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Laurence Goussu - 6/03/2018

Inria, Télécom ParisTech, Télécom SudParis and SystemX sign a framework agreement to coordinate their research efforts in the field of the Blockchain

Signed on 6 March 2018 in Paris, this framework agreement puts into effect the creation of the BART joint research initiative (Blockchain Advanced Research & Technologies): a first in France in the field of the Blockchain. Around 30 researchers from four institutions are pooling their expertise and research efforts in order to remove the scientific obstacles linked to this disruptive technology, under a common roadmap defined for a duration of six years.

Inria , a research institute dedicated to digital technology, Télécom ParisTech and Télécom SudParis , two engineering grandes écoles and IMT (Institut Mines-Telecom) research centres dedicated to innovation in the digital world and SystemX , an Institute for Technological Research (IRT)  devoted to the digital engineering of the future, are announcing the pooling of their Blockchain expertise under a framework agreement formalising the "BART" joint research initiative (Blockchain Advanced Research & Technologies).

Removing the scientific obstacles of the Blockchain

It all begin late 2016, when the partners understood the necessity of undertaking scientific work capable of helping several IRT SystemX projects in the future to grow. The BART initiative was therefore born out of this desire to unite a vast Île-de France region research ecosystem  - around 30 researchers - around a common roadmap aiming to remove the scientific obstacles of the Blockchain in keeping with societal and industry requirements, promote a joint activity and give more impact to their work.  Up until now, all of the stakeholders involved were working separately or bilaterally on the Blockchain.

Today, BART forms the largest academic research collective dedicated to the Blockchain in France . Researchers from Inria, Télécom ParisTech, Télécom SudParis and SystemX will remain affiliated to their institutions, but will work together under a common roadmap structured around six areas: 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 four theses will be funded by the IRT SystemX, and overseen by researchers or lecturer-researchers from Inria, Télécom ParisTech or Télécom SudParis. The first theses began in early 2018 and will be consolidated from September onwards in order to meet the challenges of the IRT’s industry partners.

BART will implement joint scientific actions within its ecosystem , with the aim of bringing together initiatives led by each of its stakeholders (exchange days, seminars, calls for start-ups, special sessions of international conferences) and also launching new actions.

Finally, the results obtained within the framework of BART’s work will benefit - in terms of value-creation and dissemination - from the amplifying effect of the influence of the institutes involved and the associated ecosystem, in particular industrial. 
Since the end of 2016, the IRT SystemX has brought together 11 academic (including Inria and Télécom ParisTech) and industry partners around a BST (Blockchain for Smart Transactions) research project, aiming to add value to the Blockchain’s potential in the concept of digital trust and develop the conditions necessary for its application in the development of new uses , notably in the automobile, energy, logistics and insurance sectors.  From a technical perspective, this project is working on the development of a modular digital platform enabling the instantiation of cross-field use cases based on Blockchains. As part of its Start@SystemX programme, the IRT also includes three start-ups (Evolution Energie, Keeex, Pack’n Drive) that are able to validate the scope of their technology based on real market needs, in collaboration with the major groups involved in the BST project.

Increasing progress on Blockchain technologies

According to Bertrand Braunschweig , director of the Inria Saclay–Île-de-France research centre:

This new type of initiative for the IRT corresponds perfectly to Inria's expectations. It enables the researchers to collaborate with SystemX and with our IMT partners in very satisfactory conditions, on a subject identified as key for the digital society.

Our researchers - in addition to their personal contributions - will supervise four theses for the duration of the joint initiative, or even more if certain industry players decide to invest more in the subject.  We hope that the blueprint put in place on the Blockchain will be reproduced in other technical areas of common interest”.

“This alliance relies on our academic expertise at Télécom ParisTech and Télécom SudParis (IMT), without forgetting to make good use of the applications of the Teralab platform within our IMT group.  Four years ago, at Télécom ParisTech, we already launched a scientific cooperation network with leading European industrial and academic establishments (in particular TUM (Technical University of Munich)], Mines ParisTech, etc.), with whom research began as part of theses or post-docs. Today, we intend to create an important synergy between these European partners and the BART initiative” Gérard Memmi , head of the Network and Computer Science department (INFRES) at Télécom ParisTech (IMT), specifies.

“We are convinced that pooling the research expertise of our four institutions will enable an increase in our actions and our visibility. Within the framework of the IRT, we are working with many industry players on the scientific, technical and market issues related to the development of Blockchain-oriented services.  Benefiting from close and trustful interactions with the scientific experts of Inria, Télécom ParisTech and Télécom SudParis will further the development of even deeper industrial-academic relations” , Éric Perrin-Pelletier , CEO of IRT SystemX, explains.

Keywords: Telecom SudParis SystemX Inria Saclay - Île-de-France Telecom ParisTech BART Partnership Blockchain