Becoming a Knowledge-Based Society
Research is the quest for new knowledge or know-how; it pushes forward the frontiers of human consciousness and cognition providing insights and options which are hitherto unavailable.
I believe that without research no society, particularly one which must evolve within challenging demographic constraints, can preserve a distinct identity and survive the test of time. In the past we have seen the role of the University of Malta in helping this island fortress emerge from colonization to achieve independence. Today as the southern-most frontier of the European Union, Malta has projected a vision of becoming a knowledge-based economy and society This means that tertiary education and particularly research and innovation must become key driving forces for Malta’s sustained socio-economic development.
In the context of globalization, it is important that Malta does not only present itself as an attractive location merely on the basis of life-style, relatively competitive labour and operational costs or advantageous fiscal provisions. The future of our industry, particularly as we seek to move up the value-chain must be principally centered on the availability of expertise and the flexibility and creativity of the workforce. Moreover, the staggering rate at which mankind is adapting technological innovation into modern-day lifestyles implies that the job market and skills required in the future will be, almost certainly, very different to even the most avant-garde projections. These facts imply that unless a country invests in a strong framework for indigenous research, in a milieu conducive to creativity and innovation, and in the ability to translate innovation into wealth and value creation then its status as an autonomous state with a distinct personality may be challenged by a modern-day form of colonialism – an intellectual colonialism leading to social and economic subservience.
This is why I am delighted to see Malta invest more in its intellectual capital under the aegis and with the support of the European Union. In demonstrating Malta’s capacity to conduct research at the leading edge, and by participating as peers in research partnerships and collaborations with world-class counterparts, the University of Malta continues to play a central role in securing Malta’s future, as it has done in centuries past.
Participating in the SERI Fair 2009, together with other important stakeholders from Malta, helps us to showcase our achievements, and to forge links with SMEs and other universities in Europe.
(Malta R&D brochure, SERI Fair, Paris 2009)
20 May 2013