“A country which supports its business community and nurtures Research, Development and Innovation will reap constant long-term added value” said Mr Frank V. Farrugia during the launch of the Business Enhance Research and Development & Innovation grant scheme at the Exchange Buildings, Valletta, on Thursday.
Mr Farrugia said that the for such pro-active action will mostly become clear during periods of economic slowdown, where countries investing in R&D would not need to resort to drastic austerity measures such as increasing tax rates, raising the retirement age and reducing social benefits as has happened in several southern European countries over the last decade.
“The ‘spill-over’ effect that research and innovation has onto other business sectors, by creating a better economic scenario and a more competitive offering as a country, is known but often forgotten” he said.
“When R&D is conducted successfully, it automatically leads to increased investments in capital equipment and human resources. This does not only generate new ideas and products to satisfy and enhance consumer demands but also improves business processes and opportunities, increases productivity and results in an overall competitive advantage”
Mr Farrugia explained how optimising the economic conditions for business activities across the European region depends considerably on the ease and facilitation of technological transfer of knowhow and the availability of a highly skilled work force.
“Needless to say, innovation and technology development are therefore critical factors in increasing companies’ productivity and hence the added value required to create growth” he noted.
The President pointed out that in its R&D strategy, the Malta Chamber had argued that Businesses will only invest in R&D when there are good commercial reasons for doing so.
“The Malta Chamber believes that there needs to be an integrated approach and converging instruments to transform innovative ideas into marketable solutions. Therefore, industry should also be encouraged to re-invest a substantial part of its profits in R&D as this is the only way to secure ongoing research activity that will in turn result in a constant flow of innovative ideas” he concluded.
The event was also addressed by the Hon Aaron Farrugia Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue. A presentation about the details of the scheme was also delivered by Moira Attard - Director General, Measures and Support Division