MADE Cymru expert invited to Macedonia to share blockchain expertise

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MADE Cymru’s Odayne Haughton was invited to present at the 3rd International Conference on Computing, Networking, Telecommunications & Engineering Sciences Applications (CoNTESA) held at the Mother Teresa University in North Macedonia in December and sponsored by IEEE. He attended with University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Associate Professor Dr Carlene Campbell who was a keynote speaker.

Odayne Haughton is part of MADE Cymru and has been an active researcher offering advice on blockchain technologies through R&D projects with manufacturers in Wales. In 2022, he was part of the team selected as one of nine participants for the Welsh Government funded research and development scheme entitled ‘Demonstrating the Potential of Blockchain’.

Odayne submitted a paper entitled ‘Evaluating the integration of Blockchain Technologies in Supply Chain Management’ and was invited to present this research at the conference and was recognised with a ‘Best Paper’ award.

We spoke to Odayne about the trip:

What was it like presenting your paper?

I was really proud to be presenting my paper. I have been engaging in this work since February 2022 and worked with numerous stakeholders in the blockchain industry and UWTSD.

This project was kickstarted when I applied for the Blockchain Innovation Fund and was awarded £30,000 to implement the project on the integration of blockchain technologies in a supply chain industry.

Since then, the journey has been challenging and fulfilling. It has expanded my horizons and perspectives significantly on how we can use blockchain technology to enable transparency and security along a distributed chain of processes. All this blockchain research, literature review, and data collection fed into the paper that I worked on and presented at the IEEE conference.

It made me feel very proud of my work.

I also felt honoured to represent MADE Cymru, UWTSD and my supervisor Professor Carlene Campbell on a prestigious international platform.

And how did you feel being awarded the best paper?

It was such a pleasant surprise for me as all the papers presented at the conference were of excellent quality and had great academic rigour.

Being recognised and validated for the research and work that I have put in and being awarded the best paper was indeed humbling and encouraging.

I am happy that the other conference participants were also very supportive of my award and congratulated me on it. This will spur me on to continue delivering excellent quality work and research for my PhD.

What was your highlight(s) of the trip? What will you take away or what observations have you made?

It will be difficult to pick any one specific highlight as there have been many.

The highlights of this trip were to be able to immerse myself as a tourist whilst engaging in robust academic discourse with talented academics and researchers from around the world.

I managed to get the best of both worlds. North Macedonia is such a beautiful city with huge statues of leaders and freedom fighters for the country.

I have learnt so much about the history of North Macedonia, the role of the Roman Empire and Ottoman Empire in shaping the country today, and the different cultures and religions that live together harmoniously.

Learning more about host countries at international conferences is always a privilege as I got to immerse in the local experience, with local tour guides, local food, and drinks. Of course, the World Cup finals took place during the weekend in Macedonia, where Argentina won (rightly so!), making this another highlight to add to the books.

On the professional side, Professor Carlene Campbell and I had a very promising meeting with Dr Festim Halil, Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development of North Macedonia and Professor Bekim Fetaji, Professor in Data Processing, Faculty of Informatics of Mother Teresa University where we sketched out plans for partnerships and collaborations between our universities and we are excited about the potential of innovative future projects.

I am looking forward to the fantastic exchange of technology, knowledge, and exposure for both our institutions and would love to continue being a part of more global and internationalisation strategies for MADE CYMRU and UWTSD. And finally, of course, building good networks and relationships with conference participants, and getting first hand exposure to the fantastic research being carried out in the Computing, Networking, Telecommunications & Engineering Sciences Application fields was also a highlight of my trip.

How did you feel your expertise and experience fitted into the global playing field?

I think my research area and expertise fit in very well on the global playing field as blockchain technology is becoming increasingly relevant globally across various fields. Let me share a small part of my paper’s abstract here:

Because of the Global pandemic, Supply Change Management (SCM) is becoming more complex due to market uncertainty across value chains; from sourcing materials to logistics and production. With the development of contemporary technology, blockchain may allay

this worry by providing the SCM industry with automated software solutions. Blockchain is an emerging technology that supports a distributed and transparent approach to transactions between various entities. Due to increased digital usage across many sectors, the technology is being adopted more commonly in real-world business applications that aim to achieve transparency and security along a distributed chain of processes.

My research offers valuable insight for supply chain practitioners into how blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt existing supply chain deployments and highlights some challenges of its successful adoption. The work that I am engaged in is relevant across most sectors and timely.