The CORALLO project holds its second Steering Committee meeting in Malta

The CORALLO project, funded within the ambit of the Interreg Italia-Malta 2014-2020 second Call for proposals, recently hosted its second Steering Committee meeting, hosted in Malta on a physical basis. The meeting featured opening interventions by Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funding Hon. Stefano Zrinzo Azzopardi and by Sicilian Environment Minister Hon. Salvatore Cordaro.

The CORALLO project aims to contribute to the responsible enjoyment of local marine NATURA 2000 sites (MPAs) through a diverse array of edutainment tools which represent both an awareness- generation resource as well as a means of informal education for a varied spectrum of audiences. These edutainment tools include both non-mobile/fixed assets and mobile ones, which will be installed, with the consent of Heritage Malta and the MTA, within four of Malta’s most iconic public Museums located on the coast – i.e. the Malta Maritime Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Ghar Dalam Museum and the Hagar Qim Museum.

CORALLO is the only funded project within the Interreg V-A Italia-Malta 2014-2020 2 nd Call for proposals to be coordinated/led by the University of Malta, having kickstarted on the 15th November 2020, running for 30 months till 14 May 2023, with a total budget hovering around the 1.5 million euros. Besides the University of Malta, the seven-partner project Consortium also features the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and Heritage Malta from the Maltese side, and ARPA Sicilia, the University of Palermo, the Consorzio Plemmirio and Corissia from the Italian side.

Non-mobile/fixed assets include underwater CCTV camera installations, VR (Virtual Reality) facilities as well as interactive panels and themed dioramas relying heavily on the ICT approach. Besides fixed/immobile facilities installed within the aforementioned venues, CORALLO will also strive to deliver a number of ubiquitous tools (e.g. YouTube documentaries, smartphone apps) and mobile ones (e.g. mobile exhibitions for schools) pursuant to delivering an effective ocean literacy product in line with the UN’s Decade for Ocean Sciences (2021-2030) and the EU’s Green Deal and Mission Starfish objectives.

From a Maltese/local perspective, the project is consistent with ERA’s obligation to conduct a dissemination strategy for local marine Natura 2000 sites, which collectively cover a total area equivalent to 35% of our Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ), in excess of 4100km 2, or 14 times the terrestrial area of the Maltese archipelago.

CORALLO has been conceived and is coordinated by Prof. Alan Deidun, resident academic within the Oceanography Malta Group (OMG) of the Department of Geosciences at the Faculty of Science, who is also Principal Investigator on the SENHAR project, also approved within the same Funding Programme. Dr. Adam Gauci and Mr. Johann Galdies, affiliated as well to the OMG, are also engaged on the CORALLO project.

The pre-award team at the Project Support Office (PSO) as well as the Research Support Services Directorate (RSSD), the Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO) and the Legal Office all played an essential role prior to the CORALLO proposal submission in order to ensure its high quality.

Further information about the project can be gleaned through the project’s website and through the project’s social media pages.