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Ten Years of SnT – What We've Achieved Together

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Veröffentlicht am Donnerstag, den 25. April 2019

The University of Luxembourg has reached a new milestone in its history: ten years of operations for its Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT).

Since 2009, SnT has grown into one of the most widely reputed collaborative research centres in Luxembourg and Europe. And in this time, we’ve taken great pride in investing back into society by developing ICT talent and technology right here in the Grand Duchy.

In honour of our staff, our industry partners, and the graceful support of the government, let’s revisit what we’ve achieved together!

2009 – A Platform for Collaboration between Research and Industry

  • The University of Luxembourg launched its first interdisciplinary centre, SnT, focussing on research and doctoral education in Information and Communications Technology. The University welcomed Prof. Björn Ottersten to lead SnT as its founding Director. His first priorities: attract world-class talent, establish a platform for interaction and collaboration between researchers and industry, and launch research projects in areas of strategic importance to Luxembourg.
  • In October, SnT signed its very first partnership agreement – a collaboration with Telindus to develop a test bed for public safety communication and information systems. Partnerships with Post and SES followed shortly after.

2010 – Steady Growth

  • By the end of 2010, the Centre already housed 80 employees. In one year this dedicated team published 115 papers, won five best paper awards, and had acquired seven major EU projects.
  • SnT also organised the inaugural European Summit on the Future Internet, bringing 200 experts together to discuss their ‘hopes and fears’ for the network.

The inaugural European Summit on the Future Internet

2011 – Putting SnT on the Scientific Map

  • In 2011 SnT secured 10 projects with the European Space Agency and European Commission, along with six FNR CORE projects – a total of over 5 million euros in funding.
  • In all, SnT now counted thirteen partnerships with representatives from industry and the public sector.

“I want to put SnT and thus Luxembourg on the international scientific map and make it impossible to overlook!” Prof. Björn Ottersten

2012 – Excellence Rewarded

  • We’re unstoppable! With 18 partnerships and our first Partnership Day under our belt, we continued to expand our activities in new research areas, such as smart grid infrastructures with Creos. The Centre’s first patent, for securing Global Navigation Satellite Systems against spoofing attacks, in collaboration with iTrust Consulting, showed that these collaborations were already bearing fruit.
  • The ongoing influx of talented researchers meant that by 2012 the Centre had already outgrown its first home on Campus Kirchberg. So we packed up and moved a few blocks down the road to the Weicker Building.
  • François Biltgen, Minister for Higher Education and Research appointed SnT Director Prof. Björn Ottersten “Digital Champion” for Luxembourg.
  • SnT also gained a prestigious FNR PEARL grant – the first ever at the University of Luxembourg. The grant allowed us to launch the Verification and Validation Research Group, headed by Prof. Lionel Briand, one of the world‘s leading scientists in the field of software verification and validation. Today SnT hosts three SnT Pearl Chairs.

Our first site on Campus Kirchberg, and the entrance to our new offices in the Weicker Building

2013 – Surpassing our Expectations

  • With a headcount of over 220, by 2013 we had already surpassed our original five-year target of 100 employees!
  • Prof. Yves Le Traon received the Google Faculty Research Award.
  • From the start, autonomous vehicles were an important focus for SnT. And by the end of the year we were running a fleet of scientific vehicles that could be seen cruising around Luxembourg: we equipped a Renault Twizy and a Smart with intelligent systems to help prevent traffic jams and to increase the cruising range of electric cars.
  • With our international reputation growing, SnT welcomed a representative of NASA to get an overview of our research activities, from Computer Vision and satellites to autonomous vehicles.

2014 – Reinforcing our Technology Transfer

  • No sooner had we launched a Tech transfer Office to help commercialise good ideas, then our first Spin-off, Motion-S hit the market.
  • Prof. Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo joined the Centre as SnT’s second FNR PEARL chair, supported by a 5 million euro grant.
  • SnT won Luxembourg’s first project with the European Defence Agency.
  • From the start, SnT was keen to make gender equality in research and tech a reality, and in 2014 we supported the Inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. The event attracted over 150 participants in Luxembourg.

2015 – Expanding our Research Activities

  • The Centre underwent an external evaluation and got top marks!
  • By the end of 2015 our Technology Transfer team was running seven Proof of Concepts and had helped launch a second spin-off: Black Swan.
  • We created two new research Groups: the Service and Data Management in Distributed Systems (SEDAN) Research Group led by Prof. Radu State and the CryptoLux Research Group led by Prof. Alex Biryukov.

2016 – Taking FinTech into High Gear

  • When the centre was launched one aim was to help ignite fintech research in Luxembourg. In early 2016 we hosted the inaugural Fintech Conference, and by the end of the year we were running projects with six partners in the domain.
  • Prof. Lionel Briand received the first European Research Council Advanced Grant in Luxembourg. The project’s objective? To test the untestable! Today SnT hosts all three of Luxembourg's ERC Advanced Grants.
  • The Times Higher Education World University Rankings rated Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg 58th in the world and 21st in Europe – a huge achievement for a young organisation. We’re confident our expertise helped.
  • Our spin-off LuxAI won first place at the Mind and Market Forum with their social robot QT. Meanwhile, Dr. Patrice Caire founded Luxembourg United, a robot football team providing a platform to motivate students, advise industry and bring together a wide range of research areas under a common framework.

The inaugural Luxembourg Fintech Conference

2017 – Breaking Records

2018 – Pushing Boundaries

  • Our presence in the highly competitive EU scientific programmes kept growing, with 14 new H2020 and European Space Agency projects.
  • We welcomed nine new partners, including our first international partnerships: Canada-based QRA and our first grant from a US research-funding agency (ONRG). Moreover, we launched research projects in two new sectors, with our first legal and insurance firms, Linklaters and Foyer.
  • For many organisations, 2018 was the year of the GDPR. Our researchers helped IT professionals and legal exchange their thoughts on the regulation, with Prof. Mark Cole and Dr. Andra Giurgiu organising a series of interdisciplinary round table discussions in collaboration with Law Firm Stibbe.
  • SnT organised the highly prestigious International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, welcoming 300 leading researchers to Luxembourg for a week of workshops, keynotes and papers.

The SnT team in 2018

2019 – Reaching the 10-Year Mark

  • Barely four months in, and our anniversary year has already lived up to its promise! We’re now part of a national AI collaboration – the first of its kind in Europe – with NVIDIA. The initiative brings together researchers and industry from across domains to solve society’s most important challenges using artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.
  • As of February, SnT is at the heart of a European Cybersecurity push. SnT experts working in resilient systems will participate in three out of four EU Cybersecurity Competence Networks, a new 65 million euro initiative to accelerate cybersecurity research by drawing together Europe’s leading experts.
  • And as the Internet celebrated its 30th birthday, SnT launched a collaboration to change the way we use it. Our participation in the University Blockchain Research Initiative funded by Ripple involves developing the network communications necessary for micropayments. Soon we will be able to pay for content as we consume it, without annoying ads.
  • Looking ahead to the summer, we’re excited to be hosting the European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Europe’s leading computer security conference.

Stay up to date: keep up with us here or on social media (Twitter, Linkedin) and celebrate with us throughout the year. We’re excited to see what the next 10 years will bring.


SnT is turning 10! We’ve come a long way since launching our activities in 2009. Stay tuned for a year full of celebrations, cutting-edge research, and new milestones.