The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Innovative, technological products being developed critical to Malta’s economy, PM says

Semira Abbas Shalan Tuesday, 14 May 2024, 14:33 Last update: about 12 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said Tuesday that innovative, technological projects being developed at the ST plant in Kirkop is the way government is modernising the country’s economy, and creating quality jobs for Maltese and Gozitan students.

Abela addressed a press conference at the ST Microelectronics factory, where pilot projects for new digital and robotic equipment favouring automated technology in industry 4.0 are currently underway.

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“Our country has all the right qualities to become a centre for European innovation and technology in the semiconductor sector,” he said.

The project is part of a number of European projects under the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) program, leading to research and development projects on the most advanced technologies in the world.

At the ST plant in Kirkop, innovative technological products are being developed which are aimed at improving the company’s operations in microchip manufacturing.

Abela acknowledged the government’s commitment in supporting innovation at factories such as those of ST, and also said that the future of this company, one of the largest in Europe and employs 1,800 people in Malta, is a bright one. 2.7 million microchips are processed daily in this plant.

Abela said that microchips are found in many daily devices, from smartphones to cars, all made in Malta.

He said that these microchips play an important role in today’s technological world, with Malta’s role in the technological framework being truly significant.

“This is how we are modernising our country’s economy and creating quality jobs where Maltese and Gozitan students can find employment in the most advanced technology sectors in the world,” Abela said, adding that this showcases the government’s drive and ambition in pushing forward the country’s economic development.

Abela praised ST’s commitment to Malta, and spoke of the ongoing investments facilitated by Malta Enterprise and INDIS as a clear testament to this commitment.

Joined by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, Abela saw the ongoing work on the state-of-the-art technology that addresses the testing and packaging of digital microchips for automotive, industrial applications.

Abela also witnessed the advanced technology linked to automated manufacturing run by artificial intelligence.

He said that Malta is not passive about the current global geopolitical debate on the semiconductor industry. Rather, Malta is being vocal at a European level to continue strengthening industrial competitiveness and innovation.

Abela said that it is no small feat that Malta is involved in the IPCEI in the Microelectronics and Communication Technology sector.

He said that what he witnessed in the pilot projects are the tangible first results of the IPCEI program, of which the University of Malta is an indirect partner through cooperation between educational institutions in Malta and ST Malta.

Abela also spoke of the importance of collaboration between industry and research, mentioning a recent agreement that the Government signed with IMEC, a world-renowned centre in the field of research and innovation in nanoelectronics and digital technologies.

Abela said that what started at ST will strengthen the country’s ecosystem for innovation and semiconductor technology.

“This will continue to modernise our economy, and offer the best opportunities for Maltese and Gozitans, especially the youth,” Abela said.

Schembri said that today marked a significant milestone towards Malta being a peak player in the semiconductor industry, which employs over 8% of the manufacturing sector and contributes to more than 15% of Malta’s exported foods, despite being the smallest member state in Europe.

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