PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH, INNOVATION, YOUTH AND SPORT: MCST launches the Malta National Space Policy 2017

The Malta Council for Science and Technology launched the Malta National Space Policy 2017. This is the first space policy for the country. It aims to drive home the relevance of space applications to everyday life and to tangibly link space activities to benefits and applications which the average citizen makes use of on a regular basis. There are unfortunately several misconceptions around the term ‘space’, and the National Space Policy intends to enable a wider understanding of the subject. This groundwork is fundamental to build a solid ground for future activities. Indeed, Esplora, and particularly the planetarium together with the Universe exhibition, are excellent means for such dissemination of information and awareness-raising.

Nadine Castillo, Director Policy, Strategy and Programmes said that the aim of the policy is to better co-ordinate the activities currently being undertaken, as well as to present a common front om an EU and international level and to increase efficiency by avoiding any replication of work and effort. Castillo explained that the National Space Policy emphasises the downstream sector, which sector is thought to be better suited to Malta’s present (early) endeavours in space activities. Malta’s National Space Policy also identifies niche economic activities which the country should focus on. Castillo also referred to the cooperation agreement with the European Space Agency, which Malta has had for the past few years. Through this policy, Malta will seek to further strengthen the relationships both with the ESA and with other related European and international institutions.

In his address, the Chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said that through this policy, we set out how we want to better harness opportunities in space and make the most of them. Pullicino Orlando explained that this policy ties in well with the national R&I Strategy 2020 and that the two complement each other. He added that it is crucial that today we mark not only an accomplishment, a closure of a process, but also a beginning for the implementation phase of this policy. We do not want to simply have a document stored on a shelf, but to have a text that lays the foundations for more exploratory work in this area. He stressed that today should indeed be a new beginning for space policy in Malta.

Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport Chris Agius emphasised that the timing of the launch of this policy is highly opportune, because space has the potential to provide a horizontal dimension that supports all the priorities under the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, as well as providing a bridge at a political level between the ongoing initiatives at a European level and those at a national level. Chris Agius also spoke about the importance of education in space and the links between space and economic opportunities linked to our strengths. He spoke about ongoing discussions with investors interested in investing in Malta in this area. Chris Agius praised the collaborative spirit among all involved stakeholders in the preparation of the policy and urged them to continue working together to make a success of its implementation.

Source: Government of Malta