COLLABORATION

New Curtin research lab to solve real-world problems with blockchain

SOURCE: Shutterstock
Blockchain technology continues to grow in popularity.

Curtin University is partnering with Natsoft Corporation to launch a research laboratory focussed on solving real-world industry problems using blockchain and other disruptive technologies.

The Blockchain Research and Development Lab (BRDL) will be led by Curtin’s School of Management’s Dr Vidy Potdar who will drive research in areas of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency.

Potdar says the lab will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for students, academics, industry representatives and anyone interested in the technology and have questions about its application areas and potential use cases.

“It is important for Curtin to be researching next-generation technologies like blockchain to ensure we are able to successfully navigate this technology and use it to our advantage,” he says in a press release.

“The new lab will be critical in ensuring we educate a new workforce for a blockchain-based economy, by providing training programs for industry and the broader community.”

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Once a nascent technology, the blockchain revolution has become a global phenomenon, with industries and governments everywhere seeing value in the widespread applicability and scalability potential of the distributed ledger technology, not to mention the high level of security it provides.

Valued at US$1.2 billion last year, industry predictions have said the global blockchain market will likely continue its current growth trend, hitting US$23.3 billion by 2023 at an impressive CAGR of 80.2 percent.

Perth Australia
The lab will be based at Curtin’s Perth campus. Source: Shutterstock

In higher education, this explosive growth has resulted in increasing demand for field expertise, both to fill skills gaps and to research new applications for the technology. 

A study of the US labour market by Upwork, the world’s largest freelance network, showed that knowledge of blockchain technology was the top-most in-demand speciality areas in the first quarter of 2018. International recruitment firm Hired meanwhile found that global demand for blockchain engineers grew by a staggering 517 percent across the past year.

This year, the trend hasn’t really shown signs of dissipating.

Blockchain as an area of expertise remains in fashion with LinkedIn data showing that as at end July 2019, companies have posted 16,668 job offers, 2 percent more than last year. Glassdoor’s research in the US paints an even more promising future for the field: as of late July, job postings numbered to 2,907, which is 40 percent more than last year.

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In Australia, Curtin University is among the few public universities to establish itself as a leader in the field. Last month, the school announced the launch of a cryptocurrency PhD programme that’s entirely funded by cryptocurrency.

In setting up the blockchain research lab, therefore, Curtin University aims to cement its position as a leader in blockchain innovation and R&D.

“The newly established lab will carry out applied research and development projects of national and global relevance, focusing on how blockchain and other disruptive technologies are transforming the world we live in today,” Curtin University Faculty of Business and Law Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel de Bussy said.

“The lab will help build academic collaborations with other universities and blockchain research teams from across the globe, serve the research and development needs of international bodies that require expertise on blockchain, and provide training and mentoring opportunities for PhD students who are interested in pursuing research in these areas.”

Commenting on the partnership, Natsoft Corporation Director Shyam Mamidi said the initiative will help both partners foster closer collaboration with industry and government bodies to develop solutions to real-world problems through the blockchain and other disruptive technologies.

“As part of this collaboration, Curtin and Natsoft will work together to provide opportunities for research students to go through real-life scenarios to research blockchain while experiencing the end-to-end blockchain implementation cycle,” he said.

Further information on the Blockchain Research and Development Lab can be found online here.