The Oxford Foundry partners with Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI)

by | Nov 19, 2019

Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) is a collaboration with top universities around the world to support and accelerate academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

UBRI was introduced in June 2018 and since then it has grown substantially, embracing more than 30 universities across 14 countries. This initiative has led to more blockchain related programs being offered to students across the world, more conferences and workshops, research and awareness.

On November 14th, the Oxford Foundry announced that it partnered with Ripple’s UBRI.

According to the announcement, with this partnership, the Oxford Foundry is planning to tackle the growing technology skills gap in the UK. More specifically:

Through the Foundry’s new Tech Series, up to 1,000 University of Oxford students from across all Oxford colleges and divisions will be given the opportunity to gain new skills in blockchain, AI and machine learning across different industries. Students will also be given the opportunity to learn how to code in Python and build smart contracts.

The Tech Series will be delivered through the Foundry’s experiential learning model. Mentors, academics and student experts, drawn from Oxford’s networks and vast intellectual capital will deliver and facilitate workshops and bootcamps through peer-to-peer learning and the Zone of Proximal Development.

The series will also deliver a Tech Talent Networking Series to connect exceptional student talent with companies that are leading in blockchain and AI, and convene a blockchain thought-leadership group to focus on emerging topics and publish expertise.”

Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry said: 

We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with Ripple. The UK has a big tech skills gap and we’re helping address that. Since 2014 the number of AI job postings has increased by 485% and a quarter of companies highlight that a lack of available AI talent is a primary inhibitor in their efforts to adopt AI (Gartner). There are 2.4 million students studying at universities in the UK and we have a responsibility as a university to nurture our future global workforce and give them the skills and experience they need to succeed.

Tech skills are valuable whatever career students have ahead of them. They open up new career pathways in entrepreneurship and venture creation and we’re creating a new generation of ventures that use this tech for good and put society and the environment first, right from the beginning. We’re passionate about building equal opportunities and nurturing talent from all demographics.

Ripple’s support will help us give tech skills to more students and continue to build our Foundry community. We’ve already created a network of 3,000 entrepreneurial student members, and our ventures have raised over £8m. We’re excited to see what’s next and how we can use the very latest technologies to build sustainable, world-changing solutions to society’s challenges. We’re very grateful to Ripple for giving us this opportunity.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple said:

“Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative was founded to support university-level research and innovation in blockchain around the world. Today, a key focus of the initiative is to address the blockchain skills gap as the need for talent in this emerging technology category continues to grow. In fact, an earlier study found that 89 percent of UK employers expect a shortage of skilled technology professionals in the next year — and we believe academia plays a key role in preparing the next generation of students through courses, workshops and activations related to blockchain and financial technology.

The Oxford Foundry is the University of Oxford’s entrepreneurship centre. The Foundry supports all 24,000 students at Oxford, as well as all alumni, to better society through entrepreneurship. The Foundry does this through knowledge exchange, multi-disciplinary collaboration and experiential skills training.

Currently, the following universities have joined UBRI:

  • ANU Law (Australia)
  • CITP at Princeton (United States)
  • CSAIL at MIT (United States)
  • TU Delft (The Netherlands)
  • FGV (Brazil)
  • Berkeley Haas (United States)
  • Institute of Technology Bombay (India)
  • IIIT Hyderabad (India)
  • Korea University (South Korea)
  • McCombs School of Business, UT-Austin (United States)
  • Stanford University (United States)
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
  • Penn University (United States)
  • UCL (United Kingdom)
  • Universite Du Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
  • University of Nicosia (Cyprus)
  • University of Oregon (United States)
  • University of Waterloo (Canada)
  • Tsinghua University (China)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (United States)
  • Cornell University (United States)
  • Duke University (United States)
  • Georgetown University (United States)
  • University of Kansas (United States)
  • University of Michigan (United States)
  • Morgan State University (United States)
  • National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  • Northeastern University (United States)
  • University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  • Kyoto University (Japan)
  • University of Tokyo (Japan)

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