When joining Luxinnovation in September 2015, Barbara Grau not only brought her skills but also a soft accent from Spain. Born in Valencia and holder of a Master’s degree in financial engineering from Marseille, she started her career with one of the “big four” in Barcelona and specialised in supporting companies applying for state aid and tax incentives for R&D.
In 2009, Barbara followed her partner and left the Iberian Peninsula for Luxembourg. “The first winter was a bit difficult, but I don’t regret my choice at all. Once you live here, you get used to it! Now when I go back to Spain, I almost feel like a tourist.”
For nearly six years, she worked in the financial department of Performance Fibres in Bascharage. However, as the company prepared to cease operations in Luxembourg, Barbara anticipated the closure of the site and left to join Luxinnovation. “I had met representatives of the agency and found that some of its activities corresponded to what I did in Spain, but this time on the public side.”
As member of the Corporate R&D and Innovation Support team, Barbara carries out due diligence, identifies the innovation potential of companies and advises on relevant subsidies. “I have a financial background, but I also understand the technical aspects of a project. My technical engineer colleagues are also able to look into the financial side.”
Barbara and her colleagues work closely and effectively with the clusters and the international business development team. “We also facilitate cooperation between companies to help them get access to expertise that they don’t have internally. In the end, when an application is submitted to the ministry, the preparation is such that the success rate is really very high.”
With a passion for learning languages, Barbara has started the process of becoming a Luxembourgish citizen. She really appreciates the multicultural environment that surrounds her and her family. “My two children already speak four languages. We are incredibly lucky to be able to experience this.”
This article was originally published in Luxinnovation’s Annual Report 2018.