Exploring megatrends at IASP Luxembourg 2023

15 September 2023
First image:
IASP Luxembourg 2023

The 40th IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation was successfully celebrated this month, after 4 exciting days full of knowledge sharing and vibrant social moments. Held at ECCL - European Convention Center Luxembourg on 12-15 September 2023, the conference gathered a diverse group of experts and practitioners who delivered plenary and breakout sessions, as well as focus talks surrounding the possible futures STPs and AOIs may encounter.

Hosted by IASP member Technoport, who also celebrated their 25th anniversary and their 15th anniversary as full member of our network, the event brought together attendees, speakers, and moderators from 55 different countries to discuss the different innovations and strategies used to address the effect global megatrends are having both on their community, and their industry. Speakers were able to present case-specific combinations of megatrends which prepare science parks, areas of innovation, and their managers, for a society-caring tech-based future.

Introduced by IASP CEO Ebba Lund, the opening ceremony started with Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy and Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, who addressed megatrends in the context of the Luxembourgish culture, economy, and future. Technoport CEO Diego De Biasio spoke on the growth of the company since their first IASP world conference in 2002 handing over to IASP President Herbert Chen who inaugurated the conference with a warm welcome speech where he addressed the importance of people, connections, and collaboration.

A highlight included the presentation made by Keynote Speaker Daria Krivonos from the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, which transported listeners to their childhood to showcase the impact every small decision can make, as we are “the only species on the planet that can imagine things that haven’t happened yet”. Later in the day, the IASP Innovation District Alliance was presented with coordinator Josep Pique, where founding members were introduced to the public.

The first plenary session served as an icebreaker for the knowledge-based programme that followed, where under the title “Megatrends: a melting pot of STP/AOI perspectives” speakers presented the effect of global megatrends on their innovation ecosystems, how they have encountered these changes and implementation schemes for others to learn from.

The programme continued with a focus on hydrogen as the energy for the future, as well as three breakout sessions which addressed key topics in our industry such as the ageing population, urban innovation districts, and entrepreneurial environments.

On day 2 attendees could pick and choose from 9 different breakout sessions and focus talks to create a personalised programme relevant to their STPs/AOIs' current and future situations. Topics discussed included food security, deeptech operations excellence, the industry’s energy transition and STP/AOI adaptation to the world today. Focus talks also ranged from sustainable steel from Sebastien Wiertz (Paul Wurth) to traditional businesses reinventing themselves by Plug and Play’s Laurens Vanryckeghem.

To end on a high note, delegates had a chance to learn more about how to create innovation spaces with the future in mind as well as on untapped talent, where we heard perspectives from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya on not only how to attract quality talent, but creating a diverse and safe space that both retains it and helps it grow.

Delegates enjoyed three nights of social events where they were able to visit historical landmarks in Luxembourg, such as the Philharmonie, or Belval steel mill, and not only disconnect after a long day of learning but continue networking in a more informal environment.

Youtube video html: