Launch of €300,000 blockchain and DLT scholarships
A €300,000 blockchain and DLT scholarship fund was launched yesterday, aimed at students specialising in ICT, law, finance and engineering to further further their studies in DLT and blockchain technology—an amount that is to be invested over a period of three years.
This was launched through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Malta and MITA, at the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta.
Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo stated that the new scholarships allowed students to carry out research dissertations related to the latest technology—Digital Ledger Technology —at Master’s and PhD levels. The aim is to encourage young people to be at the forefront of advancement in this sector as Malta establishes itself as a leading hub for blockchain. This incentive is an essential contribution to education at large, opening new doors and opportunities within the employment sector. The government views education as an investment in itself and scholarship assistance is a testament to this.
“After the Maltese Government came up with a regulatory framework to regulate this emergent sector while attracting companies which operate in this space to do so in Malta, the next step forward was to invest in the human resource in order for companies to operate from Malta”, explained Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri.
He noted that some of the blockchain-based companies that decided to base their headquarters in Malta are already renting out offices and are well into the recruitment process. “In view of this, we are aware that these companies need technical resources both to build and to operate by use of this technology, as well as experts in financial services, law and manigerial roles”, said Schembri, while adding that he looks forward to seeing Maltese students occupying such important posts in this sector.
He also encouraged students to benefit from these scholarships and specialise in a new and emergent sector that is set to positively impact Malta’s economic growth.
MITA Executive Chairman Tony Sultana said that this initiative sustains other initiatives which MITA is taking along with other educational institutions with the aim of increasing the number of students who pursue a career in the ICT sector. “These initatives are part and parcel of MITA’s strategy of investing in new technologies such as blockchain and DLT while providing the necessary tools to encourage students to further their studies in these subjects”, said Sultana.
He also said that besides educational initiatives, MITA carries out a number of training session for MITA employees and those within the public sector with the aim of familiarising them with this technology. Tony Sultana also spoke of MITA’s commitment to invest and sustain human resource, hence why it will be the main IT partner during the Delta Summit 2018, Malta’s Official Blockchain and Digital Innovation Event, which is to be held in October.
Rector of the University of Malta Prof. Alfred Vella reiterated the university’s commitment to continue its internal exercise to see to degree and master’s programmes in several areas including law, finance and ICT amongst others, being reviewed in the coming 18 months to include units covering the areas of DLT, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and regulation, AI, IOT, fintech and regtech. The purpose behind this exercise is to have educational programmes in place which are in line with the government’s strategy to make Malta “the blockchain island”.
Scholarships will be made available for students starting their studies during the scholastic year 2018/2019. The scholarship will be open for any UoM course at master’s and doctorate level on a full-time or part-time basis, having at least a minimum of 30 ECTS directly related to DLTs that is to be ensured through the Centre for DLTs, independent of the faculty within which the student forms part of. Students will be provided with full sponsorship for the course and the amount to be awarded is to be fixed for all students.