A research fund to award innovators in the maritime sector has been reopened for the fifth consecutive year, with successful applicants eligible for up to €25,000 in funding.

The Maritime Proof of Concept Fund started in 2017, with €400,000 in research funding allocated for the last four years. A further €200,000 - €100,000 per year—have now been allocated to the fund for 2021 and 2022.

All applicants must attend a proof of concept workshop that will be held online on Thursday, September 9 at 10am and a seed fund workshop to be held on Monday, September 13 at 2pm.

They then have until 12pm on Wednesday, September 29 to submit their funding applications. Applicants who do not register and attend the workshops will not be eligible for funding.

To register for the workshop, applicants can visit www.takeoff.org.mt

The latest round of funding was opened by Transport Minister Ian Borg, University of Malta rector Alfred Vella and Transport Malta chairman Joseph Bugeja, with Transport Malta and the university signing a memorandum of understanding about it.

Transport Malta chairman Josef Bugeja and University of Malta rector Alfred Vella sign an MOU concerning the fund, as Transport Minister Ian Borg looks on. Photo: Transport MinistryTransport Malta chairman Josef Bugeja and University of Malta rector Alfred Vella sign an MOU concerning the fund, as Transport Minister Ian Borg looks on. Photo: Transport Ministry

“The maritime industry is the backbone of local and global trade, and it will get more competitive as time goes by. Constant research is thus needed to maintain our advantage in one of the most important transport activities through the development of new products, methods and concepts that respond to industrial needs,” Vella said.

Bugeja said Transport Malta was pleased to be able to offer the research funding.

Borg said that Malta’s maritime sector was responsible for 14 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and noted that Malta’s shipping registry has increased by 22% in terms of tonnage in the past four years.

Growth has been even brisker within the superyacht sector, with a 65% increase and more than 950 superyachts registered under the Maltese flag.

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