Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) has been selected by blockchain major Algorand Foundation, as part of its $50 million program, to host a new research and education center aimed at developing and advancing blockchain technologies.

Known as the Algorand Centre of Excellence at NTU (ACE@NTU), NTU is one of ten new Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACE) established earlier this month, NTU said in a statement on Wednesday.

Algorand was first established by Professor Silvio Micali from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. It is a fully decentralized, secure, and scalable blockchain that provides a common platform for building products and services for a borderless economy.

The aim of the ACE program is to establish a global network of blockchain and cryptocurrency research and education centers that advances collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cutting-edge knowledge and technology.

Over the next five years, ACE@NTU aims to become the nexus for blockchain education and research as well as foster a vibrant ecosystem to advance blockchain development and adoption in Singapore and the region.

NTU Deputy President and Provost Prof Ling San said blockchain is a rapidly evolving field where NTU faculty have made research breakthroughs, and in which industry is very keen to collaborate and build up expertise.

“As a world-leading University with deep expertise in computer science and related fields, we now aim to groom a pool of talent in blockchain for Singapore,

“Through research, new programs and upgrading courses, NTU will equip undergraduates, postgraduates and industry professionals with cutting-edge blockchain knowledge and know-how, in order to accelerate industry adoption of the technology,” he added.

According to him, ACE@NTU will also develop real-world blockchain applications in collaboration with industry partners, which will have societal, sustainability and economic for Singapore and the region.

There are five initial blockchain research projects, of which one of them is SGVerse – a metaverse platform for smart grid technologies to be tested out across the world. Two other projects include blockchain implementation for enterprise use, and blockchain-powered machine learning for financial data management.

To facilitate exchange and cooperation among leading institutes and to promote the use of blockchain technology among key decision makers and the public, an International Blockchain Technical Alliance will also be set up by ACE@NTU.

NTU will also look to nurture new talents in the field through a new Master of Science in Blockchain postgraduate programme and a Minor in Blockchain for undergraduates.

These modules will educate students on Algorand-related technology and content, with hands-on experience on its blockchain platform, promoting awareness and adoption of Algorand technology in the ecosystem.

Plans are also in the works to develop these modules into bite-sized courses that can be combined to achieve a FlexiMaster or micro-credentials, with Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses made online for learners all over the world.

The NTU Smart Campus will provide an ideal test-bed for the new solutions that result from the Centre’s education, research and innovation activities.

As an open-testbed, NTU will establish an “Innovation Sandbox” for blockchain, providing an environment where appropriate safeguards are in place and specific legal and regulatory requirements are relaxed for new blockchain technologies to be test-bedded and validated.

This sandbox will then help to accelerate industry uptake and commercialization of blockchain technologies.

NTU Singapore and RGE launch $4.4M joint research centre to tackle textile waste