The EMB Bursary was established by IOI as a means of demonstrating both recognition to the host country of the IOI – Malta – for hosting the IOI Headquarters and providing facilities for staff and offices and also to achieve the establishment of a memorial to the founder of the IOI. Thus the EMB Bursary consists of a sum of Euros 3,500 (Euros three thousand five hundred), which may be used by the awardee in furthering her/his research in ocean related studies over the period of an academic year and is awarded to one successful applicant from students or staff of the University of Malta carrying out postgraduate studies in the field of marine sciences, ocean governance and/or maritime affairs. Applicants must be registered with the University of Malta Faculties of Science, Laws, or other Faculty, Institute or Centre where research in the relevant field is carried out. Registration on a programme at the University of Malta should be valid for the duration of the bursary. The awardee shall use the Bursary to assist in furthering her/his studies/research in ocean/marine-related studies at the University of Malta.
Expected Outcomes: the EMB Bursary
Previous winners of the EMB Bursary since 2010 have worked on diverse research areas in geography, conservation genetics, maritime law, engineering, and studies of environment stressors within the scope of marine and maritime related studies at the University of Malta. Past work has focussed on proposed stakeholder managed Marine Protected Areas in Malta; the determination of genetic data on the bluntnose six-gill shark for species preservation; the concept of State of Disembarkation in the context of migration law and its links to principles in UNCLOS; a study on renewable energy using ocean thermocline energy extraction; research on the influence of tuna penning activities on macrofaunal assemblages; microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea; application of MSP methodologies to deliver the first comprehensive marine spatial plan for Malta’s territorial waters; research on deep-sea communities and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and the mapping and characterising the subtidal Dendropoma cristatum bioconstructions present along cliff shores. The most recent award funded a preliminary quantitative and qualitive investigation of microplastics sampled from Maltese nearshore waters.
2013 EMB Bursary
Offshore Renewable Energy
Back in 2013 I was working on my M.Sc. by research under the supervision of Prof. Tonio Sant at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. My work focused on an innovative concept that uses an offshore wind turbine to extract both electricity and thermal energy for cooling purposes. Until this time I had been pursuing this research on my own steam, and the Elisabeth Mann Borgese bursary was actually the first grant I ever applied. So it was certainly a huge boost to win it, and beyond the financial support, it gave me a great confidence boost that can make a big difference especially in the early stages of a researcher’s career.
2018 EMB Bursary
Ecosystem-based MSP in the Maltese Fisheries Management Zone
Marija Pia Gatt
I am very thankful to have been a recipient of the EMB Bursary. The generous sum awarded went towards funding some of the research carried out as part of my doctoral studies. I am currently reading for my PhD in Geosciences, through which I am researching different tools and methods for ecosystem-based marine spatial planning in the Maltese Fisheries Management Zone. With the sum awarded, I was able to carry out an economic survey which sought to garner responses on the Maltese people’s willingness to pay for the conservation of various marine locations around Malta.
2015 EMB Bursary
Assessing levels of microplastics in Maltese waters
I was very honoured to receive the Elisabeth Mann Borgese Bursary in 2015 and thanks to it, I could conduct important and needed research on marine pollution leading to the publication of the first full investigation on microplastics’ evaluation on certain Maltese sandy beaches. This formidable opportunity allowed us to initiate a milestone in Malta into this critical issue which is plastic contamination on sandy beaches and, hopefully, will help to keep moving forward for a better conservation of our oceans. Thank you to Prof. Elisabeth Mann Borgese, thank you to the IOI team, thank you all!
2023-2024 EMB Bursary Award
The 2023 EMB Bursary was awarded to Mr Jake Bonello to carry out an investigation on the anti-fouling performance of a novel PMMA/TiO2 nanocomposite coating and shall form part of a Master of Science with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Malta. The study aims to determine if such a coating can further improve the lifetime of maritime vessels in an environmentally compatible manner. The coating consisting of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) loaded with titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes is hypothesised to provide corrosion resistance, self-cleaning and anti-fouling properties that are beneficial for the application. The EMB Bursary funds will be utilised to enhance the current research work by supporting a research trip to Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, materials and consumables necessary for the research trip as well as open-access publications.
The 2022 EMB Bursary awarded to Mr Ede Kossári-Tarnik to carry out a study on the current extent of plastic polymer contamination within Maltese coastal waters, as well as the variability in distribution of microplastics in different layers of the water column, has now come to a fruitful end. EMB Bursary funds were used to enhance the research work by supporting additional sampling and to extend the scope of planned chemical analysis.
2022-2023 EMB Bursary Award
The 2022 EMB Bursary was awarded to Mr Ede Kossári-Tarnik to carry out a preliminary quantitative and qualitive investigation of microplastics sampled from Maltese nearshore waters. The work to be covered by the EMB Bursary shall form part of a Master of Science in Geosciences (by research). The study aims to uncover the current extent of the plastic polymer contamination within Maltese coastal waters as well as the variability in the distribution of microplastics within different layers of the water column. The Bursary shall be used to fund and enhance the current research work by supporting additional sampling sites, and to fund the purchase of necessary additional equipment. All equipment bought with these funds will be available for use at the University of Malta after the research period and recognised as a donation from the IOI.
The 2021 EMB Bursary awarded to Mr Justin Cauchi, a Master’s student with the Department of Biology, has now come to an end after successfully funding research that addressed the gaps in current knowledge by mapping and characterising the subtidal Dendropoma cristatum bioconstructions present along cliff shores.
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2021-2022 EMB Bursary Award
The 2021 EMB Bursary was awarded to Mr Justin Cauchi, a Master’s student with the Department of Biology under the supervision of Dr Julian Evans and Prof Patrick Schembri. The research carried out by Mr Cauchi aims to address the gaps in current knowledge by mapping and characterising the subtidal Dendropoma cristatum bioconstructions present along cliff shores. The results will be collated with data from previous studies to understand factors affecting vertical distribution of the mollusc and the potential drivers that give rise to different types of local vermetid bioconstructions. The EMB bursary funds were utilised to enhance the research work by supporting the rental of a boat with skipper to carry out fieldwork at cliff sampling sites, to fund the purchase of an underwater housing for a DSLR camera and for genetic studies. All equipment purchased with these funds will be available for use at the University of Malta after the research period and recognised as a donation from the IOI.
2020-2021 EMB Bursary Award
Professor Louis Cassar, Ms Antonella Vassallo, Ms Joanna Causon Deguara, current EMB Bursary award winner, Pro-Rector Professor Joseph Cacciattolo
The 2020 EMB Bursary was awarded to Ms Joanna Causon Deguara, a PhD student with the Department of Geography under the main supervision of Dr Ritienne Gauci (University of Malta) and Dr Robert Inkpen (University of Portsmouth). The research carried out by Ms Causon Deguara, titled “Assessing Erosion and Mobility of Boulder Sized Clasts Along Selected Rock Coasts of the Maltese Islands."
2019-2020 EMB Bursary
Ms Anna Lucia Cantafaro using the new photographic equipment and the books bought with the EMB funds.
The 2019 EMB Bursary was awarded to Ms Anna Lucia Cantafaro to carry out research titled “Studies on deep-water benthic assemblages within the 25-nautical miles: Malta Fisheries Management Zone.”
2018-2019 EMB Bursary
The 2018 EMB Bursary was awarded to Ms Marija Pia Gatt to carry out research titled “Rationalising Malta’s marine space: application of MSP methodologies to deliver the first comprehensive marine spatial plan for Malta’s territorial waters”.
2017-2018 EMB Bursary
(L-R) Dr Moncada, Prof Borg, Pro-Rector Prof J Cacciottolo, IOI Director Ms A Vassallo, Ms T Ellul, Prof P Schembri, Dr J Evans, Prof L Cassar
The 2017 EMB Bursary was awarded to Ms Therese Ellul, a postgraduate research student at the Department of Biology of the University of Malta, to further her research entitled "The ecology of potentially invasive alien macroalgae in Maltese waters”.
“Through the Elisabeth Mann Borgese Bursary I had the opportunity to attend a three-week intensive masters degree summer course at the Station Biologique de Roscoff. The course was organized and managed by the CNRS, Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique together with Sorbonne University. It involved a series of lectures, practical coursework and fieldworks to gain skills on the identification and taxonomy of marine seaweeds. The course was enriching not only because of the knowledge shared by top professionals in the field, but also because it served as an excellent networking opportunity to meet with other international postgraduate students.”
2016-2017 EMB Bursary
(L-R) Prof Louis Cassar, Director, Institute of Earth Systems; Prof Joseph M Cacciottolo, Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs, University of Malta; Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director, IOI; Stefano Moncada,; Kristina Edwards, Bursary awardee 2015-16; and Ben Rizzo, IOI.
The 2016 EMB Bursary was awarded to Dr Stefano Moncada to carry out research titled “Climate Coping Strategies, Economic Wellbeing and Sustainability in Vulnerable Coastal Communities”.
2015 -2016 EMB Bursary
(L-R) IOI Managing Director Antonella Vassallo, Alan Deidun from the Faculty of Science, IOI honorary president Awni Behnam, Ms Edwards, University pro-rector Alfred Vella, 2014 bursary winner Marija Mangion and Victor Axiak from the Faculty of Science
The 2015 EMB Bursary was awarded to Ms Kristina Edwards to carry out a research titled "Assessing levels of microplastics in Maltese waters (Central Mediterranean) and their impacts on selected marine species in compliance with the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) obligations."
2010-2011 EMB Bursary
The 2010 Bursary was awarded to Ms Alicia Said to further her research to investigate the application of Marine Protected Areas in Malta, with a special emphasis on the Cirkewwa marine area to the north of the island of Malta.