The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) focuses its research activities on IT, materials, space and environmental sciences. The mission-driven research and technology organisation works across the entire innovation chain, from fundamental and applied research to incubation and technology transfer. Its extensive cooperation with the private sector includes everything from service offers and bilateral cooperation projects to multiannual strategic research partnerships.

Supporting biotech innovation

Lucie Pfaltzgraff, LIST, supports biotech innovationIn 2019, LIST set up its GreenTech Innovation Centre, now renamed as the Sustainable Biotech Innovation Centre (SBIC), as an open innovation facility for the development of bio-based products and processes, new biorefinery concepts and new technologies for the detection and treatment of environmental pollution. “The SBIC was created to pool our capabilities in industrial and environmental biotechnology and conduct applied research in partnership with industry,” explains Partnership Officer Lucie Pfaltzgraff.

We specialise in tailor-made bioprocess development and scale-up as well as analyses for companies in Luxembourg and all over Europe.

The centre’s research topics span over areas such as bioprocess development using bioorganisms such as plant cell cultures and bacteria consortiums, water analysis and genome editing. It also performs transversal activities in the fields of life cycle assessment and environmental health assessment. State-of-the-art equipment includes mobile equipment making it possible to do onsite testing on biogas plants, for example, and a bioreactor park which will soon reach pre-industrialisation validation scale (300 l).

SBIC partners with start-ups and SMEs as well as with bigger corporations. Client companies work in fields such as food and feed ingredients, bioenergy and water treatment. “We specialise in tailor-made bioprocess development and scale-up as well as analyses for companies in Luxembourg and all over Europe,” Dr Pfaltzgraff points out. “We work, for example, with water treatment companies to help them enhance their technologies in order to valorise sludge. We can also produce bio-derived compounds that are used in cosmetics or as food additives.”

Relevant research to meet market needs

The partnerships help LIST ensure that it works on relevant and useful topics. “Working with industry provides us with the right type of intelligence to develop technologies that suit market needs,” comments Dr Pfaltzgraff. She compares this approach with the more classical way of performing blue-sky research, developing technologies to a certain degree and then waiting to see whether or not they will be taken up by the market. “Our partnerships make the process much more streamlined and smoother than traditional technology transfer, and we know that our work provides real added value to our partners.”

Photo: Luxinnovation/Luc Deflorenne