Supporting Luxembourg leading research in developing centres of excellence

27 April 2023

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Funding research excellence

Luxembourg’s new ‘NCER’ programme represents a long-term investment into projects of societal relevance.

National Centres of Excellence in Research (NCER)

In early 2023, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Higher Education and Research along with the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), announced the launch of a new funding instrument, the ‘National Centres of Excellence in Research’ (NCER) programme. It contributes to the objectives of the National Research and Innovation Strategy adopted by the Luxembourg Government in early 2020.

NCER programme provides a structuring framework and funding instrument to bundle research excellence around a mission of significant societal relevance by encouraging high-level transdisciplinary research and intersectoral collaboration.

Three NCERs have already been created, two other projects are in development: a project aimed at energy transition and a project relating to the education of the future with the development of new learning environments adapted to the novel challenges of the world of work.

A pilot project on Parkinson’s disease

NCER in Parkinson’s Disease (NCER- PD) was the pilot project launched in 2015. NCER-PD aims at finding ways to treat Parkinson’s disease at its root and continually improve the treatment of its symptoms.

Indeed, over the past two decades, Luxembourg has developed into an internationally recognised hub for Parkinson’s research.

NCER-PD is centred around so-called patient cohorts: groups of people who have consented to have their state of health regularly monitored by specialists over the span of many years. This includes risk cohorts to identify early symptoms of future Parkinson’s cases, even at a very early stage.

Parkinson’s researchers in Luxembourg are also working on clinical trials, with the aim of making them safe and effective for use in clinical practice.

Reinforcing Fintech research

Launched in March 2023, NCER in Financial technologies (NCER- FT) is an interdisciplinary initiative that focuses on the financial industry’s technological challenges and opportunities, with four priorities:

To quick-start the initiative, 14 interdisciplinary projects are being launched in the ramp-up phase of two years. This interdisciplinary research approach remains rare in the world, but is essential for developing practical, sustainable solutions to the challenges of digitalisation in finance.

NCER-FT will contribute to strengthen Luxembourg’s position as an innovative financial hub by attracting talents and providing world-class research and education for the sector in Luxembourg.

AI-driven precision medicine: Clinnova project

NCER in Digital Health and Personalised Healthcare (NCER – Clinnova) was launched in April 2023. Artificial intelligence (AI) holds huge potential in the field of healthcare but its realization faces challenges, notably in the context of data enabling and the ability to build appropriate clinical studies. Clinnova is a cross-border initiative designed to demonstrate the benefits of precision medicine through large data analyses. While digital health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, there are several challenges that need to be addressed to fully realize its benefits. These challenges include privacy and security concerns, interoperability, quality and standardization, the digital divide and user adoption.

NCER-Clinnova aims to address these challenges through collaboration between leading clinicians and data experts across University hospitals and clinics in Luxembourg, France, Germany and Switzerland. The initiative is already funded for the coming 8 years.

Learn more about Clinnova on the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) website

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