Landing in Luxembourg
I noticed early on that ICT academics can leverage a fantastic network of universities and broaden their horizons. After having held research positions in Sweden, Belgium, and the United States, I moved to Luxembourg in 2009. When I think about it, it’s a bit ironic that I ended up here – a nation with three official languages, and at least two unofficial ones. You see, when I was younger I used to be lousy at languages. But I was great at math. Solving problems was my forte, which help me build a career in ICT.
It’s funny, though, as it’s almost as if I’ve come full circle: I used to listen to Luxembourgish radio as a teenager since it was the first in Europe to deregulate broadcast communication. Today, I am proud to be part of the driving force behind the innovation taking place here.
Nurturing Digital Excellence
As founding director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) I am dedicated to educating a future generation of stellar ICT professionals. Why? Because now, more than ever, digital skills will pave the way for future societies. Many sectors of our economy have already seen a great deal of disruption with the introduction of digital technologies. On a global scale, we’ve all witnessed the FANGs – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – take the lead in digital transformation, changing the way we shop, watch television and interact with one-another.
This digitalization trend will not slow down and neither will the need for highly skilled people that know how to develop and use these new technologies. Luxembourg cannot afford to fall behind in terms of innovation or skilled human resources, which brings me to my next point.
Bridging the Gap
With regard to training, we know that we not only need to equip young people with in-depth knowledge so that they can thrive in a digital environment, we also need to equip them with the practical, real-world skills to facilitate their employment.
By establishing close ties between industry and the university, we focus our Research & Development activities on emerging market demands to address current or anticipated challenges. To date, over 160 scientists have completed higher education training at SnT, and more than 40% of our alumni, most of which have a PhD, stay in Luxembourg. Of these, about 2/3 find employment in the private sector, and some even launch a spin-off, creating more jobs in the process. Ultimately, when our students complete their ICT training they are able to integrate into the labour force seamlessly. Why? Because we’ve created a unique collaborative research strategy meeting the demand from industry.
Inspiring Luxembourg... And Europe!
To ensure Luxembourg’s competitive advantage with a high-skilled workforce, it is vital to incorporate digital know-how into the country’s educational strategy. With the launch of SnT in 2009, the University of Luxembourg has already laid out solid groundwork to prevent a skill mismatch in the future.
By harnessing the unique strengths of the Luxembourgish ecosystem, embedding digital skills in our strategic mission and attracting global players, we can create a path and inspire others to follow.
I truly feel honoured to be included as a Digital Champion in this fundamental mission. The launch brought together an impressive calibre of public figures, like the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education, and private actors like Amazon, Google and Microsoft. When these stakeholders and about 800 more people show up to discuss the digitalization of our economy and society, you know something is brewing.
I genuinely encourage anyone interested in the promotion of digital skills in Luxembourg to contact Lucien André Reuter and join the coalition.