12 students benefit from € 120,000 in Artificial Intelligence scholarships at specialist level

Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri distributes AI scholarships to beneficiaries 3050, Twenty20 Business Centre, Zone 3 Central Business District, Triq L-Intornjatur, Birkirkara

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November, 2021 at 9:58 am by Andre Camilleri

Investment in infrastructure and human skills goes hand in hand with the industry’s requirements in the digital field

An investment of € 120,000 has led to 12 students acquiring scholarships through the Pathfinder fund, which is administered by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. These students are continuing their Artificial Intelligence related studies at Masters and Doctorate levels, both in Malta and abroad.

During the presentation of the scholarships, the Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri, announced that while the first call made in 2020 was limited to the University of Malta, the call for this year has been extensively expanded, and therefore applications have been received from students who will continue their studies with other educational institutions, including those abroad. In fact, five of the students are pursuing their studies on a full-time basis overseas, in Sweden, America and the Netherlands.

Minister Schembri pointed out how this initiative aims to address human capital, so that our country has the infrastructure and human capital which go hand in hand, in preparation for the industry’s requirements in the digital field.

He noted how the future of economies will be based on advanced digital technology, which Malta has recognized immediately. Minister Schembri explained that it is no coincidence that the European Commission’s forecast is showing that in the year 2022 Malta will have the best economic growth among all the members of the European Union.

He also explained how crucial to all this is the fact that our country is attractive to local and even foreign investment, as a strong digital infrastructure has been built that has paved the way for international investors in digital fields to benefit from a holistic ecosystem.

Minister Schembri pointed out that when it comes to Artificial Intelligence Malta is much more advanced than several countries in the EU. This is transpiring as a wide-ranging discussion is taking place at European level in order to implement a law focusing on the use of Artificial Intelligence. It is proposed here that Member States set up competent National Authorities in their country to serve as a regulatory body in this regard. This is something that Malta launched back in 2018 when the MDIA was founded.

He said that through the establishment of the MDIA, Malta was once again one of the first to prepare its economy for the future. And not just in terms of regulation. MDIA has been handed the responsibility to lead digital strategies aimed at improving people’s quality of life. Among these is the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, and among the various elements to be achieved by 2030, is that we offer funding to students who continue their studies at Masters or Doctorate level, in a course that will involve Artificial Intelligence.

MDIA CEO Mr Kenneth Brincat said that, “These scholarships reflect the synergy with today’s day and age. The world is continuously evolving, and there is the need that the present industry, and even the future one, is equipped with a skilled workforce. We work in a sector which changed the world, and it is crucial that we adapt to satisfy the demand. This poses a big challenge not only to the industry that we work within, not only to Malta, but the whole world.”

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