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Universities of Edinburgh and Malta sign a collaboration agreement

Dr Edward Duca, Dr Heather Rea, Prof. Alfred Vella and Prof. Saviour Zammit at the signing ceremony.

Dr Edward Duca, Dr Heather Rea, Prof. Alfred Vella and Prof. Saviour Zammit at the signing ceremony.

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed between the University of Malta and the University of Edinburgh outlining the two institutions’ shared vision of collaborating in the area of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

The concept of RRI is being promoted in the Nucleus project, supported by €4 million from the Horizon 2020 programme, in which both universities are in­volved. The idea behind RRI is to create links between the research community and wider society, en­couraging public engagement and ensuring that dialogue between both sides is kept up throughout the innovation process.

The University of Malta said it is already studying the potential benefits of RRI, and finding ways to implement it by breaking down institutional barriers. Teaming up with a leading partner of the Nucleus consortium will allow Malta to foster strong collaborations on the European level and beyond, while also raising the possibility of enhancing research outcomes by taking RRI on board.

Involving policymakers, business leaders, educators and other societal groups as co-creators of knowledge and innovation will help society as a whole, as well as the University in particular, moving towards new forms of transdisciplinary research.

As part of the Nucleus project, 10 institutions will form test-beds for RRI that will eventually be able to offer practical recommendations for its implementation. Being one of these, the University of Malta will be in a unique position at the forefront of this endeavour.

The University of Malta said that sharing ideas and resources with the University of Edinburgh will serve to strengthen this standing. It may also help to provide further funding prospects under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and related projects.

The University’s Nucleus pro­ject coordinator Dr Edward Duca said “being an RRI-ready university will help us modernise, bring us closer to society and benefit Malta’s European collaborations and research output”.

The agreement was signed by University rector Prof. Alfred Vella and Dr Heather Rea from the University of Edinburgh. Other members of the University’s core Nucleus committee include pro-rector Prof. Saviour Zammit, who also attended the official signing, pro-rectors Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino and Dr Carmen Sammut, and Dr Axel Steuwer.

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