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Curtin’s new cryptocurrency scholarship fund a boost for PhD students

Media release

Curtin University has launched an innovative new Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund, designed by Curtin data scientists, which will enable companies and individuals to donate cryptocurrency to fund PhD students in the areas of blockchain, cybersecurity and data analytics.

Stack of cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, monero, dash, and ripple coin together, 3D rendering. New virtual money.

The crowd-sourced fund uses a Web 3.0 payment system developed by project partners Nelnet International and Centrality to enable real-time, peer-to-peer payments on both Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.

As the fund develops, a series of projects that students can apply for will be announced, while significant donors of cryptocurrency will have named PhD Scholarships in their areas of interest.

Curtin University Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Excellence Professor Garry 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.

Curtin University Commercialisation Director Rohan McDougall said the fund would build on Curtin’s existing strong capabilities in the area of data science, developed through involvement in major projects such as the Square Kilometre Array, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and collaborations with Cisco, Woodside and 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.”

The Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund will enable peer-to-peer payments from donors to Curtin University with both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Centrality will also make its Web 3.0 platform and developer toolkits available for students and researchers. This will enable the Curtin community to use real-world software to build decentralised applications that leverage the latest technology, like Industry 4.0.

Centrality Group General Manager Jerome Faury said the fund would have a significant impact on both workforces and blockchain research.

“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,” Mr Faury said.

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

Curtin is working with payment platform provider Nelnet International to offer a seamless experience to those contributing to the fund.

Nelnet International Managing Director David Heffernan said Nelnet International was excited to be partnering with Curtin and Centrality, to deliver blockchain specific applications.

“Curtin continues to be a lead innovator in higher education and we are looking forward to accepting cryptocurrency through our payments platform to support this research initiative,” Mr Heffernan said.

To make a cryptocurrency donation to the fund or for more information, visit here.