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Features 2012
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Maltese Pharmacy Student Quizzes President Barroso on the Nobel Peace Prize

On the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo where the EU was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its historic role in uniting the continent, President Jose’ Manuel Barroso invited Erasmus students to discuss with him the Nobel Peace Prize and the role of youth and education. A student was invited to represent each of the 27 EU member states and the 5 countries participating in the Erasmus programme namely, Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.  Most of the invited students are currently studying at universities in Oslo and others travelled from Sweden and Germany.  

Justine Chetcuti, a pharmacy student at the University of Malta who is currently studying, through the Erasmus programme, at the Pharmaceutical Institute at the University of Bonn, Germany, was invited to represent Maltese Erasmus students.  The meeting took place at the University of Oslo last week and was moderated by Isabelle Kumar from Euronews.  During this debate, each student had the opportunity to put forward a question to President Barroso regarding the EU’s economic, social and political scenario. Students aired their views and queried on the current employment situation, social unrest, as well as future prospects regarding peace and stability.

Justine put forward the question whether the EU was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, given the current turmoil. President Barroso responded by saying that the EU deserved the prize as "the European Union is the most successful project ever of transnational cooperation. Never in the history of mankind did we have 27 countries that decided freely to share sovereignty, to put their capacities together around the values of peace, freedom and democracy." He insisted that the EU was not the cause of the crisis but is rather the solution.

In the previous months, students were shocked with the news that the future of the Erasmus programme was in the balance, due to the consideration of a reduction/elimination in the budget allocated for its funding. President Barroso was asked to clarify the situation and was delighted to assure all that an agreement had been reached for the funding allocated to this programme and that it had a stable place in the EU’s long term budget. President Barroso wound up the debate by addressing issues related to the future of Europe, including EU enlargement and European political integration.

Justine is a fourth year pharmacy student who is currently undertaking an experiential module at the Pharmaceutical Institute at the University of Bonn. She is attached to the research group called 'Neuroallianz' which focuses on novel drugs for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Their partners in the industry include UCB Pharma GmbH and IBL International GmbH and they work with a budget of about €50M.
Justine is working in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry and is currently working on a project aimed at establishing an efficient synthetic route for a compound with anti-Parkinson properties. She is involved in preparing the necessary apparatus for the experiment.

Justine feels that her Erasmus experience has been a very positive one which has benefited her from both an academic and a personal point of view. The pharmaceutical industry is a field which Justine finds highly interesting, particularly the aspect of research and development.  “Positive feedback from pharmacy students who had been on an Erasmus mobility before me made me choose Bonn because of the great opportunities that are offered in the field of industrial pharmacy,” she said.


20 December 2012

University of Malta - Sultanate of Oman Collaboration

Omani students are now able to receive scholarships from the Omani Ministry of Higher Education in order to enroll for studies at the University of Malta. A Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration in Higher Education has recently signed between the Rector of the University of Malta, Professor Juanito Camilleri and the Hon Dr Rawya Saud Albusaidi, Minister of Higher Education of the Sultanate of Oman.  The signature of this document seals recently concluded arrangements which also foresee the development of joint collaboration projects and activities aimed at academic exchange and joint research.  The Rector also attended a number of meetings at Sultan Qaboos University, the University of Nizwa, the College of Applied Sciences in Nizwa and the Research Council during which various proposals were discussed.


The Minister of Higher Education, the Hon. Dr Rawya Saud Albusaidi and the Rector of the University of Malta, Professor Juanito Camilleri signing the Memorandum of Understanding in Muscat. 


19 December 2012

Ecumenical Service on Campus

Ecumenical Service
University of Malta, 11 December 2012
Christmas, a time for hope and healing
Fr Hector Scerri

On a Christmas card I just received, I was struck by the message:
'It’s the special gift of Christmas,
    the gift that means the most,
But it can’t be wrapped in ribbons
    and it can’t be sent by post;
it’s the special gift of Christmas
    for it plays the greatest part …
It’s love – the only Christmas gift
    you’ll find within your heart'.

Love is at the very heart of Christmas. The person who truly loves is the person who hopes. The person who truly loves is the person who is ready to offer a healing hand to one’s brothers and sisters. I am sure that all of us – indeed wounded healers – because we hope, hope in the healing of our wounds and the wounds of others. Do you feel responsible enough to do this?

As Christians – men and women of faith believing in the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery of our Lord – we are gifted with the virtue of hope. The great Polish churchman (Cardinal) Stefan Wyszynski once said: 'Hope is the most desirable of the virtues; it opens all doors; it is the virtue of tomorrow'. Because we hope, we look forward to a time of healing.

We – Christians belonging to different Traditions – share the same baptism. Baptism is bound to an affirmation of faith. Yet, at the same time, each Baptism is the beginning of a life-long process of healing. Moreover, each Baptism is an expression of hope in the future.

The mystery of Christmas we celebrate annually is the crystallization of hope and healing. As Christians, we are men and women who not only have received the virtue of hope from on high… we are called to sow seeds of hope wherever we go. As Christians, we have not only received the Lord’s healing touch… we, the wounded prophets of this age, are called to transmit to others the soothing-healing power of God. Do you feel responsible enough to do this?

Hope… Healing… Love… the Way… the Truth… Life…
Without the way, there is no going
Without the truth, there is no knowing
Without the life, there is no living:
He has made all the difference by becoming one of us.


12 December 2012

Malta Meets Germany in a Materials Engineering Student Visit

The Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (DMME), University of Malta, in collaboration with the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering at Clausthal University of Technology, organised an industrial visit to Germany. Students from both Universities participated. The visit was led by lecturers from the DMME (Ing. Ann Zammit, Dr Joseph Buhagiar and Dr Bertram Mallia) and Clausthal University of Technology (Dipl.-Ing. Ulrich Raab).  
The group first explored two companies in the vicinity of Cologne, Otto Fuchs KG in Meinerzhagen, which specialises in the forging of light-and nickel-alloys, and ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg, one of Europe's leading steel manufacturers. The studentswere shown around the companies’ manufacturing plants and research and development sections. The rest of the trip was centred around the town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld.

The students had the opportunity to visit Pleissner Guss GmbH in Herzberg am Harz, where the group was shown the sand casting process together with their computer modelling and non-destructive testing department. The group also went to Schunk Sinter Metals in Thale, where students could see parts being produced using the powder route. A tour of the company allowed the students to experience firsthand the state-of-the-art Metal Injection Moulding process.
At the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Wolfsburg, the students toured the VW assembly line and saw the newly released VW Golf Mark 7 being assembled. Outside of the plant the students and the lecturers test-drove the Golf blue-e-motion. This is an electric prototype which will be released in the market in 2014.  The students then visited the VW Autostadt where they took a tour through pavilions dedicated to various car manufacturers forming part of the Volkswagen automotive group, including VW, Bentley, Skoda, Lamborghini, Audi and Seat. The students were then able to unravel some of everyday life’s natural-scientific phenomena at the unique science centre, Phaeno.

The group was shown some of the laboratories at the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering and the Institute of Polymeric Materials and Plastics Engineering within the Clausthal University of Technology. The University of Malta students delivered presentations to Clausthal University students and staff. These talks combined the academic knowledge of the students on metallurgy and materials in relation to their experience on materials research, development and manufacturing gained during the industrial visits.  

These visits enabled the students to get a close look at various industries, observing technologies and procedures employed by leading manufacturing companies. The tours showed the students the importance of research and development in materials and processes that enable companies to remain competitive and at the forefront of technology. The students also benefited from extracurricular activities, including cultural and historical visits to the city of Goslar and the Rammelsberg mine and museum, both of which are World Heritage sites.

UoM students at Volkswagen
University students at VW, together with DMME lecturers Dr Buhagiar (third from left), Dr Mallia (fifth from left) and Ing. Zammit (seventh from left).


06 December 2012

First Time Ever for Diploma in Chinese

The first graduation ceremony for students of the Diploma in Chinese was held recently at the University of Malta.  This was the first time ever that students at the University of Malta could study Chinese at tertiary level.  The enthusiasm for learning the language and culture led a number of the successful Diploma graduates to proceeded directly to the 2nd year of the B.A. (Hons) course in Chinese. 

The course leading to Diploma in Chinese started in October 2010, once the Confucius Institute at the University of Malta had been established, whilst the B.A./B.A. (Hons) in Chinese was introduced at the University in 2012.

Both courses leading to the Diploma in Chinese and the B.A./B.A. (Hons) in Chinese are offered by the Confucius Institute through the Department of Oriental Studies, Faculty of Arts.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Malta started operating in October 2009 and held its official inaugural ceremony in October 2011. This Institute aims to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture amongst university students, school children, and the public at large.


06 December 2012

First Graduates from the e-Learning Degree for Health Care Professionals

B.Sc. (Hons) Health Science

The first cohort of students who pursued the online  B.Sc. (Hons) Health Science academic programme for health care professionals are graduating today, 3rd December.

55 health care professionals, including 53 nurses, 1 Dental Hygienist and 1 Physiotherapist are graduating from the University of Malta’s first undergraduate e-learning programme. From the 55 graduates, 43 chose to complete the programme over 3 years, whilst 12 chose to complete the programme in 2 years. The aim of the programme is to enable health care professionals to upgrade their traditional or diploma level professional qualification to a bachelor level academic qualification. This innovative programme has been designed, developed and implemented by academics in the Department of Nursing at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The programme is delivered in a blended manner with the majority of the learning taking place online using the University of Malta’s Virtual Learning Platform. The flexibility of the online learning together with the flexibility of the programme duration has enabled health care professionals who work a range of shifts across the seven days of the week, the possibility to continue with their personal and professional development, through this degree at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta.

The programme is offered every year, commencing in October. Further details are available online or telephone number +356 2340 1158.


03 December 2012

Sustainable Mobility in Malta: Transport Research in Practice

The Institute for Sustainable Development organized its first national conference entitled Sustainable Mobility in Malta: Transport Research in Practice on the 30 November 2012 at SmartCity Malta. The conference aimed at i) showcasing some of the interdisciplinary research which is undertaken in the field of transport ii) raising awareness of the importance and applicability of research in this important area of study, and iii) bringing together main stakeholders from Government and Industry to discuss potential areas of collaboration with University faculty and students.

The Conference included two international keynote speakers. Professor Stephen Ison from Loughborough University (UK) presented the international experience of road pricing, following also on Malta’s introduction of the Controlled Vehicular Access (CVA) system in Valletta in 2007. The second speaker, Professor Cathy Macharis from the Brussels Free University (Belgium) spoke about the future of electric mobility, a subject which is also very topical in Malta.

A list of speakers then presented their research in various areas of transport. The first topic was related to technology, where four speakers presented various methods of how technology supports transport infrastructures. In the second topic, related to policy and passenger transport, three speakers presented their research in the areas of air and public transport, and the performance of Park and Ride systems as a tool for demand management. Under the third topic which dealt with green transport, two speakers presented the impact of transport on air quality and the projects which are currently underway in view of the much awaited phenomena of e-mobility.

The conference also hosted Dr Christoph Demuth who presented the platform CONNECTBALTICA as a best practice framework which Malta and the Mediterranean Region could emulate for promoting collaboration and sharing of ideas in the area of transport.

The conference also hosted a good number of posters presenting transport related research being carried out mostly by post graduate students at the University of Malta. Topics varied from Green Travel Planning, to elderly, child and youth mobility, air pollution, modelling and transport software technologies, and sustainability.

The long list of participants showed a strong interest in this area, with participants coming from various Government departments, a varied mix of industry players and students that are particularly interested in pursuing their studies and careers in this sector.  

The Institute is looking at such events as opportunities to further bridge the gap between University research and industry and also to contribute more effectively to sustainable development by pursuing collaboration and research in areas which are part of the critical infrastructure of the islands and that play a key role in their future (sustainable) growth.

Such events, the Institute Director insisted, are a window on what really happens at the University of Malta and how university research can contribute to society. It is therefore a mission of the Institute to continue organizing such events in the future.

Speaking about this conference, SmartCity Malta country director, Suleiman Al Riyami said 'This event turned out to be a great success. The agenda was very compelling and many important issues were addressed and a variety of intriguing insights were shared.' Mr Al Riyami added, 'SmartCity Malta as a whole is designed in such a way as to promote a sustainable way of life. Our car park, for example, has implemented solar photovoltaic powered LED lights that achieve 100% energy savings and special reserved parking bays for low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles which are all located closest to the buildings entrances. It is a pleasure to see the Institute for Sustainable Development sharing the same vision and commitment as SmartCity Malta by actively promoting and encouraging sustainable living in Malta.'

The conference main sponsor was SmartCity Malta. Other sponsors of the event included the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, Transport Malta, ARRIVA, GeoSYS Ltd, TRAFFIKO Intelligent Transportation, KeyGroup BT Signaal, Mitsubishi MiEV, Touring Club Malta, The Chartered Institute for Transport and Logistics Malta, the Malta Council for Science and Technology, Pedal Power and Kamra tal-Periti

The conference proceedings will be published online after the conference. For further information please visit the conference website.


30 November 2012

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China on First Visit to University of Malta

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Cai Jinbiao, conducted an official visit to the University of Malta on Thursday 22 November 2012. During the meeting with the Rector, the Ambassador shared his belief that education was the element that featured most prominently in the historic relationship between Malta and China. The Ambassador and the Rector expressed their confidence that following the signature of the agreement for mutual recognition of qualifications between Malta and China, both countries will benefit from a wider movement of students and graduates. This will lead to more cultural understanding and stronger academic and economic ties. The Ambassador stated that Malta is definitely one of the best destinations for Chinese students and with the necessary promotion and support, Chinese students would certainly consider furthering their studies in Malta.

The Rector also briefed the Ambassador on a number of collaborative projects that are currently in the pipeline. These involve the University of Jiaotong, Fudan University and Shanghai Maritime University. Whilst continuously strengthening its relationship with Xiamen University, the University of Malta is also seeking to enhance its network of collaboration in China. The Ambassador called for the development of a strategic plan between Malta and China, replicating on the success that such concrete plans have had in China’s relations with the US and the EU. The strategy should focus on performing what was establised in official documents and agreements and maximizing on the potentials of both countries in jointly approaching projects in other areas of interest such as North Africa and the Middle East.

Seven students are currently reading Chinese for their BA programme. Twenty-one students are studying Chinese within the DegreePlus programme. Moreover, next week five other students will be receiving their Diploma in Chinese.  The Ambassador agreed that given the short span of time involved, the numbers are promising but more awareness needs to be created concerning the huge potential and importance the Chinese language has for fresh graduates as the number of Maltese speakers of Chinese is as yet very small.

A total of sixteen Chinese students is currently pursuing studies at the University of Malta at undergraduate and post-graduate level. The University currently also hosts four students from Xiamen University who are registered for a period of one semester or one full year of studies in various areas including Laws, Mathematics, Communications and Architecture.

During his visit to the University, the Ambassador also visited laboratories and research facilities in the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering. This was followed by a meeting with Chinese students currently pursuing studies at the University of Malta.

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China on First Visit to University of Malta
left to right: Dr Godfrey Grech, Mr Reno Calleja, Ambassador Cai Jinbiao, the Ambassador’s wife Mrs Wang Jianqun and Pro Rector Prof. Richard Muscat at the Biomedical Sciences Laboratory

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China on First Visit to University of Malta
Rector Prof. Juanito Camilleri greeting Ambassador Cai Jinbiao and Mrs Wang Jianqun


23 November 2012

Junior College Students Attend Meeting at Europe House (Malta)

A group of  Junior College students, accompanied by their lecturers, took part  in an interactive session entitled "Europe for Youth" hosted by Dr Peter Agius,  Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta. During the meeting, Dr Agius gave an overview of the general functions of the European Union institutions and in particular those of the European Parliament. Students were made aware of what being a "citizen of Europe" means, as well as who takes decisions on their behalf. A brief overview of future programmes available to students, such as the Erasmus programme, followed.

This session was part of a number of seminars targeting 'Junior College Students: Say Yes to Success! programme and is of special interest to students who will be participating in this year's Euroscola programme. The Euroscola programme is targeted towards the twenty seven member states of the European Union and provides a first hand experience to participating students who take the floor in plenary and committee sessions, and take part in debating and voting.

Please click here for further information.



22 November 2012

Verona Student Exchange 2012

A group of twenty four students from the University of Malta Junior College, recently took part in a Student Exchange programme with the Istituto Luigi Einaudi of Verona, Italy. Ms Boryana Chaneva, Eurocentre co-ordinator, and Ms Jacqueline Rotin, lecturer, accompanied the students.

During their visit, the Maltese group were hosted by Italian families, and attended various lectures with their Italian partners.Students were shown around a number of cultural sites such as Castelvecchio and the famous arena of Verona. Their itinerary also included Milan, city of fashion, where they visited Castello Sforzesco and the majestic Duomo. A trip to Lake Garda and the romantic and hectic city of Venice were also included.

Student exchanges are amongst the intercultural projects organised by the Eurocentre. They offer students a holistic experience which the Junior College promotes in its programme of studies.



22 November 2012


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