Aussie university launches crypto scholarship fund

Katie McDonaldKatie McDonaldJuly 24, 2019
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Western Australian-based Curtin University has created a PhD scholarship fund that will accept crypto donations to support PhD students studying blockchain, cybersecurity and data analytics. 

Curtin University associate deputy Vice-Chancellor Gary Allison said the scholarship fund was a great opportunity for investors in cryptocurrencies to help nurture a new crop of PhD graduates to further develop these new technologies. 

“By establishing the Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund, Curtin will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs who have realised significant benefits from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to give something back to these communities,” Professor Allison said.

The crowdsourced fund will use a Web 3.0 payment system developed by project partners Nelnet International and Centrality to enable real-time payments on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains. 

As part of the partnership Centrality will make its Web 3.0 platform and developer toolkits available for Curtin students and researchers, which will enable them to use the software to build decentralised applications that leverage the latest technology, like Industry 4.0. 

“As cutting edge technology like Web 3.0 and Industry 4.0 rapidly evolves, the agreement with Curtin will ensure that graduates are able to use up-to-the-minute skills to contribute to a future which focuses on digital equality and putting consumers back in control of their data,” Centrality group general manager Jerome Faury said. 

“These graduates won’t just research technology, they’ll contribute positively to building a more equitable digital economy.”

Curtin University commercialisation director Rohan McDougall said the fund would build on its existing strong capabilities in the area of data science. 

The university has previously been involved with major projects such as the Square Kilometre Array, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and has collaborations with multinational tech company Cisco, Woodside Energy and telecommunications company Optus. 

“Cryptocurrencies remain volatile but interest in the application of blockchain technology continues to grow,” Mr McDougall said. 

“Further work is required to identify and develop those applications that are best suited to the attributes of blockchain and Curtin University is responding to this by establishing the Cryptocurrency PhD Fund.” 

Significant crypto donors to the fund will have named PhD scholarships in their areas of interest. 

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