With a thriving technology and materials industry, world-class research organisations, and a spate of large-scale infrastructure and construction projects, Luxembourg has become a regional centre in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and other hard sciences.
Since its emergence as a leader in mining, metallurgy, and steel production in the 19th and 20th centuries, Luxembourg has espoused the practical applications of hard sciences like chemistry, engineering, and geology. The country’s technological prowess expanded with materials manufacturing, particularly tyres for Goodyear beginning in the 1950s, and today includes expertise in plastics and other materials. The country’s proficiency in high-tech industries has only increased, and it’s home to tech giants such as SES, the world’s largest satellite operator, as well as global steel leader ArcelorMittal. Another field in which the country demonstrates competence is computer science and cyber technology, thanks in large part to the robust finance sector which relies on cutting-edge solutions. Steady population growth has also prompted massive infrastructure and building projects which show the country's adeptness with engineering and construction. All these industries have close working relationships with research organisations such as the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology (LIST).
Luxembourg is home to many high-tech companies that rely on research and the most recent innovations. These include steel giant ArcelorMittal, which is shifting towards greener means of steel production; Goodyear, which has both a large manufacturing plant in Luxembourg plus a sizable R&D facility; telecommunications giant SES, which currently has 70 satellites in orbit; and of course the nearly 140 banks in Luxembourg for whom data security is vital. The Grand Duchy is also home to manufacturing leaders in gas valves, injection moulding, adhesives, glass, plastic, and household cleaners. All of these companies recruit top experts in fields like chemistry, physics, materials sciences, computer engineering, and cyber security, and they both support and are supported by a young but robust public research community. Relevant research units at the University of Luxembourg and LIST include materials science, physics, computer science and ICT security, mathematics, civil engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, and communications engineering.
With a population growth rate that outpaces most other EU countries and places ever-increasing demands on housing, resources, and infrastructure, Luxembourg is showing a technical and economic keenness to respond to the changes. Major infrastructure projects include a sleek new tram that will connect major business districts with the centre and the airport, a motorway facilitating movement between the north and the south of the country, large-scale roadworks projects, and the creation of entirely new neighborhoods. The government is also investing heavily in cultural and leisure projects, including a magnificent new national library and a new stadium. These projects are also spurring upgrades to roads, railways, bridges, water treatment plants, electrical grids, and telecommunications networks. They’re drawing on the country’s strength in engineering fields like structural, surveying, transportation, electrical, urban, water resources, as well as ICT.
Population growth has been very noticeable in Luxembourg City and has resulted in years of considerable development. Exemplifying this is the Cloche d’Or and Ban de Gasperich districts that a few years ago were a mere cluster of offices yet are now an enormous business district with major shopping centres and thousands of residential units. Construction accounts for 11 percent of the workforce in Luxembourg and 5.4 percent of the economy, which in 2016 amounted to 9.3 billion euros. The continual growth has spawned initiatives including the Resource Centre for Technologies and Innovation in Construction (CRTI-B), which investigates training, standards, and methods, as well as NEOBUILD, which works with the industry to support and promote sustainability. Thanks to a thriving economy, Luxembourg has hundreds of construction projects going on all around the country, so much that residents often joke that the national bird is ‘the crane’. These projects often provide value not only for their utility, but also for their architectural merit, innovative construction techniques, and latest-generation materials that limit negative effects on the environment.