Letter from
Prof. Björn Ottersten
Founding Director of SnT

After 15 years as SnT’s Director, it’s with great pride that I reflect on the development of SnT during these years. When created back in 2009, we set our sights on achieving scientific excellence and impact – a simple yet effective strategy that continues to this day. Now, as I pass the baton on to Prof. Yves Le Traon as incoming director, it is the moment to focus on the strengths of the centre and the context that shaped what it has become.  


Luxembourg has provided an extraordinary environment to develop a research centre like ours. The government’s support of our research initiatives that was channelled through the University, several Ministries, and FNR has made it possible to create the internationally competitive centre that SnT has become. Support was widespread though, with the private sector embracing our model to deliver research-driven innovations implemented through the SnT Partnership Programme. This, combined with the entrepreneurial “start-up” spirit of the University of Luxembourg, has provided us with the autonomy, freedom and support, to allow SnT to thrive well beyond my expectations.    


However, the most important success factor at SnT is the people. In my time as a researcher, I have worked with teams in countries across the world, but never with such a hard-working, dedicated, and diverse team. Our diversity and shared goals create a harmony that allows us to work efficiently together. Thereby, we become effective in our interactions with industry, public entities, and international networks. I strongly believe this is the reason why our ideas are at the scientific frontier, and of high relevance in the world today.   


We ended our first year in 2009 with 27 employees, and closed out 2023 with 505, from close to 70 nationalities. I have enduring gratitude for each of these team member’s (and some 500 former members’) dedication, and for always helping us to go above and beyond in our achievements. Every area – from our scientists and management team to our Technology Transfer Office and support functions – is integral to the success of SnT.  


This past year specifically has been no less memorable than the first, with the launch of two significant achievements book-ending the year. First, in March we inaugurated the National Centre of Excellence in Financial Technologies (NCER-FT), a joint initiative with the FDEF that began under the leadership of Prof. Le Traon. This NCER-FT is one of a handful of NCER initiatives from the FNR, underlining the strength of the support for SnT from Luxembourg’s ecosystem. Following a number of exciting new partnerships with established organisations such as STATEC, Gulliver, as well as a start-up founded by SnT and Uni alumni, Zortify, we headed towards the end of the year going from strength to strength. We closed out 2023 with the launch of the Competence Hub in Research in Cybersecurity and Cyber Defence (CyberHub) together with the FSTM through a partnership with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence.  


2023 has allowed me to step down on a high note, and looking forward I am pleased to be handing over the directorship to one of the first faculty members at SnT. Prof. Le Traon has been crucial in building our strength in software engineering, recruiting top talent, and launching key projects. He has also been instrumental in establishing our strong competence in the FinTech domain. In addition to being an outstanding scientist and leader, he has been committed to SnT’s values and its people from the very beginning. As I embark in my new role as a faculty member, I look forward to seeing SnT continue to succeed under the strong leadership of Yves.


Björn Ottersten  


Letter from
Prof. Yves Le Traon
Incoming Director of SnT

Yves Le Traon

As I begin my new role as director of SnT as of January 2024 I note how the responsibility of the very first director handover of the centre is in my care. 


As founding director Björn Ottersten has given so much to SnT, his achievements over these past 15 years have been remarkable. Our centre has experienced outstanding growth under his leadership, and achieved both scientific excellence, as well as impact for society, a crucial topic for Björn. Research with an impact has become a mantra for SnT and its community, shaping it into what it is today and fostering a common vision that I sincerely thank him for creating.  


With the many strengths of our centre, the solid foundations Björn has laid, and the talents that are onboard, I embark in my role as a steward of this team with responsibility and clarity on our priorities.


Björn’s focus has consistently been the people that make this institution what it is today and I share that commitment to building excellent teams. Moving forward, SnT now has the maturity to begin looking further and further outward, broadening the scope of the way we define our teams. Interdisciplinarity has always been one of our core values, and 2023 is a defining year for how we approach this in a more intensive way. First through the launch of the National Centre of Excellence in Financial Technologies with the FDEF and then the Competence Hub in Research in Cybersecurity and Cyber Defence with the FSTM, we are building stronger research ties within our own university. In 2024 and beyond we will be looking to do so within Luxembourg as a whole. The country benefits when the research community of Luxembourg works towards a common vision and we are fortunate that the whole community is looking to advance existing connections.  


This holds true for our industrial partnership programme as well, where we will be looking to strengthen the research collaborations we have and solidify the teams in their long-term work together. The recently announced project with BGL BNP Paribas exemplifies this approach, as it builds on our years of work together to initiate a new cutting-edge scientific project around AI and finance. Research with impact continues to be our guide, and our industrial partnerships make this a reality; both in ensuring our research meets the needs of the economy and society, but also in making innovative concepts a reality through our work with industry and the public sector. 


Björn recently said that his years leading SnT have been the most professionally fulfilling in his life and I believe this is clearly visible from the strength of SnT today. As I embark on my own journey in this position, I am looking forward to experiencing the same, as I believe that every caretaker role generates deep fulfillment through execution. I am honoured to lead such a committed team of people and engaged community at large. 

Yves Le Traon