Accelerating public sector innovation

Experiment, exchange, innovative: the goal of Luxembourg’s GovTech Lab is to accelerate the development of digital public services in Luxembourg. Launched in 2020 by the Ministry for Digitalisation and the government’s IT centre, the lab uses open innovation to co-create innovative solutions with start-ups, established companies, researchers, freelancers and students.

A first call for solutions, “Bye Bye Robots”, welcomed innovative ideas on how to tell computers and human beings apart during online procedures with the Luxembourg state. During the second half of 2021, the GovTech Lab will launch its next call for solutions and open a physical innovation space that will enable it to work on another important mission: building a govtech community and becoming a place of reference for govtech in Luxembourg.

Cybersecurity centre of excellence

Luxembourg is among the front-runners in both Europe and the world for its cybersecurity commitment. The steadily growing national ecosystem is attractive to start-ups: 50% of companies are less than 5 years old. Solutions offered cover the whole risk management supply chain, with a leaning towards specialisation in risk identification and systems protection.

The active government support helps us win business deals on the international level.

““We can be proud of the density of our ecosystem, which is quite remarkable for a small country,” underlines Christophe Bianco, managing partner of cybersecurity consultancy and technology integration company Excellium Services. “And while there are ecosystems everywhere, the interactions here are boosted by public players that connect people to each other and make information circulate across the national market. We are constantly able to identify points of mutual interest.”

The role played by the Ministry of the Economy, which considers cybersecurity not only as a defence issue but also as an economic success factor, makes Luxembourg a unique case in Europe. “With our 140 employees, we are on the same market as competitors with tens of thousands of staff,” comments Mr Bianco. “The active government support helps us win business deals on the international level.”

Business-oriented high performance computer

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, industry 4.0: new technologies are opening a world of opportunities to companies. However, seizing them requires the ability to process and analyse huge amounts of data. Luxembourg’s high-performance computer (HPC) MeluXina has been specifically designed to meet this need. While most HPCs are foreseen as pure research frameworks, 65% of MeluXina’s capacity is available to start-ups, SMEs and large companies. Companies using MeluXina can also benefit from an ecosystem providing operational and financial support as well as complementary R&D capacities. To kick off operations, a competitive call offered companies the opportunity to run large-scale experiments and test their software on the HPC free of charge during May 2021.

“MeluXina is an important milestone for Luxembourg’s digital economy,” comments Roger Lampach, CEO of LuxProvide that manages MeluXina. “The national supercomputer will be ranked among the top 30 of the TOP500 supercomputers worldwide.”

Creating a secure data market place

Data is at the heart of modern value creation models. Vast amounts stemming from diverse sources and sectors need to be analysed in order to extract value. “Data controllers are still reluctant to share their data as specialised infrastructures that ensure the necessary levels of trust, control and security of the data do not exist,” says François Thill, Director Cyber Security and Digital Technologies at the Ministry of the Economy. “They need to ensure that privacy and intellectual property rules are respected, that no trade secrets are disclosed and that their data is legally, syntactically and semantically interoperable and apply the standards used on the platforms they would like to join.”

The platform should help all players, public and private, to become active and responsible participants of the data economy.

In order to make this possible, Luxembourg is analysing the opportunity to establish a national data exchange platform, which would assist data controllers in adopting data governance principles, implementing data interoperability standards, assessing the value of their data and identifying potential data partners. “The platform would also provide tools for data protection such as pseudonymisation and anonymization as well as controlled data access and algorithm usage,” explains Mr Thill. “The platform should help all players, public and private, to become active and responsible participants of the data economy.”

Data-oriented public research

Luxembourg’s dynamic public research environment is widely recognised on the international level in fields including material sciences, health and biomedicine, data sciences and ICT. Key players include the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). Together with the Luxembourg National Research Fund and Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency, they have set up a solid cooperation under the brand “Research Luxembourg”.

Our strength is that the different institutes act as one team and constantly cooperate with each other as well as industrial partners.

“Our strength is that the different institutes act as one team and constantly cooperate with each other as well as industrial partners,” says Hélène Jacuszin, Marketing & Communication Coordinator for Research Luxembourg. “Data is also at the heart of the national research and innovation strategy for the next 10 years. Priority areas include making Luxembourg a leading country in personalised data-driven digital medicine and supporting industrial and service transformation through data-driven modelling and simulation as well as a trusted data-driven economy and critical systems. Research efforts also focus on regulations and legal frameworks fostering the development of a data-driven and personalised healthcare environment. Luxembourg also invests in educational research in order to develop innovative, digitally enhanced learning environments that will benefit a diverse and multilingual school population.”