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Government investing €300,000 in Blockchain and DLT scholarships

Publication Date: Aug 29, 2018
In the next three years, Government will be investing €300,000 in scholarships related to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs). Through these scholarships, a number of students will have the opportunity to expand their education at Masters and Doctorate levels.

This was announced by the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Honourable Silvio Schembri during the launch of these scholarships at the University of Malta. 

The Parliamentary Secretary explained that after Government’s drafting of the legislative framework to attract foreign investors from this sector to invest in our country, it is now important for our country to invest in the human resource required for these company to operate. 

Honourable Silvio Schembri said that these companies will not only require technical experts to build and operate their systems with these technologies, but will also require non-technical workforce that has expertise in the financial services, legal services and even managerial roles. 

MITA’s Executive Chairman, Mr Tony Sultana explained that this initiative is intended to continue building up on several other initiatives undertaken by MITA, together with educational institutions like the University of Malta, to increase the number of ICT students who pursue further education at a Masters and Doctorate level. 

Mr Sultana also said that these initiatives are part of MITA’s strategy to invest in new technologies such as Blockchain and DLT, while supporting those who wish to further their studies in this area. Apart from this initiative, MITA’s Executive Chairman also referred to a number of sessions which were delivered to MITA and public sector employees to increase the awareness about how emerging technologies like Blockchain can be used in the best way within Government. He also mentioned that an intensive technical course was delivered. 

University of Malta Rector, Professor Alfred J. Vella described how the national strategy on blockchain and DLT has put our country on the global blockchain map. He explained that it was for this reason that the University of Malta is working on such initiatives to provide a solid pillar in education to sustain the “Blockchain Island”.

Professor Vella explained that according to the Government strategy, the University will continue with this exercise to strengthen this important sector for our economy. He also explained that the initiative being launched today encourages more students to expand their knowledge in this sector. 

The University Rector said that many students can benefit from this scheme, as long as their main study component is related to Blockchain and DLT. He explained that the faculties and sectors which can make use of this scheme include ICT, Finance, Law and Management. The scheme is open for those students starting this academic year. Applications will open today and students who would like to apply should visit the University of Malta website.  

For the launch, the Rector was accompanied by the Director of the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies, Dr Joshua Ellul who expressed his satisfaction of representing the centre during such an initiative. He explained that these technologies offer new methods of offering services in a decentralised manner. 

However, Dr Ellul also said that these technologies offer new academic and educational challenges in different sectors such as ICT, law, finance and commerce. Together with these challenges, he also mentioned the skilled workforce that is required to sustain the large number of DLT companies who have shown their interest in investing in Malta. 

Dr Ellul said that the University of Malta has been delivering FinTech lectures, including elements of blockchain, for the last four years. However, he explained that once Malta adopted the “Blockchain Island” strategy, the University of Malta reacted immediately by developing several study units which are delivered through different programmes. The University of Malta also opened a Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies that will start offering Masters programmes in IT, Law and Commerce as from next year. 

The Minister of Education, Honourable Evarist Bartolo praised this initiative, while explaining that such initiatives will enable our students to be at the forefront in developing their skills in this sector and therefore help our country to become a centre for blockchain.