Malta: COVID-19. The new funds for research and development

This article was published on 3 May 2020 in Corriere di Malta newspaper

Malta: COVID-19. The new funds for research and development – opening of the tender

Last April, the European Commission approved an amount of € 5.3 million funds destined for Malta to offer grants to public and private companies for research and development (R&D) projects. Such projects must focus on activities related to the current pandemic but can also be directed towards the prevention of future infectious diseases, as well as the control and containment of their spreads, and other antiviral research projects, by developing methodologies for the future on the basis, so quotes the legislation, of “the lessons learned during the current pandemic”.

The maximum amount of the contribution varies depending on whether the project can be classified as a Fundamental Research (100%), Industrial Research (80%) and Experimental Development (80%).
In the case of Industrial Research and Experimental Development projects, the amount of the contribution can be increased by a further 15% if it is conducted in collaboration with research organisations or other companies from other European countries. In this regard, it is necessary to distinguish the concept of fundamental or basic research that is conducted by scientists, researchers and scholars to acquire new knowledge on the fundamentals of phenomena, from industrial research and experimental development which are instead conducted by production companies, for example also in collaboration with laboratories, research centres and universities. The funds allocated under this scheme therefore represent an opportunity also for companies, not only for research centres or universities, which can access such contributions if they carry out industrial research and experimental development activities as defined by European research and development legislation; for example, researches aimed at acquiring new knowledge, to be used to develop new products, processes or services or to allow an improvement of existing products, processes or services. Besides, funds are also available for those companies carrying out experimental development activities that allow the acquisition, combination, structuring and use of existing knowledge and skills of a scientific, technological, commercial and other nature, in order to produce plans, projects or designs for new, modified or improved products, processes or services.

This scheme covers all projects focused on COVID-19 including those that have received the ‘Seal of Excellence’ (European Union seal of excellence through Horizon 2020) that started on 1 February 2020 and subsequently but not after 31 December 2020. The duration of the projects must be a maximum of 18 months.

The program is managed by the Malta Council for Science and Technology and Malta Enterprise, the government’s operating arm.

To participate in tender, a specific application form has been prepared.

The aim of the tender is to support the development of innovative solutions so to face the current health problems related to coronavirus, such as: new medicines and treatments, medical instruments, medical and hospital equipment, disinfectants, collection and transformation methods of data and applications that allow better dissemination of information by government authorities.

The costs that can be included in the project concern:

  • The salaries of researchers, technicians and other staff directly involved in the project.
  • Specific research equipment including digital tools, computers for diagnosing, collecting and transforming data.
  • Other operating expenses such as consumables, patents, conformity assessment, medical instruments, disinfectants and person protections.

Applications for contributions must be submitted electronically by 30 November 2020.

Should you wish to have further information or assistance with the preparation and presentation of the application to this tender do send us an email at the address below.

Stefano De Stalis
European Affairs and State Aid Manager
Sheltons Malta