New funding available for grad students researching blockchain

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

To help shape the future of blockchain technologies, a funding opportunity is available for master’s and doctoral candidates.

Waterloo Engineering is offering fellowships, valued at up to $50,000 for master’s and $120,000 for PhD students, to undertake research in the blockchain field.

Most of the funding for the fellowships is provided by Ripple, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in digital payments and blockchain.

Recipients of the fellowships will join Waterloo researchers and others to advance research and innovation in blockchain, cryptography and digital payment systems. Blockchains are digital ledgers that record transactions. They are secure, easy to track and can't be changed.

Last spring, the University of Waterloo joined top universities across the globe on a multi-million-dollar initiative funded by Ripple.

A leader in developing blockchain technology, Waterloo is the only Canadian participant in Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative focused on helping to contribute to the world’s research capacity in the field. 

As well as the graduate studies fellowships designed to attract new talent, Ripple’s financial contribution to Waterloo supports a Ripple Chair held by Anwar Hasan, an electrical and computer engineering professor who is an expert in cryptographic engineering, and a new research fund.

“Blockchain is really evolving, with cryptocurrency being just one application of it,” says Hasan. “People are now looking at how things can be improved in terms of scalability, privacy and more. One of the challenges Waterloo Engineering researchers are working on right now is making blockchain more applicable to more people.”

A number of faculty members from across Waterloo Engineering are involved in a wide spectrum of research in the following areas:

Wojciech Golab, a Waterloo electrical and computer engineering professor, is focusing his research on relieving the scalability bottleneck in blockchain systems by exploring methods of reducing the message complexity of consensus protocols.

“A blockchain must not only create a tamper-resistant record of transactions, but also order them sequentially and validate them against accidental or intentional misuse,” says Golab.

The deadline to apply for a blockchain fellowship is February 1, 2019, with an anticipated start date of September 2019.

How to apply for a fellowship

  1. Review the award eligibility and selection criteria
  2. Complete the application form and submit with accompanying documents to by February 1st
  3. Submit a completed graduate program application by the earlier of February 1 or program application deadline.