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Publication: The International Critical Pedagogy Reader

intcriticalpedagogybookThe International Critical Pedagogy Reader, edited by Professors Antonia Darder (Loyola Maramount University, LA), Peter Mayo (University of Malta) and João Paraskeva (University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth) has just been published in both its hardback cover and paperback forms. It contains chapters on critical pedagogy by a host of established scholars such as Zygmunt Bauman, Maria Paula Menesas, Nur Masalha, Vanessa de Oliveira, George Sefa Dei, Ana Sanchez Bello, Alicia de Alba, Ramon Flecha, Gert Biesta, Marta Soler and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, to name but a few. The full list can be viewed through this weblink

The blurb for the book reads: “Carefully curated to highlight research from more than twenty countries, the International Critical Pedagogy Reader introduces the ways the educational phenomenon that is critical pedagogy are being reinvented and reframed around the world. A collection of essays from both historical and contemporary thinkers coupled with original essays, introduce this school of thought and approach it from a wide variety of cultural, social, and political perspectives. Academics from South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and North America describe critical pedagogy’s political, ideological, and intellectual foundations, tracing its international evolution and unveiling how key scholars address similar educational challenges in diverse national contexts. Each section links theory to critical classroom practices and includes a list of sources for further reading to expand upon the selections offered in this volume. A robust collection, this reader is a crucial text for teaching and understanding critical pedagogy on a truly international level.”

The volume also contains reading lists for different aspects of the field which include work by University academics such as Professor Ronald G Sultana, Professor Carmel Borg, Professor Mary Darmanin and Dr Maria Pisani. It was selected as Book of the Month for August by Routledge.

This is Professor Peter Mayo’s third book with Routledge. In 2010 he published his edited volume Education in Small States and, in April this year, he published his single authored Hegemony and Education under Neoliberalism. Insights from Gramsci.  

Professor Carmel Borg, from the Department of Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education, University of Malta, wrote one of the endorsements for the book appearing on the back cover: “This reader is destined to become a pivotal book in critical pedagogy. It will reshape the field by extending critical pedagogy’s geography and issues. A must-read for educators committed to decolonizing pedagogy."

Other endorsements included that by Donaldo P. Macedo, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Education, University of Massachusetts Boston who wrote: "The brilliance of the International Critical Pedagogy Reader is its audacity to de-colonize the taken for granted 'Center-Periphery' exporting model of critical pedagogy—creating, instead, a powerful place for subaltern voices to be heard. This comprehensive, illuminating, and timely edited book re-inserts the centrality of both the 'critical' and political coherence, remaining loyal to principles of liberation and emancipation. The International Critical Pedagogy Reader makes it powerfully clear that critical pedagogy is a way of life that does not require courage to be critical but simply demands coherence, humility, and ethics." 


29 September 2015

Publication: 'Star Trek: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Theory and Practice'

Star Trek: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Theory and Practice is a wonderful illustration of the well-known declamation ‘To boldly go where no man has gone before.’ It explores various intersections between the humanities and the sciences in Star Trek, with a wide range of topics, including architecture, medical and ethical concepts. This eclectic collection of essays feature topics such as ‘The Relevance of Star Trek in the Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Science Fiction,’ ‘Ethical Issues in Reproduction in the Star Trek Series,’ ‘Sentient Creatures in the Star Trek Universe to name but a few. These essays form the proceedings of a Star Trek Symposium held in Malta in 2014. Delegates and speakers worldwide came together from varied fields of medicine, nursing, humanities and architecture providing a rich and innovative interpretation of Star Trek and science fiction in general. To the writers’ knowledge, this was the first international academic symposium dealing exclusively with Star Trek. This book aims to reach and appeal to both academics from various disciplines as well as to science fiction lovers with a penchant for Star Trek

The organizing team will not stop here. With a Science Fiction Symposium held after the very successful Star Trek event, the authors intend to publish the proceedings of this symposium as well. Submitted abstracts were encouraged to explore and present contemporary issues in medicine, science and technology as well as philosophical and sociological issues relating to the Humanities, with a specific focus and a direct correlation to science fiction. 

2016 also marks the 50th anniversary from the launch of Star Trek: The Original Series, thus creating the need to prepare for another Star Trek event which will be held on 15 and 16 July, 2016. The organizers are inviting academics to send in their abstracts. The proceedings of these events when published will yield an interesting book series.  

This book is available on Amazon. One can also order a copy directly from MaltaSciFi Facebook page or send an email on

Further information on these symposia is found on Sci-Fi Symposium, Star Trek Symposium and Sci-Fi Malta.


29 September 2015

Dr Nathaniel Massa at Global Innovation Index 2015 launch


The Right Honourable Dame Lucy Neville-Ross 

Dr Nathaniel Massa from the Department of Management, FEMA, University of Malta, was invited to the launch of the Global Innovation Index 2015, at Westminster, London.  This, also in connection with a research initiative Massa is currently involved in together with research colleagues locally and at State University of New York (SUNY).

An established authority in its 8th edition, this global index is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  Expertise and attendees included members from research institutions and innovation centres, consulting firms, government, and policy agencies. The Right Honourable Dame Lucy Neville-Ross, UK Minister for Intellectual Property and Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, gave the opening address.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation, providing a tool that can assist innovation actors and policy towards promoting long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth. Continually evaluating innovation factors, it provides a database of detailed metrics for 141 economies, representing 95% of the world’s population and 98% of global GDP.

This year’s index report theme was ‘Effective Innovation Policies for Development’. It looked at ways that emerging economy policymakers can engage to boost innovation and spur growth by building on local strengths in traditional sectors - towards fostering development of a sound innovation environment. 

The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results. The index strives to account for, and better understand, the human aspects behind innovation.  Taking into account both innovation inputs as well as outputs, the index includes indicators that go beyond traditional measures of innovation such as the level of research and development.


25 September 2015

University Research Trust brings Mobile Dental Clinic to localities


The Mobile Dental Clinic will be collecting information for an oral health survey across Malta and Gozo 

The Mobile Dental Clinic, set up by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the University of Malta with the funds raised through the University’s Research Trust (RIDT), will be visiting various localities across Malta and Gozo. The aim of this novel community project is to reach out to all sectors of society, including schools and the elderly offering screening and advice, and to conduct a national survey on oral health. 

This was announced today by the Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery Professor Nikolai Attard, in the presence of the Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo, Rector Professor Juanito Camilleri, RIDT CEO Wilfred Kenely, Faculty members, and officials from corporate sponsors.

Prof Attard said: “The Mobile Dental Clinic will be visiting schools to educate the young through prevention programmes so as to bring about a change in our future generations and to promote better oral health overall. Visitors to Science in the City on Friday will have the opportunity to receive a free dental check-up.”

The dentistry team, led by Dr Gabriella Gatt, will be collecting fresh epidemiological data relating to the Maltese population as part of the National Oral Health survey through the University of Malta research grants and in collaboration with the Dental Public Health Unit of the Superintendence of Public Health. The list of people is generated scientifically, and will be a random sample depending on the age category. Participants receiving communication to participate in the oral health survey are urged to accept and contribute towards this scientific research while benefitting from a free dental screening.   

Dr Gabriella Gatt said: “Although we cannot reveal all the results prior to their publication, one can say that the survey is indicating that one third (31%) of 3 year olds are already at risk of having dental caries. Moreover, 41% of these 3 year olds are overweight or obese and 70% of these are already showing signs of tooth erosion, with 10% of them having severe erosions. Another published study shows that institutionalised older adults suffer from poor oral health and consequently require a high level of treatment. This poses more cultural challenges to be addressed by the dental community,” explained Dr Gatt.

The Mobile Dental Clinic is fitted with modern facilities and is manned by staff members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery together with students reading the different courses offered by the Faculty. Patients requiring further dental treatment will be referred to the appropriate clinics.

The clinic will provide further education through training undergraduate dental professionals in delivering care to diverse segments of society in a non-traditional setting. It will help the Faculty collect epidemiological data which will be of value to various stakeholders. 

The Mobile Dental Clinic forms part of University’s health outreach programme and is supported by GlaxoSmithKline (Malta) Ltd, Cherubino Ltd, Suratek Ltd, Bart Enterprises, the Good Causes Fund, Prohealth Ltd, Express Group and Rahuma International Ltd. 


23 September 2015

Donation of 50 Historical Books to mark World Pharmacists Day


Historical books donated by Professor John Rizzo Naudi to the Department of Pharmacy, University of Malta


On the occasion of World Pharmacists Day, the Department of Pharmacy, University of Malta, received a donation of 50 historical books related to pharmacy, chemistry and medicine from Professor John Rizzo Naudi. One of the oldest books to note in this donation is ‘The Surgical Anatomy of the Arteries of the Human Body’ by Irish Professor Robert Harrison dating back to 1833. Another book which was donated was written by the French Dr Charles-Michel Billard, the pioneer of neonatal medicine. The full first encyclopaedia of chemistry in Italian ‘Enciclopedia di Chimica’ by F. Selmi was also donated, as well as the 12-volume British encyclopaedia of medical practice. 

The Department of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is very active on a national and international level.  This year the Department, in collaboration with the Malta Pharmaceutical Students Association (MPSA) and the Malta Pharmaceutical Association (MPhA), is celebrating World Pharmacists Day which is co-ordinated by the International Pharmaceutical Federation. The Faculty is looking forward to the last week of October when MPSA will be hosting the Autumn Assembly for the European Pharmaceutical Students Association in Malta.



Professor John Rizzo Naudi giving a background on the historical books donated  

The Department of Pharmacy has an active research programme covering different areas and has embarked successfully in offering a postgraduate professional doctorate, the PharmD, in collaboration with the College of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois, Chicago.  Following last year’s first intake of 18 pharmacists, 21 pharmacists from Malta and international students will this October be joining the programme.  These pharmacists are developing advanced skills in clinical pharmacy and contributing to the rational use of medicines and to ensuring patient safety.  They will be undertaking practice research which will advance medicine processes both locally and internationally.


Left to Right: Professor Godfrey LaFerla, Dean Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Professor Lilian M. Azzopardi, Head of the Department of Pharmacy, Professor John Rizzo Naudi, Honorary Chancellor of the University of Malta, Professor Juanito Camilleri, Rector of the University of Malta and Professor Anthony Serracino-Inglott, Past Head of the Department of Pharmacy.

To view more photos kindly visit our photo album on Facebook. 


23 September 2015

Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems


Best Practices in Teaching Entrepreneurship and Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Europe

Global Entrepreneurship Week Foundation, Poland (Fundacja Światowego Tygodnia Przedsiębiorczości), Youth Business Poland (Fundacja Inkubator Technologiczny), the University of Malta’s Edward de Bono Institute, and British NGO Peace Child International are excited to launch the research document 'Best Practices in Teaching Entrepreneurship and Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Europe'.

Financed by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ project, the ground-breaking 'Best Practices in Teaching Entrepreneurship and Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Europe' publication is a collaboration of the four partners conducting six months of research and participating in three international meetings in Poland, Malta, and the UK. The publication’s findings will be presented at dissemination meetings that are open to the public and will be of particular interest to teachers, entrepreneurs, government representatives, and education or entrepreneurial NGOs.

GEW Foundation Poland, Youth Business Poland: Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science, Warsaw Technology University, 17 September 2015, 15:00 – 20:00
University of Malta: Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valletta, 29 September 2015, 8:30 – 13:00
Peace Child International: TBD

'Best Practices in Teaching Entrepreneurship and Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Europe' is a response to the low levels of entrepreneurship among young Europeans, which contributes to unemployment, underemployment, and difficult school-to-work transitions. The publication makes eight key recommendations that state institutions, NGOs, and the private sector can implement to promote entrepreneurship:
  1. include quality entrepreneurship education throughout all levels of education
  2. involve NGOs, entrepreneurs, and business people in entrepreneurship education
  3. engage students in active learning through workshops and classroom study
  4. give teachers training, resources, and support to become entrepreneurship educators
  5. replicate practices already in use to teach entrepreneurship (publication has examples)
  6. ease transitions between graduation and entrepreneurship (i.e. university incubators)
  7. foster simple and legible entrepreneurial ecosystems (i.e. digitalisation)
  8. garner support for aspiring entrepreneurs from public, private, and NGO sectors (i.e. subsidies, mentoring, training, e-learning, incubators).

Each partner organization involved in this project promotes entrepreneurship in a different capacity. The editorial and exploratory meetings in Poland, Malta, and the UK helped partners understand entrepreneurial ecosystems across borders and identify successful initiatives. 'We had unique opportunities to meet NGO, private sector and university representatives who not only do a great work but also eagerly cooperate with one another,' said Justyna Politańska, Founder and CEO of GEW Foundation Poland. 'We returned to our countries with lots of new ideas to foster entrepreneurship in a more innovative way.'


22 September 2015

Symposium on Early School Leaving in Budapest


Professor Carmel Borg (second from left) with panelists and guest presenter 

A group of Maltese scholars from the Faculty of Education, University of Malta, attended the European Education Research Association Conference (EERA), held at Corvinius University, Budapest, Hungary, between 7-11 September 2015. 

Titled ‘Education and Transition – Contributions from Educational Research’, the conference attracted over 3,000 delegates.  The conference addressed different aspects of transition and education across Europe. Topics ranged from changes in the university structure within the fields of humanities and social sciences, to transitions in political systems and their impact on education systems and educational research.   

Professor Carmel Borg chaired a symposium on early school leaving and re-entry into education in Malta, Canada and Poland. The panel included Professor Joanna Michalak from the University of Warsaw,  Dr Milosh Raykov from the University of Malta and  Dott. Mario Cardona, Director for Lifelong Learning and Early School Leavers, Ministry of Education, Malta. Dr Victor Martinelli, University of Malta, acted as discussant. 

Professor Carmel Borg and Dr Milosh Raykov are currently conducting extensive research on early school leaving in Malta. They have recently concluded the first part of a three-year research project on early school leaving and wellbeing. The research is funded by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. The second part of the research project, which consists of in-depth conversations with early school leavers, is due to start in November.


22 September 2015

University of Malta aims for the Stars


The Universe 


The University of Malta is working towards becoming a significant element in key international scientific research in the construction of the Square Kilometre Array, SKA.  

The Square Kilometre Array, quoted as one of the world’s most exciting international science projects, is set to give humanity new and unparalleled insights into the universe. It will investigate how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and will even search for life beyond Earth. Scientists believe that the SKA’s unparalleled sensitivity and ability to image such huge portions of the sky at up to 10,000 times to the speed of current survey telescopes will produce detailed information and provide answers to many more fundamental questions about mysteries which are baffling scientists today.  

Construction of the SKA is due to begin in 2018 using a phased development approach, so scientific output will come even before the project completes and is fully operational in 2024, by which time several thousand combined radio telescopes will be collecting and processing data equivalent to 100 times today’s global internet traffic.



Prototype of array of 16 x 16 antenna elements


Even before the SKA comes online, a series of demonstrator telescopes and systems are already operational or under development across the world, paving the way for the kinds of technology which the SKA will need to pioneer to make the huge data available to scientists. 

The University of Malta has developed a novel, ultra-wideband, low cost antenna intended to be submitted as a contending technology for the SKA project. Its planar structure means that it is easy to manufacture and transport. Although this was initially designed as a low cost solution for the SKA project, it has other applications across sectors such as telecommunications, maritime surveillance and, radar.

For a technology to be selected by the SKA project it must prove itself in a real environment, something not yet achieved for this novel design. To do that, a large scale prototype must be installed and validated in the real environment, ideally an SKA site in South Africa or Australia. The technology which establishes a presence in such a location first will obviously be ahead of the other technology in terms of gathering the necessary data for the selection stage.  



Prototype of array of 16 x 16 antenna elements 


The University has already created and successfully tested the first small scale prototype, having 256 antenna elements and is now in the process of creating a medium sized prototype which will consist of 5,000 antenna elements, which it will be able to test in an environment that is close to actual one. This is being funded by the Project 'Field Trials for Ultrawideband Antenna' financed by the Malta Council for Science & Technology through the National Research & Innovation Programme 2014.

The basic design process for some of the system electronics was kick-started through support from the TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award and the Malta Communications Authority.  The back-end software will be designed by Ascent Software Ltd., a partner on the project. 

The antenna market is mature, with several alternative designs available. However, none are able to support such a large bandwidth ratio (1:10) while satisfying all the requirements of the SKA. Relative to existing antenna design, using mass-production techniques enables the University of Malta to build the same array ten times cheaper. This is key to making the overall SKA project financially feasible.

The University of Malta team is being led by Prof. Charles Sammut of the Department of Physics. The team also includes Prof. Kristian Zarb Adami and Ms Eman O. Farhat of The Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy. 


18 September 2015

Jellyfish dispersion model launched


Malta Jellyfish dispersion model (screenshot) 


Within the ambit of the MED-JELLYRISK project, staff at the Physical Oceanography Research Group within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta (Dr Anthony Galea, Mr Denis Cutajar, Prof. Aldo Drago and Prof. Alan Deidun), with the assistance of technical staff from ISMAR-CNR in Italy, have launched a jellyfish dispersion model through which users, after registering, can track the forecasted pathway, for the next four (4) days, of a jellyfish bloom they observe in the waters around the Maltese Islands. The model is publicly available through an online interface.

Upon registering, users will receive an email with credentials through which to make a query to the model, by selecting the marine area where the jellyfish bloom was observed and also the extent of the bloom, density of jellyfish it held and to which species did the bloom belong. Simulations can be run for two different jellyfish species – the mauve stinger Pelagia noctiluca and the fried-egg jellyfish Cotylorhiza tuberculata – which are treated differently by the model on the basis of differences in their hydrodynamic properties. After a few minutes, the model will output several maps showing the forecasted trajectory of the same jellyfish bloom and highlighted which coastal stretches are more likely to be impacted by beaching of the same bloom components. 



Pelagia noctiluca - Blue Lagoon, Comino (Photo: Goncalo Santos) 


The aim of the model is to implementing a decision-support system for coastal managers by providing an early warning system of the occurrence of high jellyfish densities within particular stretches. The core of the system is constituted by two different nested numerical models, an open ocean (ROSARIO6420) and a coastal area (SHYFEM) 3D hydrodynamic model. The system (ROSARIO-SHYFEM) is operational and provides daily a 4 days forecast of the main 3D hydrodynamics fields for the areas covering the Malta-Sicily Channel with a spatial resolution varying between a few km up to 50 m. The ROSARIO-SHYFEM model was coupled with a particle-tracking Lagrangian model and used in order to simulate bothsurface water circulation and the transport and diffusion of numerical particles, proxy of jellyfish, inside the area of interest. Besides providing a 4-day forecast for the trajectory of a jellyfish bloom, the developed system can also provide a hindcast for the same trajectory, using archived values for a set of hydrodynamic and biogeochemical parameters still generated through the ROSARIO-SHYFEM system. 


Fried Egg Jellyfish (Photo: Alan Deidun) 


In the coming months, the same model will be validated through the analyses of trajectories taken by various typologies of drifters. 

MED-JELLYRISK is a 3-year-long project, funded under the framework of the ENPI-CBC MED framework, which involves the participation of 5 countries hailing from four countries (Italy, Tunisia, Spain and Malta), including the University of Malta, which is represented by the Physical Oceanography Research Group and by the Department of Biology. Within the same project, a number of other initiatives have been embarked upon, all aimed at improving the coastal management facilities dealing with jellyfish. These include, the development of a smart phone app (MED-JELLY), the organisation of a training school in Barcelona for students pursuing jellyfish and zooplankton studies, the installation of jellyfish research facilities in Tunisia, the installation of anti-jellyfish nets in the participating countries (including one at Pretty Bay in Malta) and the printing of different manuals and booklets providing information on the treatment of jellyfish stings and on the taxonomic identification of different jellyfish species occurring within local waters. Such publications are all available for free download.

enpilogo                jellyrisklogo


16 September 2015

An Indo-pacific Marine Flatworm Species in Maltese Waters

punctuated or darkspotted flatworm (Maritigrella fuscopunctata)
(photo: CBRG-UoM)

The Conservation Biology Research Group of the department of Biology, University of Malta (CBRG-UoM), led by Adriana Vella, Ph.D. (Cambridge), has been undertaking coastal and offshore marine biodiversity research for two decades and has been involved in setting up the Malta National Biodiversity Platform in order to promote the importance of studying local biodiversity at ecosystem, species, population and genetic levels. The latter is considered a fundamental requirement for all countries that have taken up the important responsibility of safeguarding local biodiversity together with its goods and services for future generations.

This research group has found support from fishermen, SCUBA divers, Armed Forces of Malta, the Malta Maritime Authority, Civil Protection and sailing crews among the many sea-users that forward their observations and experiences out at sea to complement the scientific field research that has been running as a long-term project. Another very important entity assisting this effort is the environmental NGO, BICREF (The Biological Conservation Research Foundation), which encourages its volunteers to contribute to ongoing conservation projects linked to both terrestrial and marine species and habitats.

Among the various species studied by the CBRG-UoM down to the necessary population and genetic level, one finds sharks and rays, turtles, dolphins and whales, fish species including bluefin tuna, molluscs, jellyfish and various other species. Due to this long-term effort, both typical local species as well as new species constituting our sea life have been studied. To understand changes in marine life long-term data of Maltese biodiversity is essential.

The involvement of researchers, students and interns working with the CBRG-UoM through the years has allowed for other interest findings. Some local marine species are drastically decreasing in numbers while others are appearing as alien species. An example of the latter is the punctuated or darkspotted flatworm (Maritigrella fuscopunctata), a typically Indo-pacific organism that has not been reported as an alien in the Mediterranean Sea before being discovered in local waters through on going field surveys. It is probable that it has been spreading in the Mediterranean Sea from the Red Sea. Studies on this species, together with various other species that CBRG-UoM has been working on, will be scientifically published in the coming months. 

For further information kindly contact:
Dr Adriana Vella, CBRG-UoM

released: 15 September 2015


16 September 2015


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