ERA Chair Team has been recruited: five new researchers join BIG ERA Chair project

The BIG ERA Chair project had completed the recruitment process for the BIG ERA Chair Team, which will be enriched with five new members. Teresa, Kevin, Mariana, Alfio, and David are the five names recruited by the ERA Chair Holder Cathy Mulligan and the PIs Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues.

In October, the first two, Kevin Gallagher and Mariana Pestana have joined as Invited Assistant Professors. Kevin is American and Irish and received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the Tandon School of Engineering of the New York University (2020). He has professional experience in Cybersecurity, and he is currently developing democratic and horizontal security systems for activists and powerless actors. Mariana holds a PhD in Architectural Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture from University College London (2019), and she is a Portuguese curator exploring critical, social and fictional dimensions of design for technological progress and ecological crises.

This fall, the project will also welcome Alfio Puglisi as Invited Assistant Professor. Alfio is Italian and holds a PhD in Political Economy from King’s College London (2021). He brings his knowledge on digital economy and currently is studying the interaction of political and economic systems of financial innovations in the area of DLT regarding collective decision making.

In the first semester of 2022, the team will be completed: Teresa Almeida, a Portuguese researcher currently living in Sweden, will join us as an Invited Associate Professor by January, and the Portuguese researcher David R. Matos will close the team joining by June as Invited Assistant Professor. With a rich background in Design, Teresa received her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at Newcastle University (2017), and she is an expert on interaction design. Last but not least, David – who holds a PhD in Computer Science from Técnico (2019) – will bring his expertise on distributed systems, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

Catherine Mulligan PhD., has been appointed as the BIG ERA Chair

Cathy brings her long track record in digital economy research focussing on sustainable development, digital technologies and economics to the role.

Cathy is an interdisciplinary researcher who has a long track record of working at the boundaries of economics, sustainable development and digital technologies.  She has led multiple research projects across the UK, EU, Australia, India and Malaysia and over £6 million of UK research grants across various aspects of the emerging digital economy.  Cathy was early to notice the potential and applicability of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in particular for their possible role in sustainable economic and social development, picking up research in that space from 2009.  Cathy was a founding Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering – which was the world’s first academic research centre into Cryptocurrencies.  The centre ran over 40 Proofs of Concept and span out of £40 million of projects during Cathy’s time there.

Cathy has consulted at senior levels for various international organisations and was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma during 2019 which helped establish the UNSG’s roadmap within the digital space.  She has worked extensively with various governments across the world providing input to industrial strategies for economic growth, is a regular advisor to companies and start-ups in the digital space and has spent several years in VP, Director and CTO roles at various companies.

Cathy was a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Council and is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s Data Policy Council.

She received her MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development and her PhD from the University of Cambridge.  She is a Visiting Lecturer at Imperial College and Honorary Senior Research Associate in the computer science department at University College London.  Cathy has written 7 books on digital technologies, the latest one is on 5G.

“I am really excited by the opportunity to work at Tecnico and to build the research lab on Blockchain for Social Good.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring all of my technical, economic and sustainable development research together in one space.  I’m really excited to bring this work to Portugal and build new research connections both here and beyond”- Cathy Mulligan

“We are excited to have Cathy joining Técnico, she brings experience and expertise in working with industry in the blockchain domain but also with NGOs and applications of the technology for social good. Cathy is also capable of bridging the core areas of LARSyS and INESC-ID serving as an effective bridge between cloud computing and HCI research where we are already strong. We hope that Cathy will help us boost the impact of our research and further Tecnico in the area of Blockchain Technologies for Social Good” – Nuno Jardim Nunes

Demystifying Blockchain Technology Panel – December 18, 2020

On December 18, 2020, ITI/LARSyS and INESC-ID promoted an online panel on Demystifying Blockchain Technology. The panel included 3 international speakers with experience in Blockchain Technologies:

  • Cathy Mulligan, UCL and Imperial College London
  • Chris Speed, Institute for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Allen Clement, DFINITY
The video of the panel is now accessible:

Demystifying Blockchain Technology Panel – Friday 18 Dec. 2020 from 11:00 to 12:30

ITI / LARSyS and INESC-ID are promoting an online panel this Friday from 11:00 to 12:30 (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/88345104347) on Demystifying Blockchain Technology. The panel will include three short talks by the speakers followed by an open discussion.

The Panel will include three International speakers with experience in BlockChain technologies:

  • Cathy Mulligan, UCL and Imperial College London
  • Chris Speed, Institute for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Allen Clement, DFINITY

Dr. Catherine Mulligan: Blockchain and Europe’s Common, Decentralised Future

Abstract: Since the dawn of the computing era, we have experienced fluctuations between centralised and decentralised computation – firstly with mainframes, then with PCs through to cloud computing and finally to smart phones and IoT devices. For the vast majority of computing’s life, computational capacity has been located within the realms of the corporate sphere – hidden behind large capital investments and firewalls. As of 2004, however, two separate but deeply intertwined things occurred – firstly, the world saw the emergence of true Open APIs – APIs that permitted anyone with an internet connection to access data (e.g. on Facebook, or Twitter) and secondly, the same amount of computing power that took mankind to the moon was placed into the hands of end-users, not just companies. The end result of those two things was blockchain – a new form of decentralisation that challenges not just our notions of centralised / decentralised computing – but the very foundations of our economy itself. Whole new forms of business models are enabled by Blockchain – from decentralised data marketplaces to decentralised food production. Indeed, as the next wave of decentralisation descends upon us – in the form of AI on the Edge and AI on the device, blockchain will play a critical role in the emergence of a new European economy – a truly digital economy. More importantly, blockchain can help us build a European economy that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. This talk will outline the interdisciplinary path that Europe needs to follow in order to achieve this as our world comes to terms with its past and faces its uncertain future – together but decentralised.

Bio: Dr Cathy Mulligan has over 25 years’ experience in technology across both industry & academia; she is an Honorary Researcher at UCL, visiting researcher at Imperial College & VP/Region CTO for North & West Europe at Fujitsu. Prior to joining Fujitsu, she co-founded and was Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering at Imperial College, where she helped develop over 45 proofs of concept around Blockchain. Also while at Imperial College, she led over £6 million of interdisciplinary grants in the Digital Economy and had a joint appointment between the business school and the Computer Science. Within her work at UCL, Cathy leads the work around “DataNet” – a blockchain-based infrastructure designed to rebalance and redistribute the geo-political balance of technology across the world. She has a strong interest & track record in using research to influence policy in different arenas, including high-level policy discussions at various levels across governments, NGOs, UN, OECD & EU around various digital technologies including 5G, blockchain & IoT. She is the author of 7 technology books (academic press). She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Data Policy Global Future Council and was a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Council and has authored several reports with them. Cathy has a strong commitment to sustainability and equitable access to technology, evidenced by her being a panel member of the UNSG’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. She received her Masters and PhD from the University of Cambridge and her BSc (Hons 1) from UNSW, Australia.

Dr Allen Clement: What is blockchain?  What does it provide?  What is it (not) good for?

Abstract: What is blockchain? What does it provide? What is it (not) good for? Allen Clement will explore these questions by revisiting key points in his 17 years of working on blockchain and its underlying technologies. This journey starts with the ivory tower pursuit of understanding what might be possible and demystifying the Byzantine world. The second piece of the journey takes a turn through deploying and operating blockchain technology in an industrial environment. The third, and final, stage focuses on matching the capabilities (and limitations) of blockchain technology with business needs.

Bio: Dr. Allen Clement has been working on blockchain and its underlying technologies since 2003.  He is currently Co-Founder and CTO at TRIANGLE Capital Markets AG, which is developing a global digital exchange for alternative assets.  Prior to TRIANGLE, Allen led the cross-chain coordination/messaging team at DFINITY, built an internal blockchain for core security primitives at Google, and built/published at least six blockchains while in academia.  Allen received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and AB in Computer Science from Princeton University.

Professor Chris Speed: Blockchain by Design

Abstract: What happens when we give physical things wallets containing digital currencies? How can this alter power relationships and shift social dynamics? Chris Speed will explore these questions by highlighting the use of smart contracts in design, from a coffee machine that lets you vote for your coffee bean and pays those who clean it, to a hairdryer that trades on the energy market to offer the best price for drying your hair. As objects are connected to the Internet, forming the ‘Internet of Things’, Chris asks what happens when technologies are given their own spending power, and what this implies for the human.

Bio: Prof. Chris Speed FRSE, is Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh where he collaborates with a wide variety of partners to explore how design provides methods to adapt, and create products and services within a networked society. Chris directs the Institute for Design Informatics that is home to a combination of researchers working across the fields of interaction design, temporal design, anthropology, software engineering and digital architecture, as well as the PhD, MA/MFA and MSc and Advanced MSc programmes. Chris is Director of Creative Informatics R&D Partnership, one of the nine AHRC funded Creative Industries Clusters in the UK, and is Co-I to the Next Stage Digital Economy Centre DECaDE led by Surrey with the Digital Catapult. Chris was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2020.

HORIZON 2020 – Project BIG

Enhancing the research and innovation potential of Tecnico through Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social GoodBlockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) are transformative and bring about a potential for improvement in the European citizenship and economic growth – enabling decentralised, trusted, transparent, user-centric digital services and stimulate new and improved business models and promote decentralised social innovations.

Técnico researchers win EUR 2,5 million for a project that combines digital technologies with major societal challenges

Professors Nunes Jardim Nunes and Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues are part of a restricted group of researchers awarded with ERA CHAIRs, funded under the EU programme Horizon 2020.

The project BIG (Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good), led by two Técnico researchers, from ITI / LARSyS and INESC-ID, was awarded an ERA Chair – within the scope of the Spreading Excellence programme and Widening Participation (Widening), included in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. During the next 5 years, the team led by the Técnico professors (DEI/IST)) Nuno Jardim Nunes (ITI / LARSyS) and Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues (INESC-ID), will have a EUR 2,5 million funding, which allow to build an interdisciplinary team dedicated to top research on topics that combine blockchain technology, innovation through design and the development of new solutions for societal challenges.

INESC-ID Recent Achievements in H2020

Researchers from INESC-ID have recently been successful through the participation in four European competitive projects: Olissipo leaded by Susana Vinga, BIG co-leaded by Rodrigo Rodrigues, TAILOR and HumainE-AI-Net with the participation of Ana Paiva.

Olissipo is a twinning action, meaning that stands for institutional networking to strengthen a specific field of research. In Olissipo “Fostering Computational Biology Research and Innovation in Lisbon” the goal is to enhance the INESC-ID competences in the field of Computational Biology and developing it into an international pole of excellence. Susana Vinga is the principal researcher involved in this special widening action.

CMU Portugal National Directors awarded € 2.5M in European funding for a project addressing technology, innovation and design

For the next five years, Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues (CMU Portugal National Directors) will be leading the project Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good (BIG)- a European Research Area (ERA) Chair from the European Commission.

The €2.5 million euro project will gather an interdisciplinary research team to address blockchain technology, innovation through design, and the development of new solutions for societal challenges. Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) are transformative and bring about a potential for improvement in European citizenship and economic growth.