08 May, 2023

Highlighting industry-academia opportunities


Maltese manufacturing companies are being invited to participate in industry-academia research collaborations with educational institutions such as the University of Malta. To support in such initiatives, EWA, the Malta Business Bureau & The Malta Chamber organised an outreach event in which the business community was informed on what opportunities are available. This was the 9th event in the WE MAKE series of workshops running till July 2023.

Toly acted as a case study of successful collaboration with the University of Malta to achieve a significantly reduced environmental footprint from its operations. MCST guided the businesses attending the event through other case studies, and elaborated on what funding streams are available to support such projects and partnerships. Businesses interested in opening the door to such opportunities are therefore invited to get in touch with the project team behind the WE MAKE project responsible for organising the outreach.

Ing Ruben Cuschieri, Chair of the Manufacturers Economic Group at The Malta Chamber, stated that:

“Industry-academia collaboration is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and there are several key institutional partners who can help businesses find what is suitable for them. It can be as simple as sponsoring a University or MCAST student to carry out research in a company.”

During a time of skills and human resource shortage in manufacturing, integrating student projects into a company’s workflow provides an opportunity for a highly beneficial mutual undertaking. Furthermore, high-level research projects such as AIR SAVE allow academics from the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, such as Dr Ing. Paul Refalo and Dr Ing. Emmanuel Francalanza, to develop new solutions to achieve significant energy efficiency gains in industry. AIR SAVE is a compressed air integrity monitoring and control system using AI and IOT, developed in collaboration with AIM Enterprises. Toly is engaged in the VacuUM project with Dr Arif Rochman and Dr Ing Paul Refalo who are working on a seal-less mould vacuum system aimed to improve energy and material efficiency. Companies that wish to work with the University of Malta can get in touch with the Projects Support Office or Research Support Services Directorate.

Mr Stephen Borg of the R&I Unit of MCST presented opportunities to receive aid through the FUSION Programme, which has a wide portfolio of funding programmes. It accommodates an extensive technology readiness spectrum, and programmes can include funding initial research, commercialisation of innovative technologies and many other opportunities up to helping put products on the market. A successful case study is that of HDMS, an initiative between Carlo Gavazzi and the University, which developed a single-phase starter motor with a start-and-run capacitor. The product is aimed at heat pumps with limitations in the supply network. MCST’s Internationalisation Unit also promotes projects across borders, and between 2019-2022 granted 6 million euros in support. Those interested in collaborations are encouraged to register on MCST’s plumtri platform for research & innovation.

Dr Ing Alexia Pace Kiomall from Malta Enterprise encouraged participants to register with the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest European support network for SMEs. In doing so, businesses will benefit from a matchmaking tool with 4310 profiles which may facilitate collaboration with academia.

Senior Projects Executive at the Malta Business Bureau, Timothy Alden, who moderated the event, is encouraging all manufacturing businesses interested in exploring industry-academia opportunities to get in touch at talden@mbb.org.mt

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