Researchers from Australia and the Pacific region, led by Monash University, are among ten global winners of the Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACE) Program, sharing US$50 million to strengthen blockchain technology, education and innovation.
The five-year Sustainability Informatics for the Pacific Project, the only Australia-led ACE, will involve multidisciplinary researchers from seven universities and two not-for-profit organisations across Australia and the Pacific headed by the Monash Blockchain Technology Centre.
Project lead and Monash Blockchain Technology Centre Director, Associate Professor Joseph Liu, said the project aims to develop sustainable and innovative blockchain technology for the Pacific region keeping in mind the unique needs of the community.
The Project will be connecting with Pacific and Australian communities through consultation and training workshops, hackathons, community meetups and competitions in order to provide support, opportunities and resources, and to ensure long-term community sustainability beyond the lifetime of this ACE.
“The goal is to create a significant real-world impact in the region built on a foundation of research, education and community-led participation and support,” Associate Professor Liu said.
“Though associated primarily with cryptocurrency, blockchain technologies can actually be used in diverse sectors such as strengthening renewable energy optimisation, providing a fair platform for carbon trading, creating robust supply chains for food and agriculture, securing financial technologies and ensuring cultural sustainability for heritage art and music.
“As part of the Pacific family, we want to ensure that Australia and the region benefit from the best collaborative research for stronger and sustainable technological resources.”
The ACE Program is an initiative of the US-based Algorand Foundation, whose mission is to grow the ecosystem of Algorand, a carbon-negative blockchain invented by Turing Award winner and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Silvio Micali.
Algorand Foundation Principal Researcher and ACE Program Head, Dr Hugo Krawczyk, said the selection process for the final winners of the program was incredibly difficult, given the number of applications received.
“We are delighted to see how many bright, talented people around the globe recognise the ability of blockchain technology to fundamentally change and better the world we live in, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the amazing work the grant recipients do in the coming months and years,” Dr Krawczyk said.
The ACE on Sustainability Informatics for the Pacific Project includes researchers from the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Fiji, the University of the South Pacific, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Oceania Cyber Security Centre and ClimateWorks Centre, led by Monash University.