The Luxembourg DIH (L-DIH)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How did the story of your Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) get started?

The origin is the Digitising Europe Industry initiative that Luxembourg joined at a very early stage. Luxembourg representatives, notably including the employers’ association FEDIL – The Voice of Luxembourg’s Industry, also participated in the European Commission’s first DIH action evaluation, and the idea of creating a DIH in Luxembourg was born.

The government decided to create the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub (L-DIH) to be hosted by Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency. The partnership of the hub also includes FEDIL, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the University of Luxembourg, the Chamber of Commerce and the Luxembourg National Research Fund.

Launched on 30 September 2019, the L-DIH aims at contributing to the development of a data-driven economy in Luxembourg. Its main focus is to accelerate the integration of Industry 4.0 digital technologies in industry, in line with the objectives of the EU’s programmes.

Could you describe your DIH ecosystem and its development policy?

The L-DIH core partners play an important role by providing strategic guidance and feedback related to the needs of industry and the market opportunities and challenges that they face. They also support the hub’s awareness raising activities on the importance of digital transformation and the crucial switch to Industry 4.0 that industrial and manufacturing companies need to embrace.

The L-DIH is a national platform bringing together the offer and demand related to Industry 4.0. This strengthens the ecosystem and allows companies that need skills, technologies and services related to digital transformation to connect with solution providers who are interested in showcasing what they can provide to meet the needs of the market.

We are also in contact with other European DIHs, in particular in the “Greater Region” that covers Luxembourg and its neighbouring regions in Belgium, France and Germany. This makes it possible to create networks and build a cross-border ecosystem of which the L-DIH is part.

What specific services does Luxinnovation HUB offer?

Our service portfolio consists of six main services aimed at supporting companies and giving them access to the hub’s core partners and extended network. Our service offering is fully aligned with Luxembourg’s strategy for data-driven innovation as well as with the European DIH recommendations.

  • Skills and training: We facilitate companies’ access to public research institutes and universities as well as private organisations that provide training courses on advanced digital skills. We will also help assess digital skill gaps on the market and provide input to design and launch necessary courses.
  • Access to European DIH networks: The L-DIH is already in contact with other European DIHs. We are eager to be part of the official EDIH network to be launched in 2021, as this will help companies to get access to support available on the wider European market and strengthen cross-border collaboration.
  • Awareness raising: The L-DIH organises and participates in various events in order to disseminate a culture of digital transformation and Industry 4.0. We have recently organised a series of webinars, the “L-DIH Talks”, which covered the full digital transformation journey.
  • Support to find funding: The hub supports both SMEs and large companies with getting access to national and European funding programmes. For this, we rely on the services and expertise of Luxinnovation. In some cases, the L-DIH also acts as a facilitator for companies looking for investment.
  • Innovation ecosystem and networking: Building an innovative environment is important to us. In addition to our national partnerships, our membership in DIHNET allows us to exchange and share best practices that we can use in our work with Luxembourg SMEs.
  • Test before invest: The L-DIH helps companies adapt various technologies through proofs of concept or pilot actions, especially in the fields of high performance computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Together with LIST and the University of Luxembourg, who offer their technical knowhow and expertise, we help companies embrace the digital transformation for long-life projects.

How many companies have been accompanied by the DIH on the base of the DIH services? Can you please provide a practical example of a case you supported?

Despite its young age and the COVID-19 crisis, the L-DIH has already helped seven industrial companies – both SMEs and large firms – with their move towards Industry 4.0. We helped them understand their needs and prioritise among them. We also supported some of them with putting together a roadmap, and connecting them to consultants and technology providers who could help. Most cases concerned smart factory solutions such as data analytics and monitoring, the use of the internet of things to extract data and the creation of “digital twins” for simulation purposes.

What is your vision of DIHs development in Europe? What could be the added value of Pan-European collaboration?

The DIHs have already proven their efficiency, as facilitators and as experts and providers of advice and technology. They have a role to play in the digital development of SMEs and large companies and in the revival of the European economy.

The Digital Europe programme offers a great opportunity to help the DIHs increase their capacities to support companies as well as the public sector. The programme will provide a concrete framework and help formalise the national selection of DIHs that represent each member state.

Luxembourg has a long tradition of cross-border collaboration, and the L-DIH is no exception. We want to increase our international exchange further, not least within the Greater Region that is home to numerous large, multinational companies that can benefit from Industry 4.0.

Did you receive any EU funds and, if so, how did you employ them?

The L-DIH is a partner of the DIH-world project that is receiving European funding. The project work kicked off in July 2020, and we will be involved in various activities over the coming two years.