The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) in conjunction with the European Commission, recently organised a live online event to officially launch Horizon Europe in Malta, the largest Research and Innovation (R&I) programme in Europe.
Hon. Dr Owen Bonnici, Minister for Research, Innovation and Co-ordination of Post Covid-19 Strategy and Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, the Executive Chairman for MCST opened the event, with the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel providing a video address marking the start of the Horizon Europe programme in 2021.
Minister Bonnici said that such importance to R&I is also being echoed at national level through various decisions which were taken, including the creation of a new Ministry dedicated to Research and Innovation, the increase in the budget of the national Research and Innovation programme managed by MCST, and the investment in European partnerships and other national schemes managed by MCST aimed at increasing the participation of Maltese entities in Horizon Europe.
“The active participation of Maltese entities and researchers in the EU R&I programme will result in the creation of markets and jobs in Malta. Maltese participation will also attract the best talents to stay in Malta and others to come to Malta, whether as individual researchers or larger companies, to set up their Research, Development and Innovation Departments here,” said Minister Bonnici.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said that “Malta’s participation has increased over the years” which indicates that the importance of R&I is being recognised in Malta.
Succeeding Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe will set out to become the most ambitious R&I programme brought forward by the EU with a budget of 95.5 billion Euro. Ms Signe Ratso, Deputy Director for R&I at the European Commission, provided an overview of the Horizon Europe programme, outlining the three main pillars: Excellent Science, Global challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, and Innovative Europe. The programme, as outlined by Ms Ratso aims to promote excellence, provide valuable support to top researchers, and help innovators drive the systematic changes needed to ensure a green, healthy, and resilient Europe.
New instruments, such as Missions and Partnerships and the services of the National Contact Points (NCPs) were also presented during the event. NCPs can assist Maltese researchers and entities that are interested in participating in the new programme.
Alongside the launch of Horizon Europe, the winners of the Horizon 2020 Malta Awards were announced, recognising the efforts of Maltese beneficiaries that successfully participated in research and innovation projects within the previous R&I programme, Horizon 2020. The award for Best Innovative SME was awarded to BrianTrip, whilst the award for Best Impact on Health, Security or Smart Mobility Award was awarded to the company AcrossLimits for the project Bio2Excel Centre of Excellence for Computational Biomolecular Research. The Blue Award, awarding projects that were impactful in the field of marine sciences was awarded to the project Venture by Naval Architecture Services, whilst the Green Award was given to the project SIM4Nexus by Epsilon Malta for its impact on environmental sciences. The award for Best Promotion of STEM Award was awarded to ERA4STEM by Acrosslimits whilst the Best Technological Innovation Award was awarded to iFishIENCi by AquaBioTech Limited. Finally, Prof. Georgios N Yannakakis was awarded The Most Active Researcher Award for his success and active contribution to academic research within the Horizon 2020 programme in Malta.
For more information on Horizon Europe, the general public is invited to visit the webpage mcst.gov.mt