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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.


Research 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 Research Working Party handles matters in the research and innovation area, including legislation, before they are discussed in the Competitiveness Council meetings.

It mainly focuses on:

• European research framework programmes and other European research and innovation-related instruments • European Research Area (ERA) and general framework conditions for European research • International agreements in the area of research, science and technology


Research / Atomic Working Party 

This working party negotiates research related to issues under the European Atomic Energy Community Treaty (EURATOM). Specifically, it deals with:

  •  International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor ITER project, a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate the technological and scientific feasibility of fusion energy
  • international cooperation agreements with non-EU countries on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear safety and security research and research into fusion energy


Space Working Party 

The Space Working Party (SWP) is the technical forum within the Council where the Space Policy initiatives and issues are discussed. Like other working parties the SWP is made up Attaches of the Member States who are normally resident in Brussels.  MCST role is to support the Maltese attaché in the meeting among others, by vetting the documents, provide technical advice, drafting of regular Instruction Note for each meetings and others.   Depending on the importance of the meeting, MCST personnel also attend the SWP as experts.

Latest information on the SWP, particularly and the latest meeting can be found at

European Research Area Committee (ERAC)

The European Research and Innovation 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 delegate to ERAC is Mr Omar Cutajar ( and Mr Karl Montebello (, whilst the alternate delegate is Mr Matthew Lowell (

 The ERAC website can be accessed by clicking this link

Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility

 The SWG on HRM replaced the former Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility (SGHRM), which 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”). The SGHRM was a Commission Expert Group, however in 2017 an exercise was carried out to re-structure all ERA-related groups under ERAC’s advisory role to Council formation, which led to the new SWG on HRM. The group is now chaired by elected Member State representatives. Malta’s delegates on this group are Mr Robert Abdilla ( and Ms Lili Kankaya (


ERAC Standing Working Group (SWG) on Open Science and Innovation (OSI) 

This group, set-up in 2016, is the successor of the ERAC Working Group on Knowledge Transfer and focuses on providing advice and opinion 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.  Among others this group was very active in discussing the established of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

 Malta’s delegates to this group are Mr Karl Montebello ( and Mr Kevin J. Ellul (

Global Approach to R&I Cooperation Standing Sub-group to European Research Area Forum

The Global Approach to R&I Cooperation group’s tasks are to advise the Commission services in designing, implementing and evaluating approaches and actions of international R&I cooperation, to establish coordination between the Commission and Member States and stakeholders and to exchange experience and good practice in the field of International R&I Cooperation, including at the multilateral level. In doing so, it supports the objectives set out in the Global Approach to Research and Innovation. Activities include:

  • Advising on the design and implementation of pilot initiatives based on the Team Europe approach
  • Assisting in conducting and steering a multilateral dialogue on values and principles for international cooperation in research and innovation with partner countries and in international fora
  • Advising developing a European Science Diplomacy Agenda
  • Promoting a coordinated joint approach for engagement in multilateral initiatives
  • Assisting the Commission in monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the actions set out in the Global Approach Communication, including the design of indicators and collection of data.

 Malta’s delegates to this group are Ms. Sandrine Borg ( and Ms. Glorianne Camilleri (


The Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation (SWG on GRI)

The SWG on GRI, previously known as “The Helsinki Group” 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 SWG on GRI is now re-structured as an ERA-related group falling under ERAC’s advisory role to Council formation.

Malta’s delegate to this group is Dr Jennifer Cassingena Harper (

European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures Committee (ESFRI)

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.  The latest ESFRI roadmap has been published in September 2018, and can be accessed from

Malta’s lead delegate to ESFRI is Ms. Maria Hili ( and the alternate delegate is Mr. Ian Gauci Borda (

More information can be found on the ESFRI website which can be accessed on


European Research Infrastructures Consortium Committee (ERIC) 

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 Mr. Maria Hili ( and Mr. Ian Gauci Borda (   Malta currently participates in the BBRMI ERIC and DARIAH ERIC

Although not a participating member, in the last years, Malta has also collaborated with the SHARE ERIC


Open Access National Point of Reference 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.


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.


Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Platform for R&I

The UfM Regional Platform for R&I 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 UfM Regional Platform for R&I are Ms. Glorianne Camilleri ( and Ms. Sandrine Borg (


European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

 The concept of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) was presented in the 1st EOSC summitheld on 12 June 2017.  A second EOSC summit  was held a year later on 11 June 2018.  Malta was present in both events. The Council Conclusions of the EOSC were adopted on 28 May 2018, during the Competitiveness Council (Research). The aim is to have a federated approach of all the national Open Science facilities in Europe.

The EOSC was launched in Vienna on 23rd November 2018.  The EOSC can be accessed from

Ms. Glorianne Camilleri ( is the lead delegate representing Malta on the EOSC Governing Board.

This article was last updated on: April 13, 2022