For he third consecutive year, a group of secondary school students, who had participated in the Malta Junior Science Olympiad, were awarded Go4Research summer internships at the Faculty of Science. During the summer months, the students were matched with research groups and worked on a wide range of interesting projects under the supervision of researchers and other academic members of staff. The student projects spanned over a range of topics from marine biology, to quantum cats and technologies, electromagnetism, plant ecology, chemistry, insect studies and bee keeping, physical oceanography and statistics and operations research.
The University of Malta’s Faculty of Science, in collaboration with the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes (DLAP) recently held the concluding seminar for the Go4Research Student Internship Programme in the Auditorium of the University of Malta’s Valletta Campus. The group of 19 students who completed the internship programme attended this event and received certificates of participation, including a student who interned with AquaBioTech. They also prepared and exhibited posters about their projects. For the first time, the HSBC Malta Foundation sponsored the Project Poster Award. Mr Anton A. Gatt presented the awards to the two winning project posters by Amber Dimech, Amy Chircop, Emily Farrugia and Julia Scerri under the supervision of Dr Sandro Lanfranco and Mia Gauci and Katryna Grech under the supervision of Prof. Aldo Drago, Dr Anthony Galea, Dr Adam Gauci and Ms Audrey Zammit.
Professor Sammut, Dean of the Faculty of Science, introduced the event and remarked that students graduating from the Faculty of Science are in high demand in all sectors of the economy. However, this leads to problems finding graduates willing to pursue research at a crucial time when the Faculty’s research groups are creating world-class research. Government funding for postgraduate students is presently inadequate and funding from industry is scarce.
Following Prof. Sammut’s brief address, the Director of DLAP, Mr Gaetano Bugeja, highlighted the various initiatives at all levels of formal schooling to encourage students to take up STEM subjects, and the encouraging numbers of students choosing Chemistry and Biology, despite the wider range of option subjects introduced.
A video clip highlighting the students’ experience was presented, followed by a panel discussion moderated by science communicator Danielle Martine Farrugia. The panel comprised four students: Emily Farrugia, Julianne Vella, Katryna Grech and Mia Gauci, along with two researchers, namely: Dr Fiona Sammut and Dr Adam Gauci who discussed the various skills and experiences acquired through the Go4Research internship programme participation.
Concluding addresses were delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Mr Mark A. Schapiro and Pro-Rector of Research and Knowledge Transfer Prof. Ing. Saviour Zammit. The Pro-Rector commended the students and emphasised that science is a fascinating discipline leading to a highly rewarding careers irrespective of the stage at which one stops, be it at undergraduate or postgraduate level if they decide to follow a course at the University of Malta. Mr Schapiro highlighted that everyone should have equal opportunities to follow a STEM career, regardless of gender, race or background. Furthermore, this also has a very powerful economic basis, as a society and the world cannot realise its full potential unless it empowers all of its members to participate