At the "European Blockchain Institute in NRW" (Blockchain Europe), the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML will decisively advance blockchain technology together with companies and other research institutions. NRW Minister for Economics and Digitization Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart presented the funding commitment of 7.7 million Euro to the institute directors of the Fraunhofer IML.
"With the project to set up the Blockchain Institute, a unique Europe-wide institute is being created at Fraunhofer IML that will advance digitization in science and practice. Blockchain as a key technology has the potential to make data exchange tamper-proof and to automate a multitude of processes in the value chain and to autonomize them in the future," Prof. Michael Henke, Director of the Fraunhofer IML, describes the significance of the technology. As transparent and decentralized registers for transactions, blockchains play a key role in the digitization of the economy thus making the sensible use of numerous other technologies possible in the first place.
The research at the European Blockchain Institute therefore complements the work of the Dortmund scientists and ties in directly with the existing research infrastructure: "Blockchain technology will only develop its full impact in the next few years and this will take place in logistics. In interaction with digital platforms, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, a new and self-organizing 'Silicon Economy' is emerging. We are glad to have brought the European Blockchain Institute into the heart of European logistics," explains Prof. Michael ten Hompel, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer IML.
In the coming years, the scientists will work on open source solutions in the form of software, hardware and business models around blockchains. They will develop these for and with companies of all sizes. Especially in logistics and supply chain management, many different, economically independent partners work closely together, but they do not necessarily trust each other. The focus of research is therefore on open and holistic solutions that can be used by all players in the market. In this way, complete logistics chains are to be connected digitally from end to end.
"We are on the verge of a new stage in the digitization of the economy. Technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things or artificial intelligence are fundamentally changing business and opening up entirely new opportunities for companies. The European Blockchain Institute will decisively advance the logistics industry in North Rhine-Westphalia in particular and also make an important contribution beyond the borders of our state," emphasizes NRW Economics and Digitization Minister Pinkwart.
The Blockchain Europe project consortium consists of the Dortmund Fraunhofer Institutes IML and ISST as well as the Chair of Corporate Logistics and the Chair of Materials Handling and Warehousing at the Technical University of Dortmund. 25 employees are to be employed at the institute in the future. Following the project period, it is to be perpetuated as a sustainable and permanent institution.