Building a world-class life sciences research facility in Malta
RELOS3 focuses on implementing regional RIS3 in a local context by actively involving local authorities, innovation actors and companies. To do this regions require relevant infrastructure. The need for this Park was prompted by a lack of infrastructure to assist startup in life sciences - a smart specialisation area for Malta. Furthermore there was the need to increase quadruple helix collaboration beyond RIS3 strategy, one of the learning themes of RELOS3, to support startups and spinnoffs in this area in Malta.
The park allows new life sciences companies to launch with minimal preparation and start-up costs. The Life Sciences Centre brings together university students, researchers, lecturers, hospital professionals and industry to interact and establish new technology and research-based firms and clusters.
The Malta Life Sciences Park offers space, including state-of-the-art laboratories, offices, seminar and meeting rooms and a range of shared facilities, all adjacent to some of the country’s leading hospitals and universities. Nearly 30 companies of all sizes have access to experienced and professional business and financial advice, as well as assistance for taking their products and services to the global market.
The park is run by Malta Enterprise through a dedicated on site team. Beneficiaries hail from both business and academia, particular those who are just starting up or are in need for collaboration.
Project Cost: €20,792,553 – supported by ERDF
Infrastructural project 2008 – 2015, started operation in 2016 and is ongoing.
Evidence of success
The park success is measured by 3 points:
1) within 3 year of operations full occupancy (25 entities) who operate in a variety of sectors within the life sciences industry and successfully build their product portfolios.
2) Educational institutions use the Park regularly to carry out market-driven technology development and applied research in collaboration with industry.
3) the Park supports the Malta Life Sciences quadruple helix through regular events, dissemination of info, etc.
Challenges encountered have been mainly related to the learning curve of drafting the application of an ERDF application of such importance and the learning curve regarding the project management of such a large infrastructure project.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice is highly interesting for the project partners as it shows the process from identifying a national need to moulding the investment in infrastructure accordingly. Also the aptly way of using ERDF funds to support strategic investment, the process used to identify the need, stakholder involvement, the drafting of the plan etc. all this can be shared with the partners. Furthermore, results can be shared so that parters understand the potential spill over effect into the economhy of such a practice. Finally, startups themselves can be introduced to the partners to understand what has worked well for them in the park and why. Malta's reality as small economy can be particularly of interest to partner's local councils or regional governement who want to implement a science park project to address the needs of the city or region.