Today 14 December, the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) organised its annual Research and Innovation Expo 2020. This two-day event is part of the College’s drive to increase industry-relevant research as it prepares to launch its first professional doctoral programme. The Expo is showcasing the research projects undertaken by 96 academic researchers and management staff as well as hosting 40 poster presentations by students from the College’s six institutes. Over 250 participants joined the event, which was hosted for the first time in Malta through a 3D virtual campus environment.
Minister for Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici, who was present to open the event, said: “This Expo shows the significant research and innovation work being carried out by MCAST researchers. It is exciting to see the variety in research and innovation practices which reflect the College’s diversity and specialist areas. MCAST is at the forefront of innovation, and it was one of the first institutions to launch its Artificial Intelligence Strategy and establish an Educational Technology Framework.”
Dr Ing. Alex Rizzo, Deputy Principal responsible for Research and Innovation, said:
“Ongoing research projects at MCAST span across a variety of areas, from applied science to engineering, from business and management to community services and education, from ICT to the creative arts. We decided to use an immersive virtual campus environment, to provide an engaging experience to present this work and to take the current limitations imposed by the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate.”
Within the virtual set-up, participants are joining remotely through customisable avatars and interacting within the immersive 3D campus together. The virtual campus also includes an Expo Hall exhibiting projects by students who have just completed their undergraduate degree.
The four themes of the Expo, all of which address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, are emerging technology and creative innovation; social well-being, sports and health; quality pedagogy and effective learning; environmental and cultural sustainability.