The European Council

The European Council is the meeting of Heads of State of the EU Member States, together with the President of the Council and the President of the European Commission. Its role is to define the general political direction and priorities of the EU. In this regard, the European Council also undertakes discussion of research and innovation issues at a strategic and political level. Malta is represented at the European Council by the Hon Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat. The Malta Council for Science and Technology provides policy advice to the Prime Minister’s Office in preparation for European Council meetings when debates on R&I issues would be planned. The European Council normally meets twice every six months. Meetings are convened by its President. The website of the European Council can be accessed by clicking this link.(

The Competitiveness Council (Research)

The Competitiveness Council encompasses issues concerning the internal market, industry, research and space. It meets normally six times per year, with two of these meetings being informal. The Competitiveness Council ensures a coordinated approach across different policies impacting on Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness. The Malta Council for Science and Technology provides technical input to the preparation for Malta’s participation in the research and space parts of the Competitiveness Council and generally also provides technical support during the meetings. Malta is represented at the research part of the Competitiveness Council by the Minister responsible for research or an alternate high level delegate. The website of the Competitiveness Council can be accessed by clicking this link.

The Research/ Atomic Questions Working Party and the Space Working Party

Working Parties are the more technical forums for discussion and possible agreement on various texts before these reach higher levels, namely COREPER and Council. Working parties are where much of the preparatory groundwork for the Council takes place, with the aim of achieving consensus on texts which are then presented for endorsement by the Council.

The European Research Area Committee (ERAC)

The European Research Area Committee is an advisory body to the Council, the Commission and the Member States whose aim is providing strategic and timely advice. ERAC replaces the former CREST (Scientific and Technical Research Committee). ERAC’s mandate was approved by the Competitiveness Council in May 2010. Malta’s delegates to ERAC are Ms Nadine Castillo ( and Ms Ramona Saliba Scerri (, while the alternate delegates are Ms Jacqueline Barbara ( and Dr Ing. Richard Blundell ( The ERAC website can be accessed by clicking this link.

The Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility

The SGHRM has been active since 2002 and is tasked with the responsibility to promote, monitor and report on the implementation of the Researchers’ Partnership at EU and national levels and on other ongoing researchers-related activities (e.g. EURAXESS activities, the European Charter and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, and the “Scientific Visa”). Malta’s delegates to the Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility are Mr. Robert Abdilla ( and Ms. Irene Mangion (

ERAC Standing Working Group on Open Science and Innovation
This group is the successor of the ERAC Working Group on Knowledge Transfer and focuses on providing advice regarding policies and initiatives with the aim of enhancing access to scientific information, the exploitation of scientific results and circulation of knowledge for the benefit of scientists, research institutions, education, businesses, citizens and society at large. Malta’s delegates to this group are Dr Ing. Richard Blundell ( and Mr Kevin J. Ellul (

The High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC)

The GPC was set up as a dedicated configuration of ERAC with the aim of identifying topics for joint programming of research initiatives and the formulation of framework conditions for these. The rationale for this effort lies in the need to capitalize on different countries’ resources and strengths and pool together knowledge and resources to address major societal challenges, such as food security, climate change and water. Malta’s delegates to the GPC are Mr Marco Orlando (, Ms. Corinne Muscat Terribile ( and Dr. Claire Bellia (

The Strategic Forum on International Cooperation (SFIC)

SFIC is a dedicated configuration of ERAC whose main objective is to facilitate the further development, implementation and monitoring of the international dimension of the ERA. In practice, the group seeks to collect and share information between the partners (Member States and the Commission) with a view to identifying common priorities which could lead to coordinated or joint initiatives. The group also aims at coordinating activities and positions vis-à-vis third countries and within international forums. Malta’s delegates to the SFIC are Mr. Marco Orlando (, Mr. Ian Gauci Borda ( Dr Claire Bellia (

The European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures Committee

ESFRI was set up in 2002 by the Competitiveness Council, initially for informal consultations on strategic issues related to Research Infrastructures. In 2006 a list of 35 Research Infrastructure proposals was presented by ESFRI in a roadmap for research infrastructures in Europe. This roadmap was updated to 44 proposals in 2008. Further updates were undertaken in 2010 and 2016. Malta’s delegates to ESFRI are Dr. Ing. Richard Blundell ( and Dr. Elena Sultana ( The ESFRI website can be accessed by clicking on this link.

The European Research Infrastructures Consortium (ERIC) Committee

The ERIC Committee was set up by Article 20 of Council Regulation 723/2009 (…). This regulation seeks to facilitate the joint establishment and operation of European research facilities while enjoying many of the advantages and tax exemptions applicable to international organizations. Members of an ERIC can be states and intergovernmental organizations. At least three Member States must agree to establish and operate together a research infrastructure. The members of an ERIC establish statutes ruling governance, IPR policy, financing of the ERIC. Malta’s delegates to the ERIC Committee are Dr. Ing. Richard Blundell ( and Dr. Elena Sultana (

Open Access National Reference Point Group

Open Access means unrestricted access to scientific information via the internet. The objective of Open Access is to make scientific literature and data easily and quickly accessible for users, as well as to provide this information free of charge. It also should prevent duplication of research efforts and enhance opportunities for multi-disciplinary research, as well as inter-institutional and inter-sectorial collaborations. A world-wide active debate on the economics and reliability of various ways of providing open access among stakeholders started in the 1990s and is still continuing. In Horizon 2020, Open Access is supported as a tool to facilitate and improve the circulation of information in the European Research Area. It has therefore been anchored as an underlying principle in the Horizon 2020 Regulation and the Rules of Participation. Malta’s delegates to this group are Mr. Kevin J. Ellul ( and Ms. Josianne Camilleri (

The Helsinki Group on Gender in Research and Innovation
The Helsinki Group on Gender in Research and Innovation was established in 1999. It brings together representatives from Member States and Associated Countries, to promote equality between women and men in research and innovation (R&I) and to embed the gender dimension in science, research and innovation contents and programmes. The group is co-chaired by the European Commission and an elected co-chair from among the Member States. Malta’s delegates to this group are Ms Jacqueline Barabara ( and Dr Jennifer Cassingena Harper (

Board of Governors of the Joint Research Centre

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) Board of Governors advises the Director-General and the Commission on matters relating to the strategic role of the JRC and its scientific, technical and financial management. It is composed of high level representatives from EU Member States and FP7 Associated States. The JRC Board individual members have also an important role in representing the interests of the JRC in their own country. Malta’s representative on the JRC Board of Governors is Prof Emmanuel Sinagra ( More information on the Joint Research Centre can be accessed through the following link.

Group of Senior Officials for the Mediterranean (former Group of Senior Officials for the Mediterranean -MoCo)

The EU-Med GSO is a forum which brings together Senior Official representatives from the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC) and the EU Member States and Associated Countries, responsible for RTD issues. It was established in the context of a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and of the follow-up of the Barcelona Process, and plays a central role in monitoring and stimulating the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in RTD. Malta’s delegates for MoCo are Mr. Ian Gauci Borda ( and Mr Marco Orlando (