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Partnership Day 2019

In the fast moving world of ICT all eyes are constantly on the next challenge, whether that be self-driving cars, smart factories or augmented reality. For once, SnT researchers and industry collaborators took the chance to pause and reflect on a decade of success with a special Partnership Day marking the Centre’s tenth anniversary. Here’s what happened at #PDAY2019 when 400 researchers, professionals and officials gathered to celebrate a decade of SnT.

SnT Partnership Day 2019

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Before we kicked off the event, attendees made their way through a ten-year timeline, marking the key events in SnT’s history. Our very own bande dessinée narrated some key SnT “firsts”, from our first industry partnerships, to launching our first spin-off. Social robot Pepper also played its part in welcoming guests.

Exceeding all Expectations

As Prof. Björn Ottersten launched SnT in 2009, it was only appropriate that he should also launch proceedings for the tenth anniversary. His speech “SnT: Past, Present and Future” focussed on just how far SnT has come in a short time.

  • From 27 staff at the end of 2009 to over 300 from over 46 nationalities in 2019
  • From three industry partners in 2009 to over 40 today
  • Three ERC Advanced Grants, three FNR Pearl Chairs and hundreds of awards
  • Over 70 major EU projects
  • Four spin-offs
  • Over 125 million euros in external funding

Above all, the message was that without our industry partners, we wouldn’t be making the impact we are today.

Minister of Higher Education and Research Claude Meisch took the stage to highlight the importance of collaboration and increased government investment in R&D, before opening the stage for our keynote speaker, Nvidia’s Marc Hamilton. Hamilton gave insights into the latest developments in AI, emphasising that for countries wanting to reap the benefits of AI, size isn’t everything. If you know what you want to achieve and have the right data, you don’t have to spend hundreds of millions on supercomputers to rival China and the USA.

Flash Talks Give the Big Picture

Six current researchers, two alumni and two industry partners: each with just five minutes to pitch their work to an attentive audience. All ten speakers rose to the challenge, giving a complete picture of what we do at SnT, from a large-scale trial of new airport security tech, to a proof of concept that helps you put together your digital footprint, via industry collaborations in software engineering and smart factories. The common themes across all of these talks? Innovation fuelled by curiosity, collaboration and scientific excellence.

Something for Everyone

After a morning full of fascinating talks, we gave our audience the afternoon off to roam the demo area or to take part in the ever-popular guided tours. Some 25 demos gave attendees an insight into our work across application areas. For hardware enthusiasts there was plenty of equipment to get their hands on, from the vehicular fleet and drones lab to our 3D scanning equipment and satellite communications lab. In the fields of fintech, cybersecurity and data management there was also no shortage of high-tech tools, whether for secure electronic voting, blockchain for KYC compliance or intrusion-tolerant ICT platforms.

Birthday Surprise

No birthday is complete without cake, and lunch took a surprise turn when SnT Director Björn Ottersten and Head of Office Isabelle Chesnay materialised out of an empty box with no fewer than ten of them.

Catching Up with Old Friends

Collaboration and teamwork are the motors for all success, and over ten years, SnT researchers and industry partners have built up a strong network of friends and fellow professionals. After lunch, the rest of the day was free for attendees to catch up and relax. We’re sure that some of the conversations had over a glass of wine and a piece of cake will result in new technologies by the time we all meet again for Partnership Day 2020!

Thank you to all speakers, researchers, and attendees for making this event unforgettable!