[07/06/23] Bayes Centre News: NatWest and the University of Edinburgh launch new innovation centre
NatWest Group and the University of Edinburgh have today announced a new partnership based on challenge-led research and innovation that will improve how data is used to benefit bank customers, students, researchers and policy makers.
The Centre for Purpose-Driven Innovation in Banking will combine business insights from NatWest Group (NWG) with the University’s research, data and social science expertise to co-create data-driven, novel solutions for the future of banking.
The Centre builds on previous joint work between the University and the banking group around technological innovation in financial services provision, harnessing data for public good and climate education.
The new strategic partnership, supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, is planned for five years, with an initial commitment of £2m from NWG for the first two years of activity.
Dame Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, said:
By combining the University of Edinburgh's world class research and social science expertise with NatWest's in-depth customer and business understanding, we are creating a partnership which drives innovation and ensures that our customer experience is best in class.
This, once again, shows that through the power of partnerships, we can support the people, families and business we serve and help them thrive.
Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said:
Our world is faced with a variety of significant and complex challenges, from poor health to climate change and the complicated mix of challenge and opportunity associated with the emergence of artificial intelligence.
The Centre for Purpose-Driven Innovation in Banking will bring together the University’s expertise with NatWest’s in-depth data and business understanding to co-create multidisciplinary research with business applications. The insights generated will help us translate cutting edge research into real world solutions to benefit society.
Dr George Baxter, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations (EI), said:
EI is proud to be building long-term, industry-academia partnerships that support the University’s strategic goals. By collaborating, we will ensure innovative solutions to the challenges we all face, such as financial wellbeing and harnessing data for good.
The Centre, led by the Data-Driven Innovations hubs the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Bayes Centre, part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, will draw on expertise from more than 100 academics across the University.
Innovation activity will include skills and talent development for bank staff and university students, as well as challenge-led research and development activities. The Centre will bring the latest academic developments and thinking in data science and AI, climate change, business and the social sciences to tackling issues in the banking sector.
Professor Michael Rovatsos, Director of the Bayes Centre and Chair in Artificial Intelligence at the School of Informatics, will co-direct the Centre with Professor Gbenga Ibikunle, Chair in Finance at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
Professor Ibikunle said:
The Centre for Purpose-Driven Innovation in Banking is another enhancement of the excellent student experience we provide at the University of Edinburgh. It will present our students and researchers with industry challenges and interactions to develop our talent for the future, and help our students secure graduate jobs. It will also ensure the impact of our research on the financial services sector and society beyond.
The partnership was developed by Ksenia Grant, Director of Financial Services and Fintech Sector Engagement at Edinburgh Innovations, based at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, working with Nicky Day in the University’s Legal Services team. Early support came from Lorraine Kerr of EI’s Strategic Partnerships Team.