In its 2018 report, the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) under the Executive Chairmanship of Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, reported an increased number of initiatives related to its continued efforts to put Science and Technology at the forefront of the national agenda. MCST has striven to optimise its national funding programmes for research for the benefit of local researchers, as well as developing internationalisation opportunities through bilateral agreements and participation in EU programmes.
The government has shown its commitment to support Malta’s growth in the research and innovation (R&I) sector. Through the support of Honourable Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, MCST’s efforts are being reinforced. Malta’s economic growth permitted us to explore new opportunities. 2018 was, in fact, characterised by increased budgets. The Council has launched a €2 million fund exclusively dedicated to the Maltese space sector, which is supported by the European Space Agency and will operate until 2022. The €2.2 million Technology Development Programme Fund allocated to local researchers to subsidise R&I projects was another milestone.
Malta is set to remain a high-performing country within the European Union with a GDP growth of 4.8% anticipated by 2020. With the aim of formulating the new R&I Strategy, which will highlight Malta’s priorities in the sector beyond 2020, the Council kicked off a series of consultations with various key stakeholders to ensure that we foster the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.
Investments in R&I are crucial in guaranteeing that the country can compete globally with a knowledge-based economy. Esplora is inspiring our younger generations to pursue scientific careers. Statistics produced by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) indicate that by 2025 most job opportunities in Malta (around 26%) will be in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our Interactive Science Centre has been a catalyst in engaging the public in STEM. Through the different educational programmes offered to the schools and public, various areas in STEM werehighlighted and packaged into relevant, engaging, entertaining and everyday terms for awareness raising and upskilling. The latter has been done with the ultimate aim of fostering the personal growth, active citizenship and employability of our workforce.
With the government aiming to put R&I at the heart of the country’s economy, MCST said that it will continue to have a vital role in championing the sector.