27 January 2005

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Maltese organisations rake in European research funding
• 50 Maltese organisations take home EUR4 million, Malta ranked first in funded projects per capita
By Michael Refalo MCST FP6 Unit, National SME Contact Point

The Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) has been running now for two years and Maltese participation has been very encouraging.
Between December 2002 and December 2004, 238 proposals with the involvement of at least one Maltese participant were submitted in all the areas covered by FP6. Of these proposals, 50 were funded by the European Commission, resulting in more than EUR4 million being raked in by Maltese organisations. The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), as the National Contact Point Organisation for FP6 in Malta, is very proud of these encouraging figures and the high response to the EU calls for proposals by Maltese partners.
Figures published by the European Commission show that, till June 2004, Malta was doing very well in its participation in FP6 when compared to the other Member States. Data obtained by the MCST shows that Malta ranks third in proposals submitted when population is taken into account. Slovenia and Cyprus rank first and second respectively. Moreover, Malta ranks first in funded projects per capita.
These funded projects vary in type and nature from research projects whose main objective is to create new knowledge to projects aimed at creating long-lasting networks of excellence.   Many organisations, including SMEs, are participating in small support actions that provide support to scientific activities and facilitate dissemination of good practices.
Successful Maltese partners in the funded projects constitute a broad spectrum of key players in the area of science, research and technology; these include partners from academia and other research institutes providing higher education, SMEs, NGOs, public bodies and private non-profit organisations. MCST is itself participating in 12 projects, acting as co-ordinator in one of them, for a total EU funding exceeding EUR600,000.   The University of Malta is participating in 14 projects whilst there are six different SMEs, five governmental bodies, three NGOs and two institutes involved in different projects.
Malta's impressive participation in the first half of FP6 shows a high level of interest from various different entities who are venturing out and investing in current research and technology needs. The millions of Euros received as EU grants from this programme will foster further research in major disciplines ranging from IT, to environment and innovating SMEs. FP6 has given further opportunity to Maltese researchers and industry to strengthen their research capacity and be part of European research together with other key players in Member States and Associated States.
So far, the Framework Programme is one of the best sources of research funds available to local entities, making it a means of achieving competitiveness and helping Malta towards becoming a knowledge-based economy. It is therefore crucial that the Malta Council for Science & Technology continues to support these organisations' participation in FP6 while preparing for the future challenges that the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme will bring at the end of 2006.

For further information on the Sixth Framework Programme, please consult www.cordis.lu . A list of all open calls is available at: http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/calls.cfm .   Details of FP6 success stories in Malta are available on the FP6 website www.fp6.org.mt .   To keep abreast of updates in your own area of research and to receive information of partner searches, local events and conferences, kindly register at our homepage.
Michael Refalo is part of the MCST team within the FP6 Unit and is also the National Contact Point for SMEs. He can be contacted at michael.refalo@mcst.org.mt  

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