The first-rate performances and distinctions achieved by researchers and students and the placing among the world’s leading 200 universities in the “Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016” contributed to this success. University President Rainer Klump draws a very positive conclusion: “We have successfully furthered the University’s development. It is now Europe’s most international research university and a great ambassador for the Grand Duchy far beyond academic circles.”
Last year, the University’s three faculties and its two interdisciplinary centres (LCSB and SnT) raised a total of around 41 million euros in third-party funds, which accounts for 20 per cent of the overall budget of approximately 204 million euros. No less than 29 million euros of the third-party funds came from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). A high level of third-party funds and healthy grant quotas serve as an indicator of research quality. Furthermore, the University is particularly proud of its involvement in 16 research projects with an overall value of more than 10 million euros. The European Commission granted this sum in its “Horizon 2020” research programme 2015.
The grant worth 2 million euros awarded by the European Research Council to the physicist Professor Jan Lagerwall for his prestigious research project was particularly noteworthy. In addition, history students led by Professor Benoît Majerus scooped the European Charlemagne Youth Prize for their Twitter project on the First World War. Further milestones were reached with the research agreements concluded in 2015 with two leading US universities - the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - for the setting up of a research and training centre for logistics.
New University President, new campus, new strategy
For the 1,600 or so people involved, 2015 will be remembered as a year of change: the first year under the guidance of the new University President, Rainer Klump, witnessed a host of new initiatives as well as the starting signal to devise a new 10-year strategy. The University council and the Board of Governors accepted the strategy a few days ago. Rainer Klump outlines his vision for the future: “We want to make the University of Luxembourg a model European university for the 21st century and strive to ensure that, in 10 years’ time, it will be ranked among the world’s top 10 young universities.” His vision is primarily based on digitalisation in research, teaching and administration, the strengthening of the international and European mission and further integration with Luxembourg society and its economy.
However, the successful move from Limpertsberg and Walferdange to the new Belval research and innovation campus was the boldest step of the year. Around 900 university employees and 2,000 students are now working and studying there. The arrival of one thousand students from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance in the autumn 2016 and the transfer of the first scientists into the “Maison du Nombre” in 2017 will mark the next stages in the process.
By and large, student numbers remain stable, with approximately 6,200 young people from over one hundred different countries enrolled. Over 800 rooms are available for them, 112 of which are newly acquired residences. Last autumn, the University introduced a new web portal, which students can access from their smartphones in order to obtain information on their lecture timetables and room numbers online. The new feature should make their daily lives easier.