The Maltese flag fluttered outside Dusseldorf’s Messe Hall where the EuroNanoForum was being held, while lazy vessels plied the mighty Rhine beyond it.
That flag, and my single presence, were the only signs I could see of any Maltese participation in the forum, which people from 46 countries were attending. Oh, and I forgot, some of the folders we were handed had Maltese translations at least on the cover.
Once again Malta was conspicuous by its absence, which is a pity seeing that R&D funding will supplant CAP funding as the major funding in the EU in the years to come and we are still learning to spell nanotechnology.
One may also add some pointers: with all the research being done in connection with nanotechnology and semi-conductors it is still rather uncanny to see that all STMicroelectronics R&D is being done in Catania or elsewhere and that ST’s long presence in Malta has so far not produced any offshoots as ancillary products or facilities.
The Malta Council of Science and Technology has recently gone through an overhaul of sorts but even so, its website does not even mention nanotechnology although this is one of the areas of privileged investment according to the Foreign Investment Act.
And a list of the university’s recent abstracts and research papers fails to turn up anything related to nanotechnology either!
Nor was the Malta’s national coordinator on the board of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, Jesmond Xuereb, anywhere near the Dusseldorf conference.
Other countries, from Slovenia to Latvia, were there in force and also the many research institutes that have sprouted up outside universities in collaboration with private industry.