Swell 2019: Closing Academia and Industry’s Blockchain Gap Through UBRI

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple

Mind the Gap” is a beloved warning from London’s Underground that has since crossed over into popular culture, appearing in video games, books and on t-shirts around the world. It was also the subtext of Dr. Paolo Tasca’s fireside chat about Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) at Swell 2019. 

Originally, the phrase was meant to inspire caution as travelers transitioned between trains and station platforms. While Dr. Tasca did not utter that exact phrase during his conversation with Ripple’s Senior Manager of University Partnerships Lauren Weymouth, he did speak to the gap that exists between academia and industry and the danger it represents for blockchain. 

Over time, Dr. Tasca has often observed large gaps between industry and academia around emergent technologies because of diverging points of emphasis for each sector—profits versus research. But as the Executive Director of the Center for Blockchain Technologies at University College of London (UCL), he is committed to closing the gap around the study of blockchain so that he can foster collaboration between the two groups and maximize the technology’s potential. 

UBRI has been an important part of this strategy. Dr. Tasca expressed appreciation for Ripple’s close collaboration with students and faculty. He is leveraging this relationship in three distinct ways to deliver more “close-to-market” research and align all the disparate fields of academia and business that contribute to the advancement of blockchain. 

Blockchain Community Engagement 
The Center for Blockchain Technologies (CBT) brings together more than 180 people from around the world to learn from and work with one another. Through UBRI, Dr. Tasca and CBT have issued an open call to community members to collaborate and promote research. So far, they have financed nine projects and anticipate continuing their call for participants through 2020. Through UBRI program, ...

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