Malta must act now to bring science within everyone’s reach, raise the next generation of problem solvers, support Maltese research at every level, and invest in RD&I for a high-value sustainable economy. The Malta Chamber of Scientists is concerned that science is not being given its due importance in Malta. This document outlines an inclusive vision for a cohesive science policy that will impact positively across the Maltese economy and will help ensure its continued prosperity. By identifying key issues and proposing solutions, this document provides a blueprint for the future of science in Malta.
Small economies must be forward-looking, taking advantage of new opportunities and identifying niche markets that give them an edge over larger competitors. The current Maltese economy is benefitting greatly from investment in its tailor-made legislation and information-technology infrastructure made since the early 1990s. This has helped
make Malta an attractive jurisdiction for businesses in the information and communications technology sector. Future growth depends on similarly converting the new challenges arising from climate change, from the shift to a globalised electronic economy, and from the emergence of new technologies, into new opportunities.
Underlying all these developments is an increasingly complex scientific and technological framework. Lack of for-ward -looking investment risks jeopardising the future of the Maltese economy. The low scientific performance of young adults following compulsory formal education results in a workforce ill -suited for the economy of the 21″ century. Policy divorced from critical and rational scientific thinking creates unnecessary divisions and fuels unsustainable economic bubbles.
The framework provided in this document is split into four vertical pillars:
- Public engagement, the first pillar, is necessary to inspire an appreciation of the importance of science in different segments of the public, from schoolchildren through to business leaders and policymakers.
- Education is a second pillar of our framework; we lament the poor grasp of science many school-leavers have, and provide ways in which this situation can be improved.
- Research, our third pillar, is the corner-stone of science and a key part of the economic motor; without research,new scientific discoveries would not be made, and economic stagnation virtually assured.
- National investment in the knowledge-based economy through targeted strategies, our fourth pillar, will counter the disincentives faced by Maltese researchers in public and private entities, and help encourage a stronger, knowledge-based economy resilient to the challenges of the future.
Tying these three pillars together are three cross -cutting horizontal targets. (i) An informed democracy, without which policymakers cannot be held to account and populist decisions taken rather than correct ones. (ii) Scientific excellence, through which Malta will not only be consuming technologies but also responsible for producing them. (iii) Economic growth results from a highly educated, scientifically- literate workforce with access to all the necessary mechanisms for creating ideas, nurturing them, and taking them from the laboratory to the marketplace.