Inria, Telecom ParisTech, Telecom SudParis and SystemX are signing a framework agreement to co-ordinate their Blockchain research activities

Télécom SudParis

This framework agreement, signed on 6 March 2018 in Paris, actualises the creation of the BART (Blockchain Advanced Research & Technologies) joint research initiative: a first in France in the Blockchain field. About 30 researchers from four institutions are pooling their research expertise and activities to remove the scientific obstacles related to this disruptive technology under a common roadmap set for a period of six years.

Paris, 6 March 2018Inria, a research institute dedicated to digital science and technology, Telecom ParisTech and Telecom SudParis, two major engineering graduate schools and IMT (Institut Mines-Telecom) research centres dedicated to innovation in the digital world and SystemX, an Institute for Technological Research (IRT) dedicated to digital engineering of the future, are announcing the pooling of their Blockchain expertise today in a launch event at Telecom ParisTech in accordance with a framework agreement formalising the “BART” (Blockchain Advanced Research & Technologies) joint research initiative. It all started in late 2016 with the partners understanding there was a need to undertake scientific studies capable of feeding into several IRT SystemX projects in the future. So, the BART initiative was born out of this desire to unite an extensive research ecosystem in the Ile-de-France region – about 30 researchers – around a common roadmap to overcome the scientific barriers to Blockchain in keeping with societal and industrial needs, to promote a joint leadership, and to provide more information about their work. Up until now, all of the actors involved, have been working individually or bilaterally on Blockchain.

BART is currently the largest academic research collective dedicated to Blockchain in France. Researchers at Inria, Telecom ParisTech, Telecom SudParis and SystemX will remain affiliated to their institutions, but will work together according to a common roadmap structured around 6 objectives: theoretical models, scaling up and monitoring tools, security, architectures, data confidentiality and economic models/regulation.

This framework agreement has been signed for a period of six years. In the first phase, at least 4 theses will be funded by the IRT, SystemX, managed by researchers or lecturer-researchers at Inria, Telecom ParisTech or Telecom SudParis. The first theses were started in early 2018 and will be extended from September to meet the challenges of the IRT’s industrial partners.

BART will implement scientifically-led joint actions within its ecosystem, for the purpose of bringing together initiatives led by each of its actors (exchange days, seminars, tenders for start-ups, and special sessions of international conferences) and also launching new actions.

Finally, the results obtained as part of the BART studies will benefit, in terms of development and distribution, from the amplifying effect of the influence of the institutions involved and the associated ecosystem, particularly industry. Since late 2016, the IRT SystemX has brought 11 academic (including Inria and Telecom ParisTech) and industrial partners together around a BST (Blockchain for Smart Transactions) research project, aimed at boosting Blockchain’s potential in the concept of digital trust and in developing the necessary requirements for its application in the development of new uses, particularly in the automotive, energy, logistics and insurance industries. From a technical point of view, this project is working on the development of a modular digital platform enabling the instantiation of cross-sector use based on Blockchains. The IRT also includes, as part of its Start@SystemX programme, 3 start-ups (Evolution Energie, Keeex and Pack’n Drive) which are able to validate the scope of their technology based on real market needs together with the large companies involved in the BST project.

According to Bertrand Braunschweig, Director of Inria Saclay – Ile-de-France’s research centre, “This new type of initiative for the IRT fits Inria’s expectations perfectly. It allows researchers to work together with SystemX and with our IMT partners in very favourable conditions on a subject identified as key for the digital society. Our researchers, in addition to their personal contributions, will supervise four theses during the period of the joint initiative, or even more if some industries decide to invest further in the subject. We hope that the scheme implemented for Blockchain will be reproduced in other technical areas of common interest.”

“This alliance builds on our academic expertise at Telecom ParisTech and Telecom SudParis (IMT), as well as taking advantage of the applications of the Teralab platform without our IMT group. Four years ago at Telecom ParisTech, we already started a network of scientific co-operation with leading European industrial facilities and academic institutions (in particular TUM [Technical University of Munich], Mines ParisTech, etc.) which we initiated research with in the context of theses or post-doctoral research. Nowadays, we intend to create an important synergy between these European partners and the BART initiative,” says Gérard Memmi, Head of Network and Computer Science Department at Telecom ParisTech (IMT).

We are convinced that pooling the research expertise of our four institutions will increase our actions and our visibility. As part of the IRT, we work with industry on scientific, technical and market issues related to developing Blockchain-oriented services. The development of industrial-academic relationships will be boosted even further by benefiting from close interactions with and trust in the scientific experts at Inria, Telecom ParisTech and Telecom SudParis,” explains Eric Perrin-Pelletier, Managing Director at the IRT SystemX.