The University of Michigan (UM) in the US is to establish a collaboration through cryptocurrency through Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI).

Michigan has joined a number of universities, now numbering 11 in all, who have formed a partnership with Ripple under the scheme aimed at supporting academic research, technical development, and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

UM has announced that it plans to encourage multidisciplinary curricula in fintech through the creation of a center which will also focus on engineering and business use cases for cryptocurrencies in new applications such as smart cities. A statement from the university announced:

“The most important thing this funding allows us to do is integrate the engineering and data science with finance and policy to craft financial models to fund infrastructure, developing models to close the infrastructure finance gap.”

The grant of USD 1 million as part of Ripple’s USD 50 million UBRI, includes some of the world’s most prestigious universities including Princeton University, MIT, and University College London (UCL). Several universities across the US, along with others in South Korea, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, India, Brazil, Cyprus, and Australia are also included in the project, giving the initiative a distinctly international flavor. Last year Ripple contributed USD 50 million as part of the same initiative in South Korea alone, demonstrating the company’s intent to promote more interest in cryptocurrency in that country.

The new center at UM, to be named The Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance, will support interdisciplinary initiatives along with the College of Engineering, Ross School of Business, Ford School of Public Policy, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Senior vice president of global operations at Ripple, Eric van Miltenburg, sees such collaborations as a necessary step towards pushing blockchain technology forward. He commented.

“In less than a year, we are already seeing UBRI partners create new cross-disciplinary research programs and courses, as well as collaborate with one another to share ideas on how to grow the blockchain ecosystem,” said van Miltenburg.

 

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