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Groningen to facilitate the Netherlands’ first Blockchain Field Lab

07 September 2017

Groningen Digital City became Groningen Blockchain City for a day

On Tuesday 5 September, the University of Groningen hosted the ‘Blockchain in Education’ (BCINED2017) conference for over 250 delegates and Blockchain experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, England, Australia and the United States. Thanks to a partnership of organizations from the Northern Netherlands, the conference, packed with futuristic digital dreams, launched an initiative for the first ‘Blockchain Field Lab Education’. The Field Lab is set to become an IT laboratory for inventing, producing and trying out blockchain a pplications in education (including higher education).

Can Blockchain, also known as the internet of agreements or the new internet, give us a simpler, more reliable, less bureaucratic solution for storing ECTS credit points, certificates and diplomas?
How will this affect funding for education? And lifelong learning?
These were the questions being addressed by the experts and delegates at today’s #BCINED2017 conference, chaired by Vice President of the Board of the University of Groningen Jan de Jeu. The gathering of experts in the Academy Building came up with a list of concrete, practical activities designed to provide swift, effective answers to these questions.

Field Lab Education

In the run-up to the conference, a partnership was formed between the Education Executive Agency (DUO)/the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science, Quintor, Groningen Declaration Network (GDN), Stichting ePortfolio Support (StePS), the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and Rabobank Groningen. This partnership instigated the Blockchain Field Lab Education in Groningen concept. The Field Lab is intended to provide a consultation platform that will bring together the necessary regional, national and international experts and expertise, and the University of Groningen, the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Education, Culture & Science and the Dutch Blockchain Coalition. Their activities are expected to result in new high-quality employment and business opportunities in Groningen in the future. IT company Quintor is the ‘secretary’ of the partnership.

On Tuesday, acting on behalf of the partners, Theo Mensen from StePs and Johan Tillema from Quintor presented their hosts, Groningen alderman Van Keulen and Vice President of the Board of the University of Groningen De Jeu, with a poster marking the start of the Blockchain Field Lab. De Jeu responded: ‘The use of Blockchain technology in the education sector offers a unique opportunity for Groningen to make its name as a national and international leading region in the field of digital innovation. The University of Groningen is pleased to take on a major role in this process.’

Study Bytes

The first research project in the Field Lab will examine ‘Study Bytes’. The aim is to provide a means of storing information nationally and internationally, so that everyone can:

  • incontrovertibly store their diplomas, certificates and other information from national registers through Blockchain technology;
  • allow parties from the education sector and employers/mediators to access this information simply using Blockchain technology.

The #BCINED2017 conference was also used to explore the feasibility of Study Bytes. And to decide whether the process of issuing, exchanging and using ECTS credit points and diplomas through Blockchain could be made simpler, more efficient, safer and more reliable.

The Blockchain Field Lab will devise a Blockchain in Groningen master class, and explore potential for further innovation in the area of Blockchain in education.

Note to the editors

More information is available from:

Theo Mensen (StePS), tel. +31 (0)6 5346 9834, and Johan Tillema (CEO Quintor), tel. +31 (0)50 711 5240 / +31 (0)6 5149 3826.

You can find additional information on


Tweets #BCINED2017

Last modified:18 September 2017 11.05 a.m.

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