On 24 April 2023, Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, and Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, presented the 2022 annual report of the national innovation agency. Hosted by SolarCleano, a company that has benefitted from Luxinnovation's support, the presentation focused on key actions undertaken during the first year of implementation of Luxinnovation's 2022-2025 strategy.
The Luxembourg economy faced several challenges in 2022, notably due to the unstable geopolitical situation, the energy crisis and the increasingly visible climate crisis. "Innovation is often key to overcoming major challenges. As the national innovation agency, Luxinnovation has an important role to play in supporting our companies in becoming more competitive and resilient through innovation," said Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot. "With decades of experience in supporting innovation, the agency has over the past years also become a catalyst for digitalisation and digital innovation. In addition, in 2022 it boosted its ability to support companies in becoming more sustainable through innovation."
Empowering companies to innovate
Luxinnovation has the two-fold mission of empowering individual companies to innovate, and of stimulating the development of a competitive, digital and sustainable Luxembourg economy. To do this in the best way possible, the agency generates detailed and relevant knowledge about the companies and ecosystems that it supports through sector mappings and analyses and market trend reports. In 2022, it focused on topics such as manufacturing, high performance computing, the metaverse and sustainability enablers.
No less than 210 companies joined the Fit 4 Digital, Fit 4 Innovation and the new Fit 4 Sustainability programmes. Fit 4 Innovation was enriched with a new component, Fit 4 Innovation Healthtech Market, which is aimed at helping companies define their regulatory roadmap to obtain CE marking for their new and innovative medical devices. Luxinnovation also supported Luxembourg companies and research centres developing solutions for security and defence. In partnership with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence, the agency helped Luxembourg players integrate into the European defence value chain and apply for funding from the European Defence Agency and the European Defence Fund.
Luxinnovation supported 88 applications for national R&D, innovation and environmental protection grants. It also supported research centres and companies obtain no less than €74.78 million of funding from the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe.
During the year, 46 start-ups were launched with support from Luxinnovation, and 20 start-ups participated in the 12th edition of start-up acceleration programme Fit 4 Start. The agency identified and approached 257 international companies that might be interested in establishing a presence here and supported the incorporation of 16 international businesses in Luxembourg.
Stimulating digitalisation and sustainability
Luxinnovation is also a key player for supporting the digital transformation of the Luxembourg economy. The agency notably manages the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub (L-DIH), which facilitates the digital transformation of industry. A key activity in 2022 was the DIH ON TOUR event where the DIH team went to meet companies at their premises in nine different industrial zones across the country. The efforts in setting up the L-DIH were recently rewarded by the hub being formally recognised as a European Digital Innovation and thus joining the European-wide network of E-DIHs.
Helping companies become more sustainable through innovation is another agency priority. Luxinnovation set up the "Klimapakt fir Betriber" with the Klima-Agence, thus implementing a government initiative aimed at encouraging companies to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to providing support and access to funding to individual businesses, notably through its Fit 4 Sustainability programme, Luxinnovation is working with the Klima-Agence to lay out a catalogue of innovative and technical sustainable solutions for different types of companies, notably for the skilled crafts.
As part of its mission to identify innovation gaps and opportunities within the ecosystem that can lead to a more sustainable economy, Luxinnovation launched the e-Holzhaff digital timber trade platform in September 2022 and is currently running a pilot study in view of a deconstruction materials platform that could facilitate the recycling and reuse of products and materials from demolished buildings. Fostering such collaborative innovative projects, which will help our economy function in a more sustainable manner in an environment where resources need to be taken much better care of, has been a major focus of Luxinnovation's work throughout the year.
"One of the key features of our organisation is the close relationship we nurture with the companies that we support: we listen closely to them, fully apprehend the questions they raise and understand the difficulties they encounter," said Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation. "The solution we suggest takes account of their specific needs and the challenges they are facing. Together with our partners, we are proud to contribute to making Luxembourg's companies not only more competitive, but also more sustainable through innovation."
"We have been in contact with Luxinnovation since the very creation of SolarCleano in 2017," said Christophe Timmermans, CEO of SolarCleano. "Luxinnovation has helped us apply for several R&D and innovation subsidies from the Ministry of the Economy, providing invaluable input to the application process. The agency has also introduced us to new suppliers and partners through its excellent network. In addition, we have participated in the Fit 4 Digital programme to implement IT tools that make our organisation more efficient. We are really lucky to be able to benefit from this support."
Released by the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation