On 24 January 2023, the FNR and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research officially presented the FNR funding instrument NCER – National Centres of Excellence in Research. Integrating the experiences of NCER-PD, the NCER pilot launched in 2015 in the area of Parkinson’s Disease. Two new NCER’s that will officially be launched in March 2023 were also outlined.
This programme is an important element in achieving the objectives of the national research and innovation strategy adopted by the Government in early 2020. It provides a structuring framework and a funding instrument for clustering research excellence around a mission of significant societal interest, encouraging, in line with the above-mentioned strategy, high-level transdisciplinary research and cross-sectoral collaboration.
This follows a NCER pilot project, the National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s disease (NCER-PD), which, since its launch in 2015, has become one of the internationally recognised examples of best scientific practice in its field, both in terms of the results and impact of the research and the way it is conducted, 4 NCER projects are planned for the period 2022-2025.
The first two projects, Clinnova, a project on digital health and personalised healthcare, and NCER-Fintech on digital technologies for finance, will be officially launched by March 2023.
While Clinnova is a joint project of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg in partnership with the Centre Hospitalier Luxembourg and the Robert Schuman Hospitals, NCER-Fintech is being carried out by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust of the University of Luxembourg and the Law and Finance Departments of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance.
Two more NCER projects are planned within the 2021-25 multi-annual contract between FNR and the government.
NCER projects are funded by the FNR on the basis of an independent international evaluation for a maximum period of eight years and thus represent long-term investments in national research priorities.
The maximum amount of funding for an NCER is EUR 15 million over 5-8 years. This is supplemented by variable own contributions from the research institutions. The lifetime of a centre is linked to its impact and usefulness in the field. When an NCER comes to an end, it is expected to be structurally anchored in its home institutions and can then make way for other future national centres of excellence.
The Clinnova and NCER-Fintech projects will be officially launched in March 2023 during two kick-off events – more information about the two projects will follow after their launch.