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Luxembourg Context & Challenges

 Development of research in Luxembourg
Before the 1980s, Luxembourg lacked a clear science, technology and innovation policy in the public sector but in the early 1980s, there was an increasing recognition of the importance of research and innovation for the growth of the economy.

1984: Creation of Luxinnovation, an agency for supporting innovation in SMEs

1987: Legal framework for the organisation of research

Creation of three Public Research Centres (CRPs): CRP Gabriel Lippmann, CRP Henri Tudor, CRP Santé

1999: Setting up of the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research (MCESR), as the key research policy centre and the National Research Fund (FNR), to distribute prioritised funding for multi-annual research programmes

2003: Creation of the University of Luxembourg

Research activities also emerged at the CEPS/Instead, within museums, and at other public institutions.

2005: Publication of the National Plan for Innovation and Full Employment 2005-2008 with a view to raising investments in R&D to 3% of the GDP; increasing public spending to approximately 220 million Euros in 2009; strengthening innovation particularly in SMEs and fostering entrepreneurship; as well as increasing the number of graduates in science and engineering

2011: Relocation of the CRPs and the University to the newly built Cité des Sciences, de l'Innovation et de la Recherche

The research landscape has become increasingly complex, characterised by a full range of institutions, a number of funding streams and ministry involvement. As a result, the MCESR commissioned in 2006 the OECD to perform a review of Luxembourg's innovation policy. The subsequent report observed a high potential for future development with good framework conditions for innovation, strong building blocks with the already established institutions, but also a number of structural weaknesses and inadequacies in research governance.

A challenging and dynamic situation

The relatively young public research system has the advantage of allowing a certain openness and readiness for structural changes. Today, the Luxembourg government is dedicated to strengthen public research. However, several issues need to be addressed in the future:

  • the lack of strategic orientation and coordination of funding instruments;
  • the human resource policy needs further improvement;
  • the regulatory framework needs to be upgraded to provide an attractive research environment;
  • public sector research needs to rebalance its widespread "applied research myopia" and favour basic research;
  • encourage interdisciplinary research.
Hopefully, by addressing these challenges and by capitalising on the current dynamic situation, research in Luxembourg will become an exciting career opportunity, a more productive and organised endeavour, a testbed within the Greater Region and a more visible partner internationally.

Societal Challenges

Ageing population. At present, about 15% of all Luxembourgers are older than 65 years, and this share is constantly increasing, as is the fraction of highly aged persons. This progress in longevity has tremendous implications e.g. for the work force available and for the health care system.

Ethnic and cultural diversity. The Grand Duchy has taken much benefit from its immigrants and cross-border workers. But immigration also gives rise to the menace of "parallel societies".

Environmental issues and climate change. Adapted strategies are required to counteract the increasing pressure on land, energy and water resources. Energy efficiency and renewable energies are key concepts in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and comply with the requirements of the Kyoto protocol.

Luxembourg's economy. Within the last decades the country experienced an economic expansion that exceeded the economic trends in neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, managing the integration of the economy into the European and global markets, coping with the dependency of the economy on foreign and trans-border workforce, as well as with the related risks for the social systems and social cohesion are issues that need to be faced. In addition, Luxembourg needs to consider its sustainable economic growth, which can only be reached if Luxembourg's strong dependence on the financial sector is minimized and new pillars for economic growth are developed.

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Published on: 2007-10-24 (13664 reads)

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