Ripple, a Web-based software that facilitates the recruitment and management of research participants for clinical trials and the  University Blockchain Research Initiative will give the University of Michigan one million dollars to research financial technology, The University Record reports.

As one of 11 partner universities, the University will use this grant to establish the FinTech Collaboratory housed in the Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance, combining resources from the Ross School of Business, School of Engineering, Ford School of Public Policy and LSA. The center currently works to better understand infrastructural data and works to advance business models and improve infrastructural systems.

In an interview with the Record, Peter Adriaens, director of the Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance, said the grant will allow for various University departments to collaborate to research aspects of the financial industry which will help improve society.

“The most important thing this funding allows us to do is integrate the engineering and data science with finance and policy to craft financial models to fund infrastructure, developing models to close the infrastructure finance gap,” Adriaens said to the Record. “These solutions will democratize access to infrastructure and level the playing field between the rich and poor.”

The grant will fund research on cryptocurrency, blockchain and digital payment application development, and overall creation of academic curricula in the area. Blockchain technology is a record-collecting system that has helped the modern financial industry solve problems. In the past, the center has worked to manage water infrastructure through analyzing data of agricultural runoff and weather patterns.

Ripple will also be providing guidance and resources in addition to the grant. Eric van Miltenburg, senior vice president of global operations at Ripples, is hopeful for the future of blockchain research.

“In less than a year, we are already seeing UBRI partners create new cross-disciplinary research programs and courses,” van Miltenburg said to the Record. “As well as collaborate with one another to share ideas on how to grow the blockchain ecosystem.”

The goal of these partnerships is to work with top tier universities in order to prepare future leaders in the business and entrepreneurial world.

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