The University of Surrey has been awarded £1.1m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for three blockchain initiatives focused on healthcare, voting and digital archives.
The University won three bids for initiatives using distributed ledger technology (DLT) - the underlying tech behind blockchain. The best known use of DLT is in the digital currency Bitcoin.
The first of the University's three projects, ‘Co-operative Models for Evidence-based Healthcare Redistribution' (CoMEHeRe) will start on 26 June and will run for 18 months. It aims to improve an individual's personal healthcare by using and managing biometric information created by wearable devices. The project will receive £420,045 of the overall funding.
According to the University, the project will combine data from an individual's wearable device with DLT and machine learning to securely store and access data to share with state and private healthcare providers. The aim is to enable a more targeted, personalised pattern of treatment.
The second project, dubbed ‘Trusted and Transparent Voting Systems', will look at the potential applications of blockchain in voting and collective decision-making.
The project will start on 1 June and will last for two years, with the aim of supporting a more effective and trustworthy electronic voting in different organisations. King's College London will collaborate with the University of Surrey for this particular project, which will receive £240,653 of funding.
The final project has already begun. Called ‘ARCHANGEL - Trusted Archives of Digital Public Records', the University has received £487,428 of funding for the project. It will work with the UK's National Archives and Tim Berners-Lee's Open Data Institute to develop new technology that, they hope, will ensure long-term sustainability of digital archives.
Atti Emecz, University of Surrey's acting vice president of research and innovation, claimed that these projects position the University as a UK leader, if not the UK leader in blockchain technology.
"In addition, these projects will contribute to EPSRC's delivery plan outcomes to support a more prosperous UK by working towards a more connected and healthy nation.
"The transformative uses of DLT offer huge potential and these awards allow us to work and develop on these,"
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