Speech – 2022 Surrey Forum for Blockchain Applications

Good afternoon, everyone.  On behalf of the University, I am delighted to welcome you all to this Forum.

Today this Forum offers us the chance to better understand the global Blockchain landscape, and imagine the future world in the metaverse enabled by blockchain.

This is a wonderful opportunity to be inspired to work toward a bright, prosperous and inclusive future for everyone. 

I would like to thank all of you for joining us today, especially our special guests and speakers.

Thank  you to the Surrey Centre for Innovation and Commercialization and the Big Innovation Centre for organising today’s Forum.

And to Professor Yu Xiong, Director of SCIC, and Professor James Aitken, Head of Department of Business Transformation, for moderating it.

Today’s exciting programme challenges us to adapt to and drive technological and societal change.

Blockchain is revolutionising the world as we know it.

It has progressed so fast since the birth of BitCoin, that we can now envisage it as part of the everyday infrastructure of the world.

From enabling peer-to-peer transactions to driving value for financial service organisations; from decentralising the internet to aiding identify management in voting and smart contracts; from metaverse gaming to NFT marketing of the creatives, the capabilities of Blockchain are far-reaching and inspiring.

In this emerging technology front, Surrey has some capabilities to offer and will further develop our capacity, in line with our key strategic goals and our future-facing work.

Last month, I launched ‘The Future Says Surrey’ – the University’s first fundraising Campaign, which aims to raise £ 60 million over three years to build on existing excellence in key research areas such as Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence and Health.

There will always be cheaper and better ways to do things in these areas and Blockchain can help achieve them.

As someone with a research interest in renewable energy and climate change, I am naturally concerned about the energy consumption of bitcoin mining.  Indeed, In its infancy, Bitcoin had huge energy expenditure and was energy agnostic.

Now, thanks to Blockchain’s evolution, third generation cryptocurrency is far more energy efficient.

Blockchain can also help to reduce energy wastage by developing innovative sharing solutions for solar and wind supplies, and playing a key role in the work carried out at our Global Centre for Clean Air Research.

In health, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the limitations of existing digital healthcare technologies.

Blockchain can help combat future health threats by decentralising data sharing in contract tracing and vaccine tracking, empowering our researchers to develop new diagnostics that may help us prevent the next pandemic.

In the field of AI, Surrey’s newly-established Institute for People-Centred Artificial Intelligence is working with industrial partners and investors to unlock the potential of AI in health, robotics, and cybersecurity.

As part of Surrey Blockchain, the University is committed to fusing blockchain with artificial intelligence technologies.

This research is bringing innovative solutions in areas such as digital records, healthcare and online trust and identity.

As you can see, the sky is the limit as far as envisioning the impact of blockchain is concerned. It would be a key technological driver for changes in industry, business and society.  I am pleased that our researchers and colleagues are part of this exciting journey, making important contributions to shaping a better tomorrow for all of us.

Please enjoy the presentations and discussions, and be stimulated during this forum. Thank you.