Today, MouseBelt University is proud to announce an initiative with UC Davis, UC Los Angeles, and UC Santa Barbara to support blockchain-focused education, research, and entrepreneurship. The program is spearheaded by MouseBelt’s accelerator and engineering arms, which seek to advance blockchain technology through strategic academic partnerships.
Through this initiative, MouseBelt Blockchain Accelerator will provide an initial donation to be divided between the three universities' engineering schools. It also plans to invest $500,000 for student projects and raise another $500,000 to directly fund researchers. It will support up to five early-stage companies with up to $100,000 in investment through an exclusive UC Blockchain Entrepreneurship program.
“As a blockchain industry leader, MouseBelt is excited to collaborate with world-class universities like UC Davis, UC Los Angeles, and UC Santa Barbara,” said Ashlie Meredith, Program Director at MouseBelt University. “We aim to help these universities become a driving force for innovation in the blockchain space, as well as provide students and researchers with the opportunity for both theoretical and industry experience.”
MouseBelt aims to encourage collaboration across college campuses and enrich the quality of blockchain projects being undertaken. Educational courses, workshops, and advising on best practices will be made available to students, while researchers and early-stage companies will be able to receive funding and resources needed to build scalable solutions and foster meaningful blockchain adoption.
The academic grant initiative will connect researchers with industry partners to fund projects in areas such as alternate cryptographics, post-quantum cryptography, distributed systems research for blockchains, blockchain peer-to-peer networks, and proofs-of-concept for general business use cases.
In addition, MouseBelt will fund the second UCLA blockchain engineering course taught by Professor Eli Gafni, from the Samueli School of Engineering. It will also assist Professor Rich Wolski in the College of Engineering; Christopher Russo, Associate Director of Corporate Business Development at UC Santa Barbara; and Professor Mo Sadoghi at the College of Engineering at UC Davis with various research proposals.
Christopher Russo, Associate Director of Corporate Business Development at UC Santa Barbara said of the initiative: "MouseBelt has been actively involved in supporting student organizations and entrepreneurs in bringing blockchain to UCSB,” said Christopher Russo, Associate Director of Corporate Business Development at UC Santa Barbara. “We look forward to seeing how broader collaborations between researchers, faculty, and administrators across multiple UC campuses will continue to foster blockchain innovation on campus.”
MouseBelt will also work closely with on-campus groups to identify outstanding startup founders and provide a unique educational experience exclusively for early-stage companies from these campuses. MouseBelt leadership and industry partners will mentor up to five companies on technical, academic, and business best practices. In return for up to $100,000 in investment per company, MouseBelt will take a percentage of equity. As projects are incubated at the student organization and research level, MouseBelt will partner with groups such as PLASMA accelerator at UC Davis and Startup Labs at UCLA to participate in co-investment and advising.
MouseBelt’s ongoing relationship with these universities began with partnerships between Blockchain at UCLA, Blockchain at UCSB and Blockchain at Davis. They funded the first ever blockchain engineering course at UCLA and have invested in several student projects from these groups. This initiative addresses the growing demand from students, faculty and administrators for blockchain education and resources.
For individuals interested in partnering with MouseBelt, following are key dates for academic grants and its entrepreneurship program:
Sept 15 - Cross-campus meetings
Nov 1 - Research proposals due
Nov 21 - Introduction to external funding partners
Sept 15 - Program launch
Jan 1 - Proposals due
Feb 1 - Announce investment companies