PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH, INNOVATION, YOUTH & SPORT: Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius attends the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Ministerial Conference held in Bratislava, Slovakia

Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport Chris Agius represented Malta at the recent European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Ministerial Conference held in Bratislava, Slovakia, on the 21-22 September. He was accompanied by Prof. Janet Mifsud, Malta COST member of Committee of Senior Officials, and COST national contact point.

COST has been a building block of Europe’s research world for nearly 50 years. It is an intergovernmental organisation, with 36 member states spanning the European continent. It funds networks across borders and often across scientific disciplines, interlinking nationally funded researchers and innovators. It has long been, and remains, the largest framework for transnational coordination in science and technology across Europe. Malta joined COST in 1996.

Since 2012 Malta has participated in a constantly growing number of running COST actions. In 2015, participants from Malta were involved in 157 COST actions, an increase of over 300% since 2011. COST stimulates the participation of Early Career Investigators (less than PhD + 8 years) in all its networking activities (meetings, workshops, STSM, Training Schools). In 2015, almost two thirds of participants from Malta were Early Career Investigators-ECI.

During his intervention, Parliamentary Secretary Agius stated how Malta recognises that COST is key to the process of enhancing the integration of all EU Member States into a European R&D ecosystem. COST has acted as an important stepping stone for Maltese academics to ‘break into’ established European R&I networks. This important programme complements national research as it ensures smart and sustainable investments in R&D at national and European scales. Moreover opportunities for early stage researchers, a key demographic, will thus contribute to continued growth, innovation, product development and commercialisation at Member State and EU-level.

He stated how Malta recognises that an ‘innovation gap’ exists within the EU. Malta thus strongly believes that measures are needed to continue enhancing the integration of all EU Member States to build a resilient European R&D ecosystem.

He then invited the delegations for the next COST meeting for the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) which will take place on 30th November and 1st December 2016 in Malta. COST in Malta is managed by the Malta Council for Science and Technology.

Source: Government of Malta