UK Research Council to Award £3.6 Million in Blockchain Grants

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A UK-based research agency charged with distributing government grants has announced that £3.6m ($4.5m) will be made available to seven blockchain projects.

Revealed yesterday, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said the grants will range from £420,000 ($525,000) to £617,000 ($772,000). The funds will be issued under its “Digital Economy Theme”, an effort aimed at supporting research around digital technologies that could have a positive impact on daily life.

The EPSRC is the main funding agency for science and research initiatives in the UK, investing approximately £800m ($100m) annually for research and postgraduate training.

According to EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson, the decision to award the blockchain grants was made due to the apparent maturation of the industry beyond financial use cases.

He said in a statement:

“Distributed Ledger Technology may be synonymous with bitcoin to many, but as these projects show it has disruptive potential across a wide range of products and services. If it delivers on its radical promise, it could make a significant impact on the economy and society.”

Each of the seven EPSRC-funded projects will bring together universities and private-sector companies, with projects being led by professors from British colleges and universities.

Receiving the most funding, at £617,000, will be an initiative focused on regulation and compliance models.

The project is being led by Professor Tomaso Aste of University College London and will gain insight from blockchain consortium R3, as well as public institutions like the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission, the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the London School of Economics.

The second most highly financed project seeks to develop trusted and transparent voting systems, using distributed ledger tech.

Perhaps unsurprising given the increasing interest in central bank-backed digital currencies, the EPSRC will also fund an initiative that will use data analytics to steer monetary policy decisions regarding the money supply.

British pound image via Shutterstock

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