In Malta, the political decision has been taken to establish a new ministry which is exclusively dedicated to research and innovation and the coordination of the post-COVID strategy. This is a clear message: that economic renewal has an intimate link with robust R&I investments.
This was stated by the Minister for Research, Innovation and Coordination of Post-Covid-19 Strategy Owen Bonnici who was speaking during a virtual meeting with Research Ministers in the European Union.
During his intervention, Minister Bonnici said that there is great value in a target-based approach to raise R&I levels in the European Research Area.
“However, the R&I investment targets should look at the broader economic circumstances of each Member State and seek to explore tailored solutions to their specific challenges. Therefore, we call for flexibility and sensitivity in the approach used,” Minister Bonnici said.
Minister Bonnici said that significant discrepancies in R&I levels continue to exist, with Member States with less developed capabilities only participating in 5.6% of the activities and instruments of Horizon 2020.
This shows that the Framework Programme is not designed to enhance the R&D performance of those Member States, he said. “The onset of the economic challenges induced by the COVID pandemic can only accentuate this reality,” Minister Bonnici explained.
He said that despite these challenges, enhanced R&D investments lie at the core of the public policy response to the COVID recovery. The twin transition towards a digital and green renewal cannot be achieved without an R&D-driven future-proofing of our economy, Minister Bonnici explained.
He said that Malta would like to see support from the European Commission that is tailor-made and curated to our specific R&I conditions, and our particular national ecosystem.