[From left to right: Ms Rhoda Garland, Executive Director of CRPD, Mr Oliver Scicluna, Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability, Hon. Silvio Parnis, Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing and Persons with Disability, Prof. Alfred J. Vella, Rector of the University of Malta, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi, Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing]
A collaboration between the University of Malta’s Faculty for Social Wellbeing and the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) is leading to an unprecedented studying opportunity for two persons with a disability wishing to undertake research in the field of Disability Studies.
The PEKTUR programme, jointly established by the two entities, is making available €25,000 to cover two MPhil/PhD scholarships, as well as a number of ad-hoc research projects. This programme is co-financed by the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund, a fund run by the Ministry of Finance with the scope of helping out various individuals, agencies and organisations with carrying out social, cultural, educational, sport, philanthropic or religious activity.
A call for applications was officially launched on Wednesday 16 September at the Msida University of Malta campus and will remain open until 31 December 2020. Following this call, a selection process will take place by a board composed of representatives from UM and CRPD.
Through this Disability Studies Scholarship Grant, the Faculty for Social Wellbeing is seeking change-oriented potential applicants committed to seek PhD studies in the social wellbeing domains, with emphasis on the enhancement of wellbeing and the betterment of the quality of life of persons with disability.
Speaking at the launch of the grant and upon the signing of an agreement between UM and CRPD, Hon. Silvio Parnis, Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing and Persons with Disability, said that going forward, this research will not just be beneficial to the people undertaking it, but the fact that it will raise awareness on disability, makes it beneficial to society as a whole.
“As a Faculty, we are very much committed to conducting research which not only has a positive impact on the society we are a part of, but which is inspired by, learns from, and adapts to the needs of this society. This goes in line with our purpose because it is our duty to increase awareness of how disability influences the life course of human beings – and we recognise the need for the related rhetoric to enable these individuals to thrive”, remarked Prof. Andrew Azzopardi, Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing.
Mr Oliver Scicluna, the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability, said he is pleased to be, once again, working alongside the University of Malta to increase studying opportunities in the area of disability studies. Whilst the University already welcomes a number of individuals with disability across its faculties, institutes, centres and departments, giving them an added studying opportunity in an area they experience on a daily basis, will make for some very fruitful research.
“The University has always strived to be inclusive in and representative of the society it functions in. This opportunity for two individuals to explore their interest in challenging ways in which disability is currently construed in society, is a golden one. It is such because it will help us take a more proactive educational approach towards disability issues in a local context”, said Prof. Alfred J. Vella, Rector at the University of Malta, who was also in attendance.