Applied Research Funding
- Posted by: Chamber of Engineers
- Category: Miscellaneous News
Research and Innovation (R&I) plays a crucial role in tackling economic and societal challenges. In fact, R&I is not only a local pillar of economic growth and productivity, but it has also proved its significance beyond our borders, particularly in the midst of the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
National R&I funding schemes are crucial in de-risking private sector investment into novel products or services. Financial support incentivises R&I activities and provides entrepreneurs with a safety-net and a guide in the pursuit of commercialising their innovations.
The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), under the leadership of Executive Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, offers a myriad of competitive and collaborative funding schemes to the Maltese research community, predominantly through a portfolio of R&I funding programmes, known as FUSION.
FUSION aims to provide researchers and technologists with much-needed funding which enables them to transform their innovative ideas into market-ready realities. Since its inception in 2014, FUSION has grown steadily and, in recent years, has seen extensive refinement to ensure its pertinence to modern challenges and exigencies.
The FUSION Technology Development Programme (TDP) has been a staple of the FUSION funding up to €12 million in innovative projects since its inception. This year, the MCST are opening a new programme called Technology Development Lite (TDP Lite). The aim of the new programme is to facilitate expedited applied research which is intended to support the research involved in the development of novel products, or processes.
Prior to their proposal, projects under the original FUSION TDP would have to perform a formalised feasibility study like the FUSION Commercialisation Voucher Programme to assess the viability of their proposed technology. TDP Projects are then undertaken by a public-private consortium in 3-year projects with a maximum grant of €295,000. Operating in tandem, the new TDP lite programme will offer support for innovations in more competitive markets with a faster development cycle. The TDP Lite aims to optimise the potential, commercial impact on both the Maltese and foreign markets by exploiting the first-mover advantage in cases which do not require collaborative research and the larger amounts of funding typical of the long-standing FUSION TDP.
Public or private Maltese legal entities who would like to develop their novel products or processes are encouraged to submit their proposal via the TDP Lite funding programme. The grant provided is up to €150,000 and funds may be used to hire or subcontract personnel, acquire equipment, and purchase consumables among other eligible costs in a one year, single-stage project. The MCST will provide up to 75% of the eligible costs in the case of private entities (companies, partnership, etc.). The MCST will finance 80% of the grant itself as pre-financing at the initiation of a project with 20% retained until successful completion.