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Opening of the academic year: Awards for teachers and students

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Publié le vendredi 13 octobre 2017

Traditionally marking the start of the academic year, the “Séance de la Rentrée académique” introduced on Thursday 12 October its new concept: the “Teaching Awards” and the “Student Initiative Awards”, rewarding respectively two university teachers from each faculty, as well as students whose commitment stands out.

The ceremony was held with guests including Minister of Health Lydia Mutsch and Minister Delegate for Higher Education and Research Marc Hansen. Starting off in French, Prof. Ludwig Neyses, Vice-President for research and acting President of the University, thanked all the members of the University for their ongoing commitment to the institution and bearing with it through its difficult times.

Continuing in German, Prof. Neyses came back to what makes the University of Luxembourg unique, including a truly international environment and outstanding research capacity. This led him to sum up the areas of expertise that the University excels in:

  1. Health, driven by the Luxembourg Centre for System Biomedicine (LCSB), the life sciences research unit, the psychology and human development units, as well as the future Bachelor in medicine,
  2. Computer sciences, with the Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) and the computer sciences unit,
  3. Modelling science, which will be exploited through a new unit, and which will model processes in areas as materials sciences, economics, medicine,
  4. Materials sciences, a traditional strength of the country,
  5. Education with a focus on multilingual education,
  6. Contemporary and Digital History, driven by the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH),
  7. Law and finance,with a focus on European Law, embedded in Kirchberg campus in the midst of European and law institutions.

Watch the video of the event on the University's Facebook page or see the event photos:


Prof. Kristin Ingólfsdóttir, President/Rector Emerita of the University of Iceland, then took the floor to speak about the future of education in a revolutionary context: “Transforming education to meet technological challenges”.

The exponential growth and fusion of technologies means that borders between physical, digital and biological systems are continuously blurred. Our experiences in the past are no more an indicator of the future. We cannot be satisfied to analyze education in the past in order to be prepared for the future; we have to be proactive and step out of the comfort zone.

She describes the example of Finland – despite regularly topping rankings in education, the Finnish authorities have set in motion radical changes to their education system, “because the world is changing and we need to respond”.

Prof. Ingólfsdóttir illustrates her arguments with MOOC - Massive Open Online Courses. Based on collaborative platforms, they started in 2012 with the aim to open access to education and modernize teaching and research. Initially confronted to mixed reactions from many established institutions, MOOC gradually gained field, and although they will never replace personal communication and teaching, they are today deemed an innovative tool with great impact.

So what will be the strategy of the future for teaching and learning at the University of Luxembourg?

Moving on, Prof. Romain Martin, Vice-President for academic affairs, introduces the Teaching Awards. The awardees, selected by colleagues and students for their dedication to education, are:

  • For the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication, Dr Alex Salsmann (systems biology) and Prof. Pierre Kelsen (computer science)
  • For the Faculty of Law, Economy and Finance, Ms Fatima Chaouche (tax law) and Prof. Theoharry Grammatikos (corporate finance)
  • For the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, Prof. Michel Pauly (history) and Prof. Jean-Jacques Weber (English)

Watch the video to hear their thoughts:


However, the University also lives through its students and so the next award is handed to six representatives of the Junior Enterprise Association (JELux). The students launched the “Bridging the Gap Research Fair” in May 2017, during which students could present their research project, case studies or course projects, while receiving valuable insights and networking with high level guests.

The event is closed by Mr Marc Hansen, Minister Delegate for Higher Education and Research, congratulating the awardees and thanking the University community for their commitment and good work.


Photo copyrights: © University of Luxembourg / Michel Brumat

Photo caption: Mr Marc Hansen, Mrs Kristin Ingólfsdóttir, Mr Yves Elsen, Ms Kateryna Konoplova, Mr Nicholas Bahrich, Mr Yann Eckhardt, Ms Paola Hernandez, Prof. Romain Martin, Prof. Ludwig Neyses