One of Canada’s leading research universities, the University of British Columbia, is launching a blockchain tech training path for graduate students.

According to the UBC, the program is a first in Canada. The track will focus on four areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and issues for Indigenous residents, and will officially launch next January. 

“The initiative will allow students to develop the skills around emerging technologies that are in high demand as well as drive economic growth as graduates fill the void in the industry,” said Victoria Lemieux, UBC iSchool associate professor and founder of Blockchain@UBC, in a statement.

UBC aims to train 139 students over six years, and build out services for existing master’s and PhD students in educationally adjacent areas. Interested students do not need to come to the program with blockchain experience.

The initiative is supported by 15 industry partners from a wide range of sectors, including Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company with net sales of around 17.5 billion euros in 2018.

Mitacs, a not-for-profit that works with federal and municipal governments to support industrial innovation, will reserve a potential contribution of $1.324 million over six years to match industry funding on an annual basis for up to 18 master’s and eight PhD internships, including skills training and capacity for international experience. This represents a combined potential value of over $2.44M for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.

Additionally, Blockchain@UBC receives support through UBC’s Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters program. Its research papers and projects bring academics and industry partners together to explore issues in emerging blockchain technologies. Past educational initiatives have spanned undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. 

UBC’s most recent initiative will be taught by UBC faculty from diverse disciplines, including natural science, FinTech, engineering and computer science, and information governance, as well as non-STEM fields.

“Complex, wicked problems require a collision of perspectives,” Victoria Lemieux told CoinDesk, referring to the challenges in blockchain education.

Image Credit: Kaleb Kroetsch / Shutterstock.com

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