Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) 2021-2027

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Malta’s Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) 2021-2027

Smart specialisation is a key principle underpinning the European Commission Cohesion Policy for the period 2021-2027 in the Research, Technology, Development and Innovation priority. Similarly to the 2014-2020 programming period, the existence of a Smart Specialisation Strategy is an enabling condition for EU Member States to access structural funding under the European Regional Development Fund in this field.

Smart specialisation is a place-based policy approach that foresees channelling of public and private investments in carefully selected priority areas, through an ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ (EDP).

The EDP promotes a bottom-up approach that allows policymakers to learn from the stakeholders of the quadruple helix (government, academia, industry and civil society). It concerns the prioritisation of investment based on an inclusive stakeholder engagement and attention to national and international market dynamics and value chains.

The Malta’s Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) 2021-2027 was published for public consultation, as part of the stakeholder engagement process, between 28th October and 18th November 2020. This exercise contributed to revealing the most promising areas for future national development and demonstrated the country does best in terms of R&D and innovation. Specifically, this process identified the following six priority areas for the period 2021 to 2027:

  • Health and Well-being, with a focus on cancer, cellular therapy, drug development, digital tools to support healthcare, focusing on e-health and bioinformatics and biomedical engineering.
  • Sustainable Use of Resources for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, with a focus on net-zero carbon buildings, renewable energy generation and energy storage solutions, resource efficiency in industry and turning waste into a resource.
  • Smart Manufacturing, with a focus on sustainable manufacturing and flexible automation.
  • Marine & Maritime Technology, with a focus on the valorisation of marine resources and maritime technology.
  • Aviation and Aerospace, with a focus on avionics, composite materials and development of new technologies for maintenance of new products.
  • Future Digital Technologies (this is both a vertical priority and a horizontal enabler for the former five areas), with a focus on big data and data analytics, open data, smart space applications, human-centric applications, digitizing industries and sustainable use of resources or climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The RIS3 2021-2027 builds on achievements and lessons learnt in the previous RIS3 2014-2020. The purpose of the renewed Strategy is not to start the process from scratch, but to further reinforce those components that are not yet sufficiently developed, and to use this opportunity to recalibrate Malta’s priorities in line with economic developments as well as national challenges.

This article was last updated on: March 20, 2024