Institute for Advanced Studies: C²DH involved in an Audacity project with LuxTime

Institute of Advanced Studies
The University has just launched the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) with the aim to strengthen its interdisciplinary research. The IAS will act as a promoter to overcome boundaries between different scientific disciplines and sectors.

One of the funding instruments within the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Audacity instrument, funds collaborative projects at the forefront of interdisciplinary science, which have a distinctly exploratory and audacious character. The C²DH is involved in an Audacity project through LuxTime whose main objective is to explore the potential building a national platform ('Luxembourg Time Machine') that would allow to “dive” into the complex pasts of this country by using digital tools and data from many different disciplines and fields.

By building a digital dataset that will include information from three different fields and scientific perspectives, namely eco-hydrology, medicine and history, LuxTIME will be using a local case (the industrialization of Belval / Minette region) as a testbed for methodological and epistemological reflections on how to study the impact of environmental changes on the health of the local population in a long term perspective. In combining past evidence deriving from hydrological studies (containing information about water pollution, climate change, and topographic / geological transformations), medical records (describing desease patterns, mortality rates, social/psychological well-being), and history (archival sources documenting economic, social, political and cultural changes), LuxTIME will enable to study the past in completely new ways. By mixing 'contextual information' based on archival evidence with 'scientific evidence' deriving from chemical, biological, or medical investigations, the project explores new ground in interpreting “big data of the past” in a truly interdisciplinary setting. The Belval-case is meant to critically test the analytical potential of a multi-layered research design which – this is the mid-term ambition – be expanded into a national case study; that is the building of a real “Luxembourg Time Machine” including many different kind of data from many different kind of institutions.

The Luxembourg Time Machine project is a 'spin-off' of a large European research initiative (FET Flagship) called 'European Time Machine' of which the C²DH is one of the founding members. LuxTIME is led by the C²DH, the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).