The Institute for Sustainable Development
The Institute for Sustainable Development was set up in 2009 to promote sustainability through the adoption of interdisciplinary research. The official launch was attended by the Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi on January 22, 2010. This new Institute makes the University of Malta more pertinent to the socio-economic development of our country, as it continues to reflect this specific direction, highlighting study programmes aimed at enhancing entrepreneurship and specialised capacity in the country and with projects that aim to bring together academic and non-academic information into one accessible map-based databank for use in policy decisions, research and business start ups.
The Institute for Sustainable Development will aim to use technologies, apply them to real world scenarios and subsequently encourage commercialisation, enterprise and business start-ups of the same research output. Its members had been involved in the drawing up of the first National Strategy for Sustainable Development. This experience and knowledge is being made available in the set up of the new National Commission for Sustainable Development and future strategies.
The Institute is governed by an interdisciplinary Board with members from various Faculties within the University of Malta and chaired by the Rector, Professor Juanito Camilleri whilst the Director and Vice-Chair of the Institute is Dr Maria Attard (Geography). The members of the Board include Pro-Rector Professor Richard Muscat, Professor Alex Torpiano (Built Environment), Dr John A. Schembri (Geography), Dr Gordon Cordina (Economics), Dr Ing. Saviour Zammit (ICT), Professor Simon Fabri (Engineering) and Dr Sandro Lanfranco (Environment).
The Institute seeks to collaborate with leading institutions in developing study programmes, postgraduate research and even initiatives such as the successful summer schools in Geographic Information Systems that have been running for the past two years. It focuses on the deployment of Information Technology, such as Geographic Information Systems to support decision making and strategy, whilst encouraging science and technology commercialisation to enhance infrastructures, productivity and entrepreneurship.
In looking at sustainable development the Institute aims at initiatives and research that enhance Malta’s quality of life. The Institute will also set up the infrastructure for policy-makers and researchers to be able to access previously unexplored data and to promote spatial thinking and encourage enterprise – thereby raising awareness of the importance of Geographic Information Systems as a decision support tool.
The Institute would like to work hand in hand not only with its postgraduate students but also with agencies to deliver not only research but effective tools to promote sustainability and improve quality of life. The Institute will no doubt reach out to a number of local stakeholders which will in time benefit from its expertise and services where it will reach out beyond our shores to strike strategic partnerships with international counterparts.
20 May 2013