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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION First Maltese researcher benefiting from a scholarship at Doctoral Level at the European University Institute, Florence


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Maltese researchers now can benefit from academic scholarships offered by Government to conduct doctoral and post-doctoral research at the highly reputable European University Institute in Florence. This was stated by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela during a visit at Badia Fiesolana, part of the campus of the EUI located in the Tuscan hills. Malta marks its one-year status as a contributing member of EUI following a decision taken in 2018 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Malta to become a contributing member and by the Ministry for Education and Employment to provide scholarships for Maltese students.


At the institute, Minister Abela met with the first Maltese researcher Mr Matthias Ebejer, chosen by the board of EUI to follow a doctoral level degree researching entitled 'Spirituality in Warfare - The Knights of Malta 1530-1798'. Minister Abela congratulated Mr Ebejer at the start of his four-year study journey and ensured him all the support from the Embassy of Malta to Rome and Consulate of Malta in Florence. Mr Ebejer's doctoral research will be supported by the Ministry for Education and Employment.


Minister Abela appealed to Maltese researchers to look at Mr Ebejer as a source of inspiration and be encouraged to follow a similar path at an institute which provides exceptional career prospects.  "The EUI's distinctly international environment offers unique academic training, enriches the intellectual experience and provides exceptional opportunities for Maltese academics across disciplines and borders", said the minister.


Minister Abela was shown around the historical archives of the European Union which are situated in this institute at Villa Salvati thus providing unparalleled insight on the work of the European Union. He was shown historical papers on Malta dating back to 1962.  Minister Abela also visited the library of EUI which comprises around half a million volumes in specialised areas.


Since its founding in 1972 by the six original members of the then European Communities, the EUI has earned a reputation as a leading international academic institution with a European focus. The four departments; Economics, History & Civilisation, Law, and Politics and Social Sciences host scholars from more than 60 countries, studying for the institution's doctorate or the one-year master's in law. Currently, the EUI has over 600 students, all on scholarships from the 23 member states.


The departments and centres are housed in 13 historic buildings scattered about the hillside which have undergone extensive renovation in recent years. The EUI is financed through the membership fees of the countries and through EU funding. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion finances the country membership fee, amounting to Eur18,000 per year, calculated on a standard formula which takes into account the member countries' GDP. The Ministry for Education and Employment finances the subsistence allowance for PhD students, amounting to Eur18,000 per year for each student, for a maximum of three students in any one year, amounting to Eur54,000.


Minister Abela thanked President of the EUI Professor Renaud Dehousse and Vincenzo Grassi, Secretary General of the EUI as well as their team for their hospitality. The minister was accompanied by Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to Italy Vanessa Frazier and Honorary Consul of Malta in Florence Luca Parenti.


Open calls for doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships are open each year in autumn and spring respectively. More information is available on the EUI website.