UoM & Gozo Ministry sign Research and Development Agreement
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A Research and Development Agreement has been signed by the University of Malta and the Ministry for Gozo, through which the University of Malta will help the Ministry increase accessibility and efficiency of the services it offers to the public.
In a statement today, they said that Research undertaken by the Department of Artificial Intelligence within the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta will be applied to produce ancillary mobile apps and web interfaces that will facilitate and enhance the communication and service provision between the Ministry and citizens.
European Union legislation requires that governments make their information accessible for citizens’ consumption. This opens up governments’ work for scrutiny and increases accountability.
“The idea of Open Data is one of the most important openness components of state institutions. Openness today does not only mean open publications and updated data, produced by state institutions and authorities in the process of their work,” the statement said.
It added that, Open Data means it is machine-readable, that is, machines and computer programs can process it, and that it is reusable without restrictions. “By opening access to their data, governments and organisations are furthermore fostering research through the development of apps and services that are useful to citizens, and that can also serve as a source of revenue (through different possible business models) for developers.”
The Government said that it is actively trying to increase the efficiency and accessibility to the Public Service by providing a series of mobile apps through which the public can access governmental services on mobile devices everywhere 24 hours a day.
Furthermore, the Ministry for Gozo and the University of Malta said that they are establishing a research collaboration in line with the philosophy of Open Government Data, to put the citizen at the centre of the information sphere.
The Government said that the first such research initiative will involve the development of a mobile app through which citizens can keep themselves updated about news events related to the Ministry for Gozo, as well as access other services through their mobile device, or the web. Such services include real-time reporting of litter anywhere around Gozo, submission of subsidy forms, as well as submission of other forms to apply for specific schemes.
This app will be accompanied with a back-end service that will enable the Ministry for Gozo staff to deal with citizens’ requests in an efficient manner, it said.
The Research and Development Agreement was signed by the Rector of the University of Malta Professor Alfred Vella, and the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Gozo, Mr John Borg.
The research and development will be led by Dr Joel Azzopardi and Dr Charlie Abela from the Department of Artificial Intelligence within the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Office of the CIO in the Ministry for Gozo.