Co-creating tomorrow's major innovations

Published on 15/09/2023

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology is a trusted partner for businesses, universities and public institutions, and an accelerator of change for a digital, resilient and sustainable society. It offers solutions in its four areas of research.

As a Research and Technology Organization, operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is committed to fundamental and applied research, incubation and technology transfer. Its mission is to push the boundaries of research for high-impact innovation by developing technologies in its four diverse but complementary areas of research: information technology, materials, space resources and the environment. LIST offers a range of collaborative models that enable it to respond to all requests from the private sector to accelerate their technological, societal and economic innovations. Within the institute, more than three quarters of its nearly 700 employees are researchers or experts in innovation.

Collaborative models designed to foster innovation

One of the cornerstones of LIST's research and technology transfer strategy is its relationship with the private sector. The links maintained with SMEs and large industrial groups are fostered by multiple collaborations. This diversity of its collaboration models reflects the strength of an approach based on the co-construction of innovation.

Examining a company's specific issues

Through research contracts, LIST can examine specific problems linked to a company, or collaborate with several companies in joint research partnerships.

Such strategic partnerships are based on both the company's and LIST's innovation roadmap. As an example, LIST and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company have been collaborating since 2017 in materials research, understanding structure-property relationships and data science. From 2017 to 2022, with a budget of around €50 million, the largest public-private partnership to be set up in Luxembourg has led to tangible results, applied in many of Goodyear's day-to-day operations.

LIST can also provide strategic programmes, such as the Sustainable Composite Materials and Manufacturing (SCMM) Innovation Centre, which aims to develop composite materials with a very low carbon footprint and showcase their benefits through demonstrations of concrete applications for the automotive, rail, space, aeronautics and future urban air mobility sectors. The initiative already involves four major players in the transport sector: Toyota, Airbus, Thales Alenia Space and Alstom.

Bringing new solutions to market

LIST has numerous innovations and patent families in its four research fields. Indeed, 27 priority patents have been registered and 19 licences have been granted by LIST to various partners during 2022. This transfer enables new products to be launched on the market.

LIST can also make its experts or infrastructure available to a company. The aim of this model is to enable the private sector to benefit from LIST's technological expertise, particularly in testing, measurement, analysis, innovation management and the development of methods and software. Interested companies can, for example, benefit from the Greentech Innovation Centre's experts and facilities in the fields of biorefinery, water treatment and biogas production, or from the institute's infrastructure in the field of materials and manufacturing technologies.

Inventions, innovations and creations can also be commercialised through spin-offs. To this end, LIST has put in place a policy to support and encourage business start-ups in its laboratories. A range of processes and resources are available to support the premature development of technologies, and to assist researcher-entrepreneurs in their endeavours, to assess the potential for bringing an innovation to market, or to acquire a stake in the company. In other cases, technologies developed within the institute can be transferred to an existing start-up. This is the case with WASDI, a consortium made up of the Italian company FadeOut, RSS Hydro and LIST. The company launched HASARD®, a patented technology developed at LIST that can be used to generate global flood maps from satellite data.

Leveraging the research and innovation ecosystem to fund collaborative projects

Companies can benefit from various forms of funding when collaborating with LIST. At the national level, the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) offers various funding programmes dedicated to innovation and collaboration with private sector players, such as BRIDGES, INDUSTRIAL FELLOWSHIPS, IPBG and JUMP.

The government also contributes by supporting some collaborations between LIST and companies, by offering direct financial aid to companies, but also by creating an environment conducive to innovation and technological development, notably through the many actions carried out by Luxinnovation.

Some projects may also benefit from support from the European Union and its competitive programmes such as Horizon Europe. This new framework programme reserves the majority of its funds for global issues and European industrial competitiveness. These are concerns shared by LIST, which has positioned itself as a partner of choice for both the private and public sectors.

To find out more about collaboration models, visit the dedicated page on LIST website.


Article published on on 14 September 2023

Picture Copyright @MaisonModerne

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