UBC adds blockchain program for masters and PhD students

UBC adds blockchain program for masters and PhD students

The University Of British Colombia (UBC), one of Canada’s leading research universities, will launch blockchain tech training, the first of its kind in the country, for graduate students.

The launch is due to take place in January 2020, joining blockchain educational programs in other countries. The program will address four areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and issues for indigenous residents. In a statement, Victoria Lemieux, the UBC iSchool associate professor and founder of Blockchain@UBC, said:

“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.”

UBC will train 139 students who do not necessarily need to have any blockchain experience. The training period will last six years, during which they will build out services for the existing masters and PhD students in educationally adjacent areas.

15 industry partners, covering a wide range of sectors, support the initiative. Key partners to look out for include Boerhringer Ingelheim, which is one of the top pharmaceutical companies who in 2018 announced net sales of about 17.5 billion euros ($20 million).

Another partner, Mitacs, a not-for-profit that works with federal and municipal governments to support industrial innovation, plans to reserve a potential contribution amounting to $1.324 million. In addition, they will sponsor 18 masters and 8 PhD internships.

All partners represent a potential value of more than $2.44 million to cover 156 internships, as well as post-doctoral training projects through the partnership.

As part of the funding, Blockchain@UBC will receive support through UBC‘s Grant for Catalyzing Research Clusters program.

The university’s faculty, ranging from different disciplines such as non-STEM fields, natural science, FinTech, engineering, as well as computer science and information governance, will teach UBC blockchain tech initiative. When referring to the challenges that may face blockchain education, Victoria Lemieux said, “Complex, wicked problems require a collision of perspectives.”

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