With the participation of St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, the centre explores application of technology for the economy
Under the direction of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, the world's largest blockchain-competence centre is currently being formed in Austria. It is dedicated to the scientifically-based further development of technology and its application in various economic sectors.
St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is taking part through its leadership of one of five centre divisions whose purpose is research in the subject of "Emerging Industries & Blockchain in Industry 4.0".
United cutting-edge research
Blockchain is a decentralised protocol for transactions between parties, even if there is a lack of mutual trust. It is thereby the basis for cryptocurrencies but can also be applied in many other areas. Austria is one of those countries where blockchain know-how was established very early on. Last week the Austrian Blockchain Center (ABC) was approved. It is the world's largest blockchain-competence centre and will now be able to bundle comprehensive interdisciplinary skills in the fundamentals and application of blockchain technologies at one address.
The ABC is comprised of 21 scientific institutions, 54 companies and 17 associated contributors, including 16 international institutions/companies. The research focuses of the centre range from Industry 4.0/Internet of Things through the finance, energy and logistics sectors to applications in the public sector and administration. The goal of the centre is the scientifically-based (further) development of applications that depend on blockchain technologies.
In the centre, St. Pölten UAS heads so-called "Area 3", the subject area for Emerging Industries, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. "The Austrian Blockchain Center unites advanced blockchain research in Austria with a unique consortium. St. Pölten UAS itself will contribute expertise in specialist areas such as semantics", said Franz Fidler, Deputy Head of the Department of Media and Digital Technologies at St. Pölten UAS.
Alongside international partners such as the University of Nicosia, participating from Lower Austria in the Area3 consortium is the FOTEC Forschungs- und Technologietransfer GmbH (Research and Technology Transfer GmbH) of Wiener Neustadt UAS.
"Insofar as comprehensive investigation and use of blockchain technology can only succeed through an interdisciplinary approach, ABC partners from many different disciplines work together. The centre is a great opportunity for Austria to remain in touch with high-tech giants in the USA and Asia in this seminal area. Our concern is also the promotion of so-called 'hidden champions', owner-managed world market leaders who are hardly known to the public”, said the Research Head and coordinator of the centre, Alfred Taudes, who also heads the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.
The diverse research and development topics of that the centre is engaged in include among others: economic, technological, application-related as well as political and legal issues.
Examples of these topics include: improvement in the identification of bank and insurance company customers, the use of blockchains in company accounting and auditing, establishment of fraud-resistant tax collection procedures, simplified processing of cross-border capital-market transactions, cross-company management of measurement data or man-machine interaction as well as machine-to-machine communication in Industry 4.0.
Cooperation for innovation and business location
Many blockchain-based applications and business models have already emerged through the collaboration of established stakeholders, innovative start-ups, and leading research and development institutions. The establishment of the COMET-Center will lead to a significant intensification of these activities, and as a key to creating new jobs it should help to establish Austria as one of Europe's most innovative countries.
The centre is committed to five thematic areas: "Cryptography, Technology & Security" (coordination: SBA Research), "Cryptoeconomic Modeling & Blockchain Applications for Business" (coordination: WU Vienna), "Emerging Industries & Blockchains in Manufacturing" (coordination: St. Pölten UAS), "Data Science Methods for Blockchain Analytics & Predictions" (coordination: AIT and RIAT) and "Legal and Political Implications" (coordination: WU Vienna).
Austrian Blockchain Center (ABC)
The centre is configured as a COMET (K1) center. These centres are funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs, the participating provinces (in the ABC these are: Vienna, Lower Austria and Vorarlberg) as well as partners from economy and science. Coordination and implementation is carried out by the FFG. The centres promote the development and focusing of competences. K1-centres conduct research at a high international level and set new research impulses. They contribute to innovation, above all with regard to future-relevant markets. The Austrian Blockchain Center will work closely with the existing COMET Center CDP, SBA Research and international blockchain initiatives.