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  • Romain Poulles

HE:AL Campus, The Future “Epicentre Of The National Health Strategy”

Luxembourg's tech media

Romain Poulles hopes that the HE:AL Campus can serve as a positive example for other future economic activity parks (Photo © Romain Poulles)

Plans for Luxembourg’s Health and Lifestyle Innovation, or HE:AL Campus were announced in autumn 2023. The site, which aims to be a regenerative site for increased collaboration among health sector players, will be located between the House of BioHealth and the future SüdSpidol of CHEM and the Cité des Sciences of Belval. Romain Poulles, one of its founding members, shares more on its development. 

Could you tell us more about the concept and mission of the HE:AL Campus?

The campus is a phygital (physical + digital) campus—a regenerative campus, first of all, dedicated in the broader sense to companies working in the health sector: innovative, data-driven companies, but also research as well. We’re focusing on startups as well as other scales of companies. We’re aiming for 150,000 to 200,000 m2, so it’ll be quite a large campus when it’s finished in 15 to 20 years. [There will also be] connections with the hospital sector—not only our direct future neighbour, the Südspidol, but it will be very important for [other] hospitals, and to the ecosystem as a whole. 

How is the initiative currently progressing? 

Last year, we developed the master plan, which has been approved by the authorities. This year, there’s the plan d’aménagement particulier [PAP, or special development plan], which is transposing the master plan into a local regulatory framework, and by the end of the year, we’ll plan the first buildings. And, in 2025, we’ll start building. 

Is there space specifically dedicated to startups?  

There will be room for startups, that is clear. We also have room for startups in the House of BioHealth already, and there’s still room available. We have a startup centre in the House of BioHealth 3 now, which is several hundred square metres. 

“We’ll also have a health economics academy on the campus… we can develop a campus where we attract new types of companies from all over the world and develop a new niche for Luxembourg.”ROMAIN POULLES, FOUNDING MEMBER OF HE:AL CAMPUS

Could you talk about any of the partners or investments to date? 

For the moment, there are two partners—Jean-Paul Scheuren and myself—and then, by next year, we’re aiming to have some more investors coming in to work on it. We don’t need any investors for the moment, but if we’re scaling up, then, of course, there’s a need for more investors to come in. 

How do you see the HE:AL Campus’ role in the ecosystem?

The HE:AL Campus is supposed to be the epicentre of the national health strategy. And obviously, with that large square metres to develop, it will be the physical epicentre. We try to connect the entire ecosystem. As far as I’m informed, there are about 150 companies in Luxembourg working in the health sector, so we try to connect them: not just physically, but also digitally. 

On the campus itself, there will be an events centre, meeting areas, and social functions, so hopefully, the whole ecosystem will connect digitally and also physically on the campus. 

What sort of site events do you anticipate? 

There will be a lot of site events. There will be an exhibition centre, and events centre, all that needs to be done so that people connect and businesses connect. And if they connect, they can thrive. Connection is key here. 

The campus will be very careful and almost car-free. That doesn’t mean that cars can’t come to the campus, but they’re not allowed to drive on the campus. That’s a bit different from a normal economic activity park. On this campus, everything is dedicated to health and well-being.

So it’s being developed from the ground up with mobility, but also sustainability in mind… 

There’s a lot of regeneration and adaptable architecture. We’ve developed a roadmap to net-zero. In 15 years, all our business, from the first building on, will be below 10 kg CO2 emissions per year, per m2. That’s a very, very low figure already, but we have a roadmap to go even to negative CO2 emissions with carbon capture [concepts]. It’s a healing working environment and regenerative campus. There are a lot of social infrastructures, with placemaking ideas, green plants and forest parks, wetlands that are connected to the campus, with buildings that are designed to be a material bank for the future, for reuse, modular buildings, long-life design… it’s all part of the master plan that’s already been approved by the authorities. 

I think we can really have a campus of the future, with the connection of people; and architecture that is regenerative, healing and positive for the environment and for people. I think we can really have a pilot for the future of economic activity parks. We’ll also have a health economics academy on the campus… we can develop a campus where we attract new types of companies from all over the world and develop a new niche for Luxembourg. People and residents of Luxembourg should benefit from that.

This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read the full digital version of the magazine on our website, here.

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