FNR NCER programme: Launch of National Centre of Excellence in Financial Technologies (NCER-FT)

Led by researchers from the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF), the NCER-FT implements a singular interdisciplinary research and innovation approach, combining expertise from technology, finance, and law. 

On 29 March 2023, the University of Luxembourg inaugurated the National Centre of Excellence in Financial Technologies (NCER-FT), with significant co-funding from the FNR and support from the ministries of Higher Education & Research, and Finance. The NCER-FT is an interdisciplinary initiative that focuses on the financial industry’s technological challenges and opportunities.

Left to right: Claude Meisch, Catherine Léglu, Arnaud Dupuy, Yuriko Backes, Marc Schiltz, Herwig Hofmann, Yves Le Traon

This interdisciplinary research approach remains rare in the world, but is essential for developing practical, sustainable solutions to the challenges of digitalization in finance. This new initiative will strengthen Luxembourg’s position as an innovative financial hub by attracting talents and providing world-class research and education for the sector in Luxembourg. The NCER-FT has been created with the co-financing of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), and with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Finance.  

Focus on four topics

The NCER-FT research roadmap focuses on four topics:

(1) new frontiers for digital and automated finance,

(2) regulatory technology (RegTech) and compliance by design,

(3) financial inclusion, as well as

(4) trust and security. 

The projects that make up the NCER-FT provide a framework to develop high quality research, novel ideas, products and services for the financial industry of tomorrow. By stimulating research with innovative approaches for the financial industry in Luxembourg, the relationship between the research ecosystem and the financial sector will deepen and increase in scope. The NCER-FT is dedicated to fostering the growth of digital finance in Luxembourg by leveraging advanced technologies. To this end, the initiative will strive to maintain an equilibrium between demand-driven research initiatives, real-world testing of research outcomes, and fundamental research endeavours that offer significant contributions towards long-term innovation.

ICT solutions that are secure, compliant, and trustworthy are a core component of the financial asset management and insurance sectors. SnT and FDEF bring together expertise in these topics, including cybersecurity, blockchain, decentralized finance, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, law, and finance. Together we will introduce exciting new directions for the financial industry to explore.” – Prof. Yves Le Traon, leader of the NCER-FT and vice-director of SnT.

14 interdisciplinary projects to be launched in first two years

To quick-start the initiative, 14 interdisciplinary projects are being launched in the ramp-up phase of two years. This ambitious, collaborative approach to research in financial technologies fosters a dynamic culture of technological innovation in Luxembourg’s strongest industry spanning actors from banking, asset management, insurance and Fintechs. 

The University of Luxembourg is looking to bring talent and ideas from around the world to the financial institutions of Luxembourg.Facilitating collaborations among all stakeholders with diverse expertise will expedite the development of this crucial national sector by introducing a varied knowledge base into the country.” – Prof. Jens Kreisel, Rector of the University.

I am confident that the NCER-FT has inspired, and will continue to inspire, the present and future generations of researchers in finance, computer science and law, at the University of Luxembourg and beyond, to think past their own horizon, and reach out to new knowledge frontiers.”, said Prof. Katalin Ligeti, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance.

“As a leading future-oriented international financial centre, Luxembourg must have a state-of-the-art research environment that can match its level of ambition. By focusing on cutting edge interdisciplinary research, the NCER-FT will play a key role in helping develop new talent in Luxembourg, support the competitiveness of our financial centre and strengthen our Fintech ecosystem to drive the digital transformation of the Luxembourg financial sector.” Yuriko Backes, Minister of Finance

“The NCER-FT fully aligns with the Luxembourg National Research and Innovation Strategy especially with its interdisciplinary projects anchored in cross-collaboration with SnT, FDEF and into the financial market, boosting 2 out of 4 research priority areas: the Industrial and Service Transformation as well as the 21st Century Education. It will reinforce the University’s mission and vision, expanding and reinforcing its science research areas, already well known for its excellence at an international level.” – Claude Meisch, minister for Higher Education and Research.

About the FNR’s NCER programme

The National Centres of Excellence in Research (NCER) programme provides a structuring framework and funding instrument to bundle research excellence around a mission of significant societal relevance by encouraging high-level transdisciplinary research and intersectoral collaboration. NCER projects should become internationally recognized examples of best scientific practice, both with regards to the outcomes and impact of research, as well as in the way research is carried out.

NCER project funding runs for a maximum of 8 years, and has two main phases, with a milestone-based evaluation between phase I and phase II. In addition, there is a mandatory INITIATE “pre-phase” (focusing on co-design of the project) as well as an optional post-NCER (focusing on further development of the domain and knowledge utilisation).

The maximum funding amount of a NCER is 12.1 MEUR.

Go to NCER programme page


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