrated by legislation within the legal framework of the European Union.

 

 

You can still visit the 2014-2017 roadmap.

 

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