At a launch event held at Télécom ParisTech on 6 March 2018, Inria, SystemX, Télécom ParisTech and Télécom SudParis announced that they were to pool their competencies in the blockchain field as defined in a framework agreement formalising the joint research initiative known as Blockchain Advanced Research & Technologies (BART). It all started in late 2016 when the partners realised the need for scientific research that would feed into various IRT SystemX projects in the future. The BART initiative came out of the desire to assemble a vast research ecosystem in Paris Region – consisting of some thirty researchers – around a common roadmap with the objective of overcoming the scientific obstacles preventing blockchain’s development, in keeping with the needs of society and industry, provide an impetus for joint coordination and make their work more widely known. Until now, all the stakeholders involved have been working in isolation or bilaterally on blockchain research.
BART is currently the biggest academic research collective working on blockchain in France. The researchers from Inria, SystemX, Télécom ParisTech and Télécom SudParis will remain affiliated to their respective institutions but will work together according to a roadmap structured around six themes: theoretical models, scalability and monitoring tools, security, process architecture, data confidentiality and economic models/regulation.
The framework agreement has been signed for a period of six years. In the initial phase, a minimum of four PhD theses will be funded by the IRT SystemX and directed by researchers or lecturer-researchers from Inria, Télécom ParisTech or Télécom SudParis. Work began on the first theses in early 2018 and more will be added from September to meet the challenges of the IRT’s industrial partners.
BART will set up joint activities within the ecosystem to coordinate the initiatives of all its stakeholders (discussion days, seminars, calls for startups, special international conference sessions) and also launch new initiatives.
Finally, the results of work carried out as part of the BART programme will be boosted, in the form of promotion and dissemination, by leveraging the power of the institutes involved as well as the associated ecosystem, particularly the industrial network.