Implementation of the National R&I Strategic Plan 2007 - 2010
Since its launch in late 2006, MCST and other stakeholders have taken steps to implement several recommendations listed in the 2007-2010 Strategic Plan. Click on the following links to learn more.
This programme was set up in 2004 with the aim to build local capacity in R&I. The programme funds applied research projects, and over the years has evolved to support collaboration between academia and industry. More information on this Programme can be found here.
The National R&I Strategic Plan identifies value added manufacturing as a priority research area for Malta, and recommends the preparation of a dedicated R&I strategy for this sector. This work is presently being undertaken through ERDF funding.
The National R&I Strategic Plan 2007-2001 calls for the setting up of an appropriate supporting framework must to enable SMEs to innovate and flourish. Malta Enterprise is empowered by the Malta Enterprise Act to support the development of enterprise in Malta, and has developed a new set of incentives for the promotion and expansion of industry and the development of innovative enterprises. A number of these incentives provide support for companies to engage in R&D and innovation activities. Please click here for further information
Increasing the researcher population is an important pillar of the National R&I Policy. To this end, the Education Ministry set up the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme (MGSS) in 2006 with the aim of supporting further studies leading to master and doctoral degrees. Between 2008 and 2010, a total of 32 Master and PhD scholarships in S&T and ICT subjects were awarded through the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme. The total cost of these amounted to just over €580,000. Further information on MGSS can be accessed here.
In January 2009, the Education Ministry launched a €10 million scholarship scheme funded through the European Social Funds, to complement the MGSS. This Project, entitled ‘Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarships’ (STEPS) also provided support through scholarships for masters and doctoral studies, with a special emphasis on science and technology programmes of study. Between 2009 and 2010, a total of 140 Scholarships for Master and Doctorate studies in S&T and ICT fields were awarded under STEPS, at a total cost of over €2.6million. Further information on STEPS can be accessed here.
The National Research and Innovation Strategic Plan identified health as a priority area of research for Malta. To this end, the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) has embarked on the preparation of a National Health Research and Innovation Strategy and has set up a dedicated steering group to steer this process. The Steering Group is chaired by Dr Alec Lapira and its members include Dr Janet Mifsud, Prof Christian Scerri, Dr Gordon Cordina, Dr Nicholas Sammut, Dr Jennifer Cassingena Harper and Ms Ramona Saliba Scerri.
Work on the development of a thematic research and innovation strategy for the health sector was launched mid-2010. The overarching aims of the health R&I Strategy are:
- Sustainable Healthcare: to identify areas and opportunities for undertaking health research in processes, diagnostics, treatments and delivery of healthcare services with the objective of improving the effectiveness and efficiency in this area, and of achieving long-term sustainability;
- Research Strategy: to chart the way forward and identify areas where health research should be carried out in order to obtain maximum economic and social benefit;
- Action Plan: to identify possible actions and measures that will lead to increased levels of health research activity in Malta. To increase the potential for Maltese organisations and individuals for participating in EU funding programmes in the Health thematic area.
The Strategy aims to dovetail with related initiatives such as government’s plans for developing the healthcare sector and in particular plans for Mater Dei Hospital. This will be ensured through participation of relevant policy owners in drawing up the Strategy.
To this end, in January 2011, MCST launched a consultation process involving key experts and stakeholders in the area of health, including public authorities, the public and private health services, health industry representative bodies, academia and others. The aim of this consultation process was to identify specific niches and explore their potential for further research and growth. This consultation was undertaken through a qualitative survey which was disseminated to health professionals, industry, health professionals' association and other relevant stakeholders including doctors registered in Malta who presently live abroad. The consultation ran between January 5th and February 28th 2011.
The information obtained through the questionnaire will help with the planning of actions and projects which will sustain capacity building and smart specialization in niche areas of health research which are of particular relevance for Malta.
The National R&I Strategic Plan places great emphasis on the need for a culture change, with increased appreciation for the important role played by science and technology in everyday life and the resultant economic advantage from investments in research and development leading to innovation. Tomorrow’s researchers are today’ students, and to this end, the strategic plan calls for increased efforts to improve the perception of science among students and the general public. MCST is undertaking extensive work in this regard, and a dedicated unit within MCST was set u for this purpose. Further information on MCST’s work on science popularisation can be found here.