Malta’s Innovation Panorama: Untapped Potential and the Need for Collaborative Efforts

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Malta’s innovation performance has improved in recent years, outpacing the European Union’s average rate of progress. However, the European Innovation Scoreboard still categorizes Malta as a ‘Moderate Innovator’, with performance at 85.8% of the EU average. This indicates that Malta has not yet reached its full potential when it comes to entrepreneurship and the development of new technologies and business ideas.

The European Innovation Scoreboard serves as a valuable tool in identifying Malta’s strengths and weaknesses in innovation. This information is crucial at a time when the world faces significant climate and geopolitical challenges, and new technologies offer both hopes and fears of radically transformed economic and working realities.

One of Malta’s key weaknesses in the innovation landscape is the lack of sufficient support, both from the government and the private sector, for research and development of new ideas. Additionally, more education is needed around the concept of innovation and its potential to help the economy and society thrive.

The decline in finance and support for innovation versus the EU average has been more than 20 percentage points lower in 2022-23 compared to 2016. Furthermore, the innovation performance of Maltese SMEs declined by more than 70% in 2022-23, now standing at just over 57% of the EU average performance. This suggests that innovation in Malta is happening within a narrow scope and not across the broader economy.

Reversing these trends and maintaining Malta’s overall improvement in innovation requires genuine commitment from all stakeholders, including the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), which is supported by the European Union under Horizon Europe. The EIT aims to help countries improve innovation by providing entrepreneurial education, enabling EU-wide networking between innovators across industries, and offering a wide range of business creation and acceleration services.

Malta is already benefiting from the presence of the EIT Community, with training given to more than 170 innovators and entrepreneurs and financial support provided to more than 20 new ventures. The EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), which focus on specific areas like Climate and Urban Mobility, are also actively supported by various stakeholders such as MCAST and the Project Agele Foundation.

To fulfill Malta’s innovation potential, a collaborative approach involving the government, education institutions, and the private sector is essential. The EIT Community in Malta stands ready to play its part in accelerating innovation and helping Malta, Europe, and the wider world find solutions to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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