With the end of the year approaching, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support and involvement in the Chamber’s initiatives and activities this year, in particular the Council members for their input and time which ensures that the Chamber continues to function as a stakeholder in the national science and R&D landscape.
At the start of 2022, the Chamber launched its new website, which brought the rebranding process that started the year before to an end. The website is continuously updated with news about the Chamber’s activities and events, press releases issued and now offers a smoother process for membership registration. As of next year, we will be synchronizing all memberships to start in January, with a complimentary year of membership being given to those of you who paid their membership after April 2022. This change will allow us to better keep track of our growing membership. I encourage those of you who have not yet picked up their membership card to contact our science officer, Ms Julia Curmi, to avail from the list of membership benefits.
Throughout this year, we have sought to engage with and listen to practising scientists in Malta, and have actively involved a number of them in our policy development. We have discussed aspects related to the scientific profession, including career opportunities and progression, accreditation and funding. We have also regularly met with policy and decision makers at ministerial level to push science and research to the top of the national agenda. We are presently in discussions with a number of science student organisations to reestablish a Junior Chamber of Scientists. This will help empower and give a voice to youth who are concerned about a number of issues, from the scientific profession to training and national issues where science and research can play an important role.
This year, the Chamber participated in the technical working group responsible for drafting the national Open Access policy, which seeks to promote open access and open research data in Malta. The Chamber is proud to support Xjenza Online, an open access scientific journal, which this year, under the editorship of Prof. Cristiana Sebu saw the publication of one regular issue and two special issues, with another regular issue coming up soon.
In terms of science communication and public engagement, the Chamber has continued and will continue to support and enable a number of activities focusing on bringing science to citizens, such as the Science in the City festival, Kids Dig Science, Malta Café Sci and CineXjenza, and we now also form part of the MCST STEM Engagement Working Group. These platforms have enabled us to put researchers, academics and teachers in touch with so many people, from all walks of life, to show them the importance of science in their daily lives and give them a taste of the excellent science and research that is being done here in Malta.
Finally, on the 2nd December 2022, the Chamber marked its 30th anniversary with a commemorative event at the Valletta Design Cluster, honouring its founding members. I was glad to see several of you in attendance and encourage you to attend future Chamber events to network with other scientists and discuss several issues related to the Chamber.
With best wishes for the festive season,
Dr Gianluca Valentino