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Wednesday, 24 July 2019 11:39

Curtin Uni launches cryptocurrency scholarship fund

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Curtin University has launched a 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, cyber security and data analytics.

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.

Curtin says that 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,” 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, enabling 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.

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

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


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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