UBC launches Canada’s first graduate blockchain training path

VANCOUVER, June 11, 2019 /CNW/ – 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 scale 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.

“As the country’s first graduate blockchain learning path, the initiative is transformative to the blockchain sector in Canada and beyond,” said Victoria Lemieux, UBC iSchool associate professor and Blockchain@UBC cluster lead. “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.”

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.

“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 will provide $1.324 million 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 $2.44 million for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.

“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 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.

For more information, visit: https://blockchain.ubc.ca/

Quick facts:

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, UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, is the founder of Blockchain@UBC and co-leads the cluster with Chen Feng, from UBC-Okanagan School of Engineering. Their interdisciplinary collaboration recognizes the value of a multidisciplinary approach to blockchain and distributed ledger technology development and the need to span both natural science and engineering (NSE) and non-NSE disciplines to leverage this emerging technology in the best interests of all Canadians.

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