Science and Technology

ERA Chair project “BIG – Blockchain Innovation for Good” launched at Técnico

The project is coordinated by the Técnico professors Nuno Jardim Nunes (ITI/LARSyS) and Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues (DSG/INESC-ID Lisboa).

The kick-off meeting of the project ERA Chair “Blockchain Innovation for Good” took place this Monday, November 8, at Instituto Superior Técnico – Alameda campus. The opening ceremony was attended by professor Manuel Heitor, Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, professor Rogério Colaço, President of Técnico, professor Nuno Nunes, one of the coordinators of the project and Técnico professor, and professor Catherine Mulligan, Director of DCentral Lab, ERA BIG Chair.

Professor Catherine Mulligan presented the project team, which is composed of 50% men and 50% women. Professor Nuno Nunes highlighted the multidisciplinary nature of the team made up of people from fields as diverse as Architecture, Informatics, Computer Science and Political Economy. According to professor Catherine Mulligan, this team will work in equally diverse fields, such as New Governance/Economic Mechanisms; New Technology Paradigms; New Social/Cultural Paradigms.

Professor Manuel Heitor spoke of the need to bring more women to Science, the need for an open and collaborative European research, and the Blockchain itself, which according to the Minister requires a “collective and collaborative effort to ‘do Science’”. Professor Manuel Heitor also referred to the important role of responsible AI.

Representatives from different institutions such as the Open Earth Foundation, Anchorage (co-founded by the Técnico alumnus Diogo Mónica), Algorand Foundation and Imperial College London, participated in the event.

The project BIG (Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good), was awarded an ERA Chair – within the scope of the Spreading Excellence programme and Widening Participation (Widening), included in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. With a global 2,5 million euros funding, this project will contribute to the foundation of an interdisciplinary team dedicated to top research on topics that combine blockchain technology, innovation through design, and new solutions for societal challenges.

About Blockchain Technology

The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Blockchain technology is Bitcoin. However, Blockchain applications go far beyond cryptocurrency. They are used by several companies worldwide such as the NBA, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Carrefour, Google or Facebook, among many others.

Blockchain technology works as a data structure consisting of linked and secured blocks of data, in which the next block is going to have its own set of transaction, or “fingerprint”, different from the previous one, forming a chain in linear and chronological order. Every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, details of the transaction are recorded, thus enabling transparency of information, which is one of the biggest promises of blockchain technology.