Malta gets its first space fund worth €2 million

Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation Silvio Schembri launched the National Space Fund for projects that use satellite imagery to better approach Malta’s challenges

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri launched a €2 million National Space Fund which will help shape a relatively new economic activity
Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri launched a €2 million National Space Fund which will help shape a relatively new economic activity

Believe it or not, Malta has a fledgling space sector – and a new €2 million National Space Fund will act as a “modest start” to its capacity-building, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation Silvio Schembri said.

The fund, which will operate between 2018 and 2022, is the first of its kind on the island, and will specifically target projects dealing with the processing of data collected through Earth Observation satellites.

The fund  is a national initiative supported by the European Space Agency, and will offer grants for 20-month research projects on the basis of yearly competitive calls. It will provide financial support for research, development, and innovation in the downstream space sector

Schembri explained that the fund would support the competitiveness of Maltese industry as a new economic activity, adding that it would stimulate national innovation and research while fostering international cooperation.

Shortly after the launch of the fund, a Space Education Programme will follow in order to educate and foster interest among young students, the junior minister said.

“As beneficiaries of the new research programme, Maltese public, private, research, and academic entities now have the opportunity and the funds to truly explore the potential harboured by satellite data over a large number of thematic areas,” the Executive Chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said on Monday.

Projects which will benefit from the fund would help with making decisions on land use, planning better road infrastructure, protecting the environment, and tackling illegal immigration and emergencies, among others.

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