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Call for Proposals

Establishing the W&M Blockchain Lab Research Agenda

The W&M Blockchain Lab is pleased to invite all W&M faculty to apply for a research stipend and funds to support pilot research projects. Our Lab promotes research on blockchain applications as they relate to public policy, law, business, computer science, data science, economics, health, and other social/policy issues. Blockchain is a general purpose technology that can reduce costs associated with verifying information such as its origin, ownership and credentials and, as a result, its potential applications are numerous. To date, most research on the application of blockchain has been conceptual, but after a decade of existence, there is growing demand for rigorous empirical research that will help enable evidence-based decision making. International organizations, banks, private corporations, and non-profit organizations are all exploring the use of blockchain in their operations. Governments are not only interested in using applications, but figuring out how to regulate this new technology. 

This round of internal research funding will help move William & Mary’s blockchain research in a direction that responds to the emerging demand for rigorous empirical research. The list below includes topics from a wide array of disciplines and is meant to be a thought provoking list, rather than an exhaustive one. If you have an idea you would like to explore, the BC Lab is interested in hearing about it.


  1. Political Science/Government/IR:
    • Comparative study on the difference in Western versus Chinese media reporting on blockchain/cryptocurrency development.
    • Comparative survey of cryptocurrency use cases in countries with weak currencies or high inflation. 
    • Has the idea of blockchain as a tool for improving democratic institutions changed people’s perceptions of democracy in non democratic countries?
    • Does blockchain voting or secure land registrations on a distributed ledger improve constituent trust in institutions?
    • Evaluate how blockchain has impacted financial literacy and inclusion/exclusion for marginalized groups.
  2. Economics and Business:
    • Evaluate existing blockchain applications as interventions designed to address global development challenges.
    • Evaluate and measure the reductions or increases in cost for remittances using blockchain or evaluate how blockchain solutions have affected prices for traditional remittance platforms.
    • Does blockchain improve Small and Midsize Enterprises (SME) access to the global market? 
    • Creating and measuring business/organizational value from blockchain in any industry.
    • Create new blockchain applications that could be used to address global development challenges.
  3. Data Science:
    • How does blockchain impact federated analytics?
    • How does individual data ownership affect access to and management of data?
    • Privacy implications for various federated learning and analytics solutions for in-place medical or health data. 
    • De-identification of on-chain EMR/EHR data and privacy regimes.
  4. Cybersecurity:
    • Evaluate usability security of blockchain technology.
  5. Health/Life Sciences:
    • Evaluate blockchain applications in healthcare.
    • Does blockchain impact the reproducibility, trust and coordination of experimental drug trials?

We are passionate about creating new learning and research opportunities for faculty and students and one avenue for accomplishing this is through faculty and student research teams. The objective of the faculty and student team is to create new knowledge and disseminate that original research at conferences, through peer reviewed publications and through dissemination in more popular outlets.  Through such applied research we can demonstrate W&M’s ability to adjust to new market needs (new expertise, solutions, products) and play a leading role in identifying, evaluating and meeting these needs. Blockchain is a hot topic and an important one, but there is a real need for rigorous research that can distinguish valuable innovation from hype.  Education and technical expertise will be provided by relevant Blockchain Lab staff and our external partners, if needed. In order to diversify areas of research, we need your substantive expertise. Please also reach out to us at ttwiipongwii@wm.edu if you are:

  1. Already engaged in blockchain related research and are looking for resources to help complete that research (data collection, conference funds etc.).
  2. Looking for opportunities to explore whether blockchain could be relevant to your field or your research interests.
Compensation

$1000 stipend and $5000 in research expenses, subject to approval under W&M financial policy.

Who is Eligible?

All instructional and research faculty are eligible. This includes tenured, tenure-eligible, and non-tenure-eligible faculty.

Activity Schedule

The deadline for proposals is 5:00 PM on Monday, June 1, 2020


How to Participate

Participants can apply by sending an email to ttwiipongwii@wm.edu with a 300-500 word abstract.

Desired Outcomes(these are conditions for receiving a BC Lab seed grant):
  1. Work with one or more William & Mary students on a collaborative research project. You could use the research budget to hire Research Assistants or, if relevant in your field, you could work with one or more students in credit-bearing independent study. 
  2. You and/or your students should present the resulting academic paper at a conference in your field or at a BC conference.
    1. The CryptoEconomics Security Conference (CESC) is a great opportunity for relevant proposals.
  3. Submit the paper to a peer reviewed journal relevant to your field.
  4. Work with your students and the BC Lab to convert your academic publication into a format for the general public or a community of practitioners adjacent to your field (e.g. a policy journal, government report, news magazine, or blog post).
  5. Collaborate with Lab to identify and apply for externally funded grants or contracts to support and scale your research.