Energy Web PhD Studentship in Distributed Ledger Technologies (Blockchain and Energy) — IFF@University of Nicosia

Limit of tenure: 3 years

Number of awards: 1

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

All applications will be treated in confidence.

Type: Applied Research

Start date and duration: before September 2021

Funding Notes

· Full compensation of PhD degree fees

· Annual living allowance of 18,000 EUR

· Full student accommodation at UNIC residences

University of Nicosia (UNIC)

The University of Nicosia is the largest university in Cyprus and the largest in Southern Europe that teaches primarily in English, with more than 12,000 students from over 70 countries, a diverse community of faculty and staff, and an expanding worldwide network. UNIC is driving educational innovation in the wider region, with activities like our dynamic global initiative in blockchain technology and centres of excellence in medicine and online/distance learning. 2020 QS World University Rankings has recognised UNIC for two years running in the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (EECA) Region, with the University ranking at number 106 and 91 among 1,800 tertiary institutions across 24 countries.

The latest edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings has reaffirmed UNIC’s global standing, ranking it among the top 801–1000 universities in the world. Correspondingly, UNIC ranks among the Top 300 universities in Europe. Along with its inclusion in the Top 1000 THE WUR table, UNIC has also been recognised by the QS World University Rankings (number 106 in Emerging Europe and Central Asia Region) and the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings (number 42 in the world in the core area of Quality Education). The latter are the first to measure the success of universities in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNIC was also notably awarded a 5-Star Institutional Rating by the QS Intelligence Unit in its 2020 audit, joining an exclusive group of only 50 other universities globally. In addition to its exemplary overall standing, UNIC received the highest possible (5-Star) rating in the following key categories: Teaching, Employability, Online Learning, Internationalisation, Inclusiveness, and Facilities.

Overview

Can you envision the impact Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) can offer to the Energy sector? How can DLTs accommodate the needs of the next generation of smart grids? Can we consider energy as a liquid asset and transfer it within existing and emerging blockchain systems?

A successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to apply this research in real-world applications by running various pilot use-cases using the EW-DOS tech stack and Energy Web ecosystem. This applied research project will run in collaboration with Energy Web AG, registered in Zug, Switzerland and Institute For the Future (IFF), an academic institution established and operating by the University of Nicosia.

The opening is for a PhD candidate position in the Distributed Ledger Research Center (DLRC).

Link: https://www.unic.ac.cy/iff/dlrc/

About the Project

Pursuing an acceptable optimal solution to the Blockchain trilemma (i.e., Security, Decentralization, and Scalability) has led to the development of a multitude of DLTs, that aim to deliver enhanced features of the technology but in different ways. Thus, the resulting landscape of such efforts is characterized by silos that have been emerged by the increased levels of heterogeneity at the network and protocol levels. As DLTs are becoming an acceptable technology there is an increased need for interacting with these systems in a seamless and effective way. This research project aims to further contribute on the interoperability challenges of DTLs. Can we consider energy as a liquid asset and transfer its state from one blockchain ecosystem to another? Can we enable the state of smart contracts from the EW chain to interoperate on other chains?

More specifically, this project is concerned with the following objectives:

• to explore and understand the issues and challenges caused by the heterogeneity of DLT systems;

• to critically assess various patterns, and mechanisms for interoperability (e.g., notary schemes, hash-locking schemes);

• to identify the properties an interoperable DLT should have;

• to identify any attack vectors that can emerge on an interoperable network;

• to empirically evaluate interoperability solutions proposed;

• to design a secure interoperability framework for DLTs (considering states and events);

• to improve the performance of the system while keeping its security and confidentiality characteristics;

• to empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of the methodologies developed using the EW-DOS tech stack and Energy Web ecosystem.

At the end of this research project, the candidate will be able to demonstrate the techniques developed through the system design and high impact journal publications.

Academic Qualifications

An MSc or MEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Science or Information Technology, Computer Engineering with a good fundamental knowledge of information systems and software development.

English Language Requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5. Other, equivalent English Language qualifications will be accepted.

Essential attributes

· Experience of fundamental in topics related to Information Science

· Competent in qualitative research

· Knowledge of information behaviour

· Fundamental knowledge in Distributed Ledgers (including Blockchains), will be considered a plus

· Good written and oral communication skills

· Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project

· Good time management

Desirable attributes

· Strong motivation. An ability to work with a range of people (including researchers and practitioners) across different disciplines.

Sponsor

· This research project is funded by Energy Web AG, registered in Zug, Switzerland.

How to apply

· You must apply through the University of Nicosia online postgraduate application system

· Link: https://www.unic.ac.cy/apply/

> On the application form choose: Doctoral Degree (General PhD)

· Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship i.e., “Energy Web PhD Studentship”, and state how your interests and experience relate to the topics outlined above.

· Attach degree transcripts and certificates (if available) and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications (if available).

For more details with regards to the position, please contact: Dr. Klitos Christodoulou, christodoulou.kl@unic.ac.cy

About the Institute For the Future (IFF)

The Institute For the Future (IFF) is a cross-disciplinary research institute at UNIC, pursuing world-class research and education at the intersection of exponential technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality. IFF hosts more than 40 faculty, researchers and support staff from UNIC and partner institutions and, among other activities, runs the world’s first full academic program in blockchain education since 2014 (MSc in Digital Currency, https://digitalcurrency.unic.ac.cy), hosts a large number of research projects funded by the European Commission and industry, and organizes Europe’s premier annual business blockchain and crypto-currency conference (Decentralized, https://www.decentralized.com). In addition, IFF hosts the Distributed Ledgers Research Centre (DLRC), a tech lab that pursues academic research that emerge from the open challenges of the wider Blockchain ecosystem. The Centre aims to advance the field with transformative applications of the technology that emerge directly from the ecosystem (DLRC, https://www.unic.ac.cy/iff/dlrc/). The IFF is an equal opportunity employer and all employment is decided on the basis of qualifications and business need.

About Energy Web

Energy Web is a global, member-driven non-profit accelerating a low-carbon, customer-centric electricity system by unleashing the potential of blockchain and decentralized technologies. EW focuses on our open-source, decentralized, digital technology stack — the Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) — to enable any device, owned by any customer, to participate in any energy market. EW launched the Energy Web Chain, the world’s first enterprise-grade, public blockchain tailored to the energy sector and the anchor of the broader EW-DOS technology stack. As the industry’s leading energy blockchain partner and most-respected voice of authority on energy blockchain, EW has also fostered the world’s largest energy blockchain ecosystem, comprising utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers, IoT / telecom leaders, and others. More than 30 of those companies host validator nodes for the EW Chain. For more, please visit https://energyweb.org

Leading Blockchain Education & Research Since 2013

The University of Nicosia (UNIC) is, by most measures, the leading university globally in the digital currency and blockchain field.

UNIC has long considered blockchain technology to be a fundamental technological breakthrough with significant financial and societal implications and selected it as one of its three interdisciplinary priorities across all schools and departments of the university.

This leading role in academia has been recognized by blockchain industry publications in their evaluation of UNIC’s position among universities involved in the field — CoinDesk (#1, 2016), The Merkle (#1, 2017).

In 2018, UNIC was awarded the Biggest Contributor to the rise of Blockchain award, by The Blocks Awards.

Top Reasons to Apply

Working on Blockchain-based protocols & Distributed Ledgers — Assistant Professor at the Institute For the Future @ UNIC

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