Conducting interdisciplinary research on Blockchain and associated technologies for sustainability and social good.

Research Themes

Over the past decades, our world has been fundamentally reshaped by digital technologies.  The first wave of digital technologies connected the world and transformed 20th century industry, making business faster and cheaper.  In the 21st century, however, a new series of decentralized technologies is challenging the foundations our economy, our society, and our interactions with the environment – the very foundations that we have relied upon as “solid” for several centuries.

We are an interdisciplinary team of researchers working across disciplines to critically assess decentralized technologies and their ability to assist us in responding to these changes; our aim is to understand how decentralization can create sustainability and social good.  We organize around three main research themes:


One of the most critical aspects of our world today is the necessity to create resilient systems, societies, and people – can decentralized technologies help us to create these outcomes? what are the new modes of cooperation that are required in the decentralized era?  Can technologies assist us as we work to build 21st century models of operation?

New Economic Paradigms –

Decentralised technologies are challenging concepts we have used as foundations of the economic system since the late 1700s.  What are the new economic paradigms and is it possible to create a more sustainable, just and ethical system using decentralized technologies?

New Technology Paradigms –

Our traditional computing systems have been built to serve the 20th century – what are the new technological paradigms we need to develop for systems?

Our values

We have placed interdisciplinarity at the centre of our research agenda because we know that in the 21st century, not one discipline is able to solve all of the issues.  We believe that the complexity of the world’s problems from climate change through to geopolitical instability means that we need a new renaissance – one where people cross discipline boundaries, respectfully challenging one another to expand boundaries of knowledge and science.  Our research is non-technology deterministic, meaning we place humans and other species we share our planet with at the centre of our research agenda.

Why DCentral?

DCentral Lab is an initiative of the BIG ERA Chair project hosted by Técnico (Instituto Superior Técnico at Universidade de Lisboa), through ITI-LARSyS and INESC-ID research institutes and funded by European Commission Horizon 2020 program under grant number 952226, led by PIs – Nuno Jardim Nunes and Rodrigo Marigaia Rodrigues.

BIG (Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good) has 3 main goals:

  1. To upgrade the existing research and technological development capabilities of blockchain:
  2. To improve the innovation potential and impact of Lisbon within the data economy
  3. To raise international awareness

DCentral, under the strategic direction of the ERA Chair holder Prof Cathy Mulligan, is a key outcome of BIG; a digital living lab infrastructure to support the further development of the research capacity of LARSyS and INESC-ID

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 952226.

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