The University of British Columbia, ranked the second-best university in Canada and among the top 50 universities in the world, has just announced it is launching Canada’s first graduate and PhD programs in the field of blockchain and distributed ledger.
According to the press release, the university aims to build capacity for existing masters and PhD students in the area and fulfill the requirements for Canada’s blockchain industry. The university seeks to enable its students with the skills to solve complex socio-technical issues in the blockchain ecosystem. The program is going to be the first of its kind in the world, equipping students with the skills to combat the problems in the FinTech and blockchain. Victoria Lemieux, an associate professor at UBC, said that:
As the country’s first graduate blockchain learning path, the initiative is transformative to the blockchain sector in Canada and beyond. The initiative will allow students to develop the skills around emerging technologies that are in high demand as well as drive economic growth as graduates fill the void in the industry.
The university aims to train more than 139 students over the next six years. It is also seeking to integrate the subject into the fields of existing Masters and PhD students at the university in similar fields like computer science and data science.
The training path will also follow four different sectors, health and wellness, indigenous issues, regulatory tech, and clean energy. 15 industry partners have also pledged support for the initiative and will be offering internships to the students at their companies. Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, will be a primary partner in the project. A spokesperson from Boehringer Ingelheim said in a statement:
“We are proud to be part of a collaboration that is considered to be the first in Canada offering multidisciplinary graduate education in blockchain technology, developing the next generation of innovators. This collaboration will allow us to grow the knowledge base and expertise of scientists to leverage the value of blockchain technology in healthcare.”
Mitacs, a non-profit social innovation company, is also interested in the program and has pledged more than a million dollars over the initial six years. The funds will be given in the form of 18 Masters and eight PhD internships to the students at UBC. A total of 156 internships represents a value of more than two and a half million dollars. Mitacs CEO in support of UBC said:
Mitacs is pleased to support UBC’s graduate blockchain initiative, which will foster innovation and the training of highly skilled talent to strengthen Canada’s leadership in this emerging area of multidisciplinary research and business transformation.
The course will be taught by the professors at UBC with a diverse disciplinary background, all of whom are well versed with different aspects of the field, like fintech, engineering, computer science, information governance. Academics from non-technical fields will also be performing the teaching duties in the newly formed program. The training path is currently under development and will be finalized and rolled out by 2020.