In the presence of the country's scientific community, the National Research Fund presented seven awards rewarding excellence in the fields of research, innovation and scientific mediation.
Focus on microbiology
For the 9th edition of the FNR Awards, the prizes, each consisting of €5,000, were presented in the following categories: 'Excellent scientific publication', 'Excellent doctoral thesis', 'Excellent promotion of science to the general public', and in the new category 'Excellent innovation focused on research'.
This year, four of the seven prizes were awarded to microbiology researchers. This really highlights the concerted efforts of Luxembourg's scientific community in this field of research. The three other prizewinners are scientists, teachers and entrepreneurs in the fields of archaeology, renewable energy and artificial intelligence.
The 'Excellent doctoral thesis' prize was awarded to the Luxembourg archaeologist Esther Breithofffor her 'particularly innovative, poetic and proactive' dissertation on the Chaco War (1932-1935).
The 'Excellent promotion of science to the general public' awards were presented to the teachers Guy Putz and Will Reiter for their commitment to the 'Windmobile' project, to the microbiologist Christian Penny from the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) for his 'Microbiology for everyone' project and for his support of the student Camilla Hurst during the 'Jonk Fuerscher' (Young Scientists) competition.
In the 'Excellent scientific publication' category, a prize was awarded to Mahesh Desai, a microbiologist analysing beneficial bacteria in the intestine ('A dietary fiber-deprived gut microbiota degrades the colonic mucus barrier and enhances pathogen susceptibility') at the Luxembourg Institute of Health. The second prize in this category was presented to Pranjul Shah and Paul Wilmes from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine at the University of Luxembourg for their article on an artificial model of human intestines ('A microfluidics-based in vitro model of the gastrointestinal human-microbe interface').
Pranjul Shah and Paul Wilmes were also prizewinners in the 'Excellent innovation focused on research' category for their artificial model of intestines, 'HuMiX', along with Pouyan Ziafati from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University Luxembourg, who was congratulated for the creation of his socially assistive robot 'QT'.
Additional funding to fuel innovation
The FNR Awards 2017 were presented by the Minister for Higher Education and Research Marc Hansen, who took this opportunity to announce an additional investment of €205 million in public research institutions over the next four years.
(Article written by the editorial team of the luxembourg.lu portal)