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Accountable Medical Data Exchange using Blockchain

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There are petabytes of data available with NHS and other heath organizations. This will lead to revolutionary advancements in digital health if this data is widely made available for research and development. Medical community such as NHS hospitals and clinics do not share medical data for research and development activities due to ethical and legal concerns.

The fundamental problem in data sharing is the lack of trust and accountability on how it will be used and whether it is being used for the intended purpose. Current distributed data management systems and tools do not offer mechanisms where the data providers can keep track of who is accessing the data and if its use is subject to the institutional ethical and legal practices. Due to this reason, very few research groups and organizations have access to medical data and this is becoming a bottleneck for ambitious research projects that require access to data to make breakthroughs in digital health such as personalized health, digital pathology, diabetic retinopathy and medical image analysis such as X-rays analytics for cancer detection.

To enable trusted data sharing across mutually distrusting parties and making the data exchange process auditable and accountable, we propose to use a blockchain enabled data management and sharing system. Blockchain is a great technology for secure data storage, however, it struggles when large amounts of data are being stored and accessed. Blockchain has severe performance limitations and its use for sharing large scale medical data has not been investigated. In addition, currently there is limited understanding available on how the shared data will be reliably tracked and audited for compliance protocols and how to report any violations in data use. This project will investigate auditability and shareability of blockchains for large scale medical data management and exchange.

Entry requirements

UK Bachelor Degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

English language requirements may apply


Project Specific :

Application Specific :

How to apply

To apply refer to

Eligibility: UK/EU (Residency Requirements for EU in accordance with UKRI)

Funding Notes

3.5 Year funding:
RCUK Rate Stipend
*Competitive Funding*


1. Ekblaw, A, Azaria, A, Halamka, JD, et al. A case study for blockchain in healthcare: “MedRec” prototype for electronic health records and medical research data. Proc IEEE Open Big Data Conf 2016; 13: 13.

2. Croman K. et al. (2016) On Scaling Decentralized Blockchains. In: Clark J., Meiklejohn S., Ryan P., Wallach D., Brenner M., Rohloff K. (eds) Financial Cryptography and Data Security. FC 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9604. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

3. I. Eyal, A. E. Gencer, E. G. Sirer, and R. van Renesse. Bitcoin-NG: A Scalable Blockchain Protocol. Technical report, CoRR, 2015

4. E. Androulaki, C. Cachin, K. Christidis, C. Murthy, B. Nguyen, and M. Vukoli´c. Next consensus architecture proposal. Hyperledger Wiki, Fabric Design Documents, available at r1/, 2016.

5. Blockchain for AI: Review and Open Research Challenges, Khaled Salah ; M. Habib Ur Rehman ; Nishara Nizamuddin ; Ala Al-Fuqaha, Page(s): 10127 –10149, 2019, DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2890507

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