Malta’s new innovation minister has confirmed he intends to set up a centre where the island’s researchers will be able to develop their ideas on a full-time basis.
Addressing Parliament this evening, Owen Bonnici said it’s not right that researchers have barely any options but to become lecturers if they want to make a living out of their work.
“Thank God for the University of Malta and MCAST, but just as we want to invest in research a those institutions, we must also speak of the need for full-time researchers,” he said.
“It’s a good thing to have researchers who also lecture, but we also need full-time researchers and a full-time research centre. Other countries have them but we’re still education driven, which leads to situations where research is often prompted by particular interests that the professor has when lecturing their subjects.”
“We need an academic column, a vocational research column, and an applied research column, composed of full-time researchers.”
Bonnici drew parallels with how he had, as Culture Minister, spearheaded the formation of the Valletta Design Cluster, where the capital’s old abattoir was transformed into a centre for the arts.
The minister also said banks must be “incentivised” to invest more in companies involved in research, noting that the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of SMEs have flagged access to finance as the number one problem faced by the country’s fledgling R&D sector.
He also suggested that funds generated by the controversial sale of citizenship should partially be used to incentivise researchers.
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