On October 18th, 2019 the fourth Annual National Water Conference was held at the Institute of Applied Science within the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) [Details about the event can be found in Annex A & B]. Each year the Water Research and Training Centre – MCAST organizes the national water conference with the aim to showcase the latest local developments within the field of water.
The 2019 edition theme was focused on ongoing fundamental and applied research projects. The target audience for this edition were students that held an interest to the subject theme. The main objective was to inform students about the current and emerging water research projects. The intention was to kindle an interest in students to become tomorrow’s water researchers and technologists. In addition to students, a number of people interested in water attend the conference. Attendee include persons from Water services corporation (WSC), MCAST staff, water researchers, water industry professionals, UoM staff, as well UniCT, CNR staff. Over fifty participants attended the conference.
To reach this aim the conference was divided into 3 parts. The first part of the conference was about innovative developments happening on a national scale within the field of water whereby Ms. Elisabeth Cremona from The Energy and Water Agency gave a presentation about the development of a research and innovation strategy.
The second part of the conference saw the launching of a new project entitled Platform of Vocational Excellence in Water or PoVE Water. This project falls under the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) – Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliances framework. This conference section was opened by a video address by project leader Ms. Erna van der Weff (Learning Hub Friesland). She explained that Pilot PoVE water is a transnational project that draws on existing and emerging vocational competences and skills needs in the water sector, translating them into an approach of vocational excellence. She highlighted the importance of the project in a European context within the water sector. Mr. Edwin Zammit, Deputy Director for Innovation (Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology), was the next speaker. During his presentation he explained how the different partners will be working together to achieve the main project goals and how the development of the platform is going to continue in the next couple of years. Afterwards Mr. Pablo Micallef, Media Engagement and Corporate Image of the Water Services Corporation, gave an inspiration speech about empowering the new generation of water researchers and technologists for a new sustainable work force. Additionally, he explained the different projects WSC is currently working on with the help of Students.
The third part of the Conference related to the MicroWatTS project which is an Interreg project. This session was chaired by Prof. Maurice Grech from University of Malta and project leader of Micro WatTS and consisted of talks by the key academic Italian and Maltese partners.
The first speaker was Dr. Ing Stephen Abela, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering of the University of Malta, who introduced the project and has illustrated the implications of the project on sustainable water usage.
The second speaker was Dr. Alessandro Di Mauro, Senior Researcher Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, who talked about the Novel Synthesis of ZnO/Polymer nanocomposites application in water treatment. He discussed various deposition techniques used and identified that Atomic layer deposition + solution casting and direct ALD on PMMA is the easiest and industrial scalable model.
The third speaker was Dr. Frederick Lia Senior Researcher for MCAST speaking about Electron Transfer Based Methods for the Determination of Titanium Oxide Doped Surfaces.