European Blockchain Institute NRW

7.7 million euros for European Blockchain Institute at Fraunhofer IML

Politics subsidizes the digital future

At the “European Blockchain Institute NRW” (EURO-CHAIN), the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in cooperation with companies and other research institutions will be making a decisive contribution to the future advancement of blockchain technologies. Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, North Rhine-Westphalia State Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy, presented the subsidy notice for 7.7 million euros to the directors of Fraunhofer IML this Tuesday.

“With the project to establish the blockchain institute, an organization is being created at Fraunhofer IML that is unique throughout Europe to drive digitization in science and practice. Blockchain is a key technology with the potential to implement the manipulation-proof exchange of data, and to automate numerous processes along the value chain and make them autonomous in the future,” is how Prof. Michael Henke, director of Fraunhofer IML, describes the importance of this technology. Blockchains play a key role in the digitization of the economy as transparent, decentralized registers. They make the meaningful deployment of numerous other technologies possible in the first place.

Thus the research at the European Blockchain Institute complements the work of the Dortmund scientists and ties directly into to the scientific site’s existing research infrastructure: “The full effect of blockchain technology will only be realized in the coming years, and this will happen in logistics. A new, self-organizing ‘silicon economy’ is emerging in the interplay with digital platforms, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things. We are pleased that the European Blockchain Institute is being established as the heart of European logistics – which is where it belongs,” says Prof Michael ten Hompel, executive director of Fraunhofer IML.

Scientists will be working on open-source solutions in the form of software, hardware, and business models related to blockchains in the coming years. They are developing them for and with companies of all sizes. Especially in logistics and supply chain management, many different, economically independent partners are working together closely while not necessarily trusting each other. Thus the focus of research is on open, integrated solutions that can be used by all market players. This is intended to achieve the end-to-end digital connection of complete logistics chains.

“We are at the next stage of the economy’s digitization. Technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of things, and artificial intelligence are fundamentally changing the economy and opening up entirely new possibilities for companies. The European Blockchain Institute will serve as a key driving force, especially for the logistics sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, and is going to make an important contribution, also beyond our state’s boundaries,” emphasizes North Rhine-Westphalia State Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy Pinkwart.

The EURO-CHAIN project consortium consists of the Dortmund-based Fraunhofer Institutes IML and ISST, along with the Chair of Enterprise Logistics and the Chair of Materials Handling and Warehousing at TU Dortmund University. 25 people will be employed at the institute in the future. It is to be established as a permanent, lasting institution after the project term.

More information about the subsidy is available here: