IC3RE announces partnership to explore convergence of blockchain and deep tech


IC3RE has joined forces with blockchain investment group OutlierVentures.io to undertake a three year research and development programme.

The programme will focus on the convergence of industrial blockchain with other 'deep tech' technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and autonomous robotics. The idea is to help academia and corporations move rapidly from proof-of-concepts to scaling and commercial businesses.

The programme was first conceived mid-2016 when The Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC3RE) and Outler Ventures began to discuss the need for a holistic approach to innovation in blockchain, best thought of as foundational to enabling other technologies on their own or in combination to scale securely, when applied to complex markets.

Bringing together world leading experts and emerging talent in areas such as Big Data, Machine Learning and Cryptography combined with experienced investors and entrepreneurs was seen as a huge and unique advantage when compared to the typical siloed approaches seen in the market.

Each year the program will focus on a single unifying theme, set by a joint committee of IC3RE and Outlier Ventures staff, where it is felt convergence to be most impactful to industry and society. The 2017-2018 program theme will be Industry 4.0, with key topics including securing industrial 3D printing for spare parts, IoT and automation of robotics.

The program will feature collaborations with a number of leading European manufacturers, IT and ERP providers. Corporate partners from Outlier Ventures pioneering venture platform will be invited to collaborate with students through applied research to deliver solutions that meet their strategic business needs. It is the ambition, where appropriate, these will be spun out into startups financed by Outlier and its partners.

Jamie Burke CEO of Outlier Ventures said: "’From day one we want to align all stakeholders needs; from students to the large corporations they want to work with, as well as us as investors to make sure startups can quickly establish product market fit, secure investment and win key partners and clients in order to rapidly scale into trading businesses."

The program will work across all key academic cycles throughout the year with both undergraduate and postgraduate students working on briefs from Outlier Ventures and its partners, allowing them to access some of the brightest minds from both Imperial's student body and IC3RE's directors including: Prof William Knottenbelt (Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis in the Department of Computing), Dr Catherine Mulligan (Research Fellow in Imperial College Business School), and Dr Robert Learney (Dyson Fellow in the Department of Bioengineering).

Imperial sought Outlier Ventures because of their strong reputation as early stage investors in the ecosystem who actively help startups in blockchain and more recently in the field of convergence navigate technical, regulatory and commercial risks and unknowns in this emergent web paradigm they believe to be Web 3.0.

William Knottenbelt, Co-Director of IC3RE said: "We share Outlier Venture’s vision of the potential benefits of the convergence of blockchain technology with deep tech. We are looking forward to our joint exploration of this exciting space."

Innovations expected to emerge from the program include machine-to-machine payments, cryptographically unique and secure digital assets as well as legally enforceable smart contracts.


Sean Conner

Sean Conner
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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Contact details

Email: s.conner@imperial.ac.uk

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