Published: 30 May 2017

New funding could transform delivery of public services

The University has won £1.1m research funding to improve the use of healthcare information and digital archives and the effectiveness of eVoting.

The successful bids, known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), could transform the delivery of public services. A distributed ledger is a database that can securely record financial, physical or electronic assets for sharing across a network through entirely transparent updates of information.

The best known use of DLT currently is the Bitcoin digital currency that uses blockchain technology - a distributed ledger formed of unchangeable and digitally-recorded data stored in packages called blocks.

The first project starting this month aims to improve an individual’s personal healthcare by using and managing biometric information created by wearable devices. The research will combine data from an individual’s wearable device with blockchains and machine learning to securely store and access data to share with state and private healthcare providers to enable more targeted, personalised patterns of treatment.

The project, jointly run between Surrey Business School and the Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP), will be led by Professor Alan Brown, Head of the Department of Digital Economy and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Surrey Business School.

The second project will explore applications of DLT in voting and collective decision-making to support more effective and trustworthy electronic voting. The joint study between Surrey and King’s College London, is led by Professor Steve Schneider, Director of Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS).

He said: “This is an exciting new collaboration between political economists and computer scientists, focusing not only on the development of new technology, but also on exploring the positive impact and new opportunities.”

The third project will work with the UK’s National Archives and Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute, developing cutting-edge technology to ensure the long-term sustainability of digital archives. This will safeguard their content by protecting them from degradation or tampering, and to and ensure open access to digital public archives.

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