The RELOS3 project is all about Smart Specialisation at the local level. Six partners collaborate in this project, and in each area, new insights have developed over the course of the project.
Our Maltese partner Malta Enterprise has been collaborating with local stakeholders Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) and Malta Marittima. Together they have brought together policy makers, experts and key stakeholders (businesses) in the local Maritime sector as part of the RELOS3 project. The participants address the main areas for improvement in the local maritime services industry, and improvement of the overarching Maltese blue economy sector.
Maltese blue economy
In this respect, Malta offers some unique opportunities. Firstly it is a micro-nation in which the blue economy has been crucial over centuries, albeit relying on outside international companies and domestic micro-companies.
Fishery, aquaculture and biotechnology offer potential, however Malta is especially known for its infrastructure for the maritime industry, with its ship registry and a suitable legal framework with expertise in international mediation and litigation. 'Smarting up' ships (energy use, ICT, logistical processes), innovation in vessels (such as the glider shown in the picture, courtesy of the University of Malta), and improving repair facilities (so repairs are done environmentally friendly and quickly) offer huge potential in a sector that carries around 90% of the world's trade flows.
Quadruple Helix and RIS3
Within the Quadruple Helix approach and the RIS3 methodology, maritime services seem to offer the most potential, it was found through research undertaken by Malta Enterprise, MCST and Malta Marittima have undertaken the required research, stakeholder meetings and interregional visits, and are in the process of identifying the main issues the sector is dealing with and address these in a Local Action Plan, which will be presented to the Maltese Government by the end of 2018.
Maltese representatives will be present at the next visits of the project, the first of which will take place in Emmen (the Netherlands) in September.