Tuesday, June 11, 2019
UBC Launches Canada's First Graduate Blockchain Training Path
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is launching Canada's first blockchain and distributed ledger technology training path for graduate students. The initiative aims to build capacity for existing master’s and PhD students in this area and help contribute to scaling Canada’s blockchain industry while also tackling some of the world’s most complex socio-technical issues.
Set to become the world’s most multidisciplinary blockchain training path, the unique initiative will provide students with next-generation tools and applications to address issues in FinTech, engineering and computer science, and information governance through its disciplinary streams.
The training path will focus on four primary sectors: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and indigenous issues, and aims to train 139 students over six years. The initiative is supported by 15 industry partners from a wide range of sectors who will be offering students high-value internships in collaboration with Mitacs. Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. will be a flagship partner, providing funding to support research at the intersection of blockchain and healthcare.
Mitacs will reserve a potential contribution of $1.324M over six years to match industry funding on an annual basis for up to 18 master’s and eight PhD internships, including skills training and capacity for international experience. This represents a combined potential value of over $2.44M for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.
The initiative will be taught by UBC faculty from diverse disciplines, all of whom are well connected with the local community as well as blockchain research centers around the world. As part of the learning outcomes, students can expect to critically analyze blockchain solutions as well as explore innovative areas where blockchain can be applied to achieve business, social and technical benefits.
The training path will officially launch in January 2020.
"As the country's first graduate blockchain learning path, the initiative is transformative to the blockchain sector in Canada and beyond," said UBC iSchool associate professor and Blockchain@UBC cluster lead, Victoria Lemieux. "The initiative will allow students to develop the skills around emerging technologies that are in high demand as well as drive economic growth as graduates fill the void in the industry."
“We are proud to be part of a collaboration that is considered to be the first in Canada offering multidisciplinary graduate education in blockchain technology, developing the next generation of innovators,” said Uli Brödl, Vice President, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. "This collaboration will allow us to grow the knowledge base and expertise of scientists to leverage the value of blockchain technology in healthcare."
“Mitacs is pleased to support UBC’s graduate blockchain initiative, which will foster innovation and the training of highly skilled talent to strengthen Canada’s leadership in this emerging area of multidisciplinary research and business transformation,” said Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director, Alejandro Adem.
The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s entrepreneurial spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. UBC encourages its students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.
Blockchain@UBC is a multidisciplinary UBC research cluster focusing on blockchain technology as a central component in investigating the broader research question “How can emerging technologies be leveraged to benefit Canadians?”
We engage in both research and education to advance the design, development and adoption of blockchain technologies. Our research initiatives bring academics and industry partners together to explore pressing issues and advance the emergence of blockchain technologies. Our teaching initiatives span undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels to advance the knowledge and qualifications of students and professionals interested in blockchain technologies. Blockchain@UBC receives support through UBC’s Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters program.
About Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.
Improving the health of humans and animals is the goal of Boehringer Ingelheim, a research-driven pharmaceutical company. In doing so, the focus is on diseases for which no satisfactory treatment option exists to date. The company therefore concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can extend patients’ lives. In animal health, Boehringer Ingelheim stands for advanced prevention.
Family-owned since it was established in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the top 20 companies in the pharmaceutical industry. Some 50,000 employees create value through innovation daily for the three business areas of human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceuticals. In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 17.5 billion euros. R&D expenditure of almost 3.2 billion euros, corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales.
As a family-owned company, Boehringer Ingelheim plans in generations and focuses on long-term success. The company therefore aims at organic growth from its own resources with simultaneous openness to partnerships and strategic alliances in research. In everything it does, Boehringer Ingelheim naturally adopts responsibility towards mankind and the environment.
The Canadian headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim was established in 1972 in Montreal, Quebec and is now located in Burlington, Ontario. Boehringer Ingelheim employs approximately 600 people across Canada.
Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions at home and around the world. For over 20 years, Mitacs has worked with federal and provincial governments to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation.
- In recent years, blockchain has emerged as a powerful method of providing security and trust in handling data, with countless technical, economic, social and political applications.
- Blockchain is designed to enable frictionless peer-to-peer interaction without the need for a trusted middleman.
- Yet, there is little overlap between academia and industry as well as a critical shortage of qualified professionals in the industry.
- Victoria Lemieux is the co-founder of Blockchain@UBC, a multidisciplinary research cluster focusing on blockchain technology as a central component in investigating the broader research question “How can emerging technologies be leveraged to benefit Canadians?”