Maths venture to help banks cut risks

Banks could be helped to curb their losses in the event of a financial crisis, thanks to an alliance with mathematicians.

Person's hand with pen in front of financial chart

An initiative, known as the Scottish Financial Risk Academy (SFRA), brings together researchers, students and finance companies to share their expertise and insights.

The SFRA is led by the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences, a joint research and teaching initiative between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University.

Financial partners

Several partners from the financial sector are taking part in the academy, including Lloyds Banking Group and RBS.

University researchers and postgraduate students are benefiting from the Academy’s knowledge exchange and student-centred activities.

Student placements in the finance sector bring together financial mathematical research and industry expertise.

Collaborative approach

The three main activities of the academy involve:

Students in lecture theatre
  • Twice-yearly seminars and workshops with experts from universities and the financial sector, aiming to develop financial risk expertise in Scotland
  • Student-focused activities, including placements for postgraduate students in financial service companies, allowing students first-hand experience and enabling companies to explore the benefits of university research collaborations
  • Industry-taught courses within MSc programmes, which will seek to attract top students and create a talent pool for the financial sector.

The SFRA was established with support from the Scottish Funding Council.

It aims to extend its activities to all Scottish financial sector companies and universities, with the aim of creating a leading community for financial risk education and knowledge exchange.

Strong pedigree

Michael Atiyah

Maths has been studied at Edinburgh since the University was founded in 1583.

The university is a leading destination for mathematics and attracts and fosters the best mathematical talent from around the world.

Among the historical figures associated with the School of Mathematics are Adam Ferguson, John Playfair, Sir John Leslie and James Clerk Maxwell.

Sir Michael Atiyah, an honorary professor in the School, is a recipient of the Abel Prize and the Fields Medal, which are regarded as the highest accolades in mathematics.

This is a great chance for maths students to get first-hand experience in companies, as well as for companies to get insights into the newest research.The SFRA is a necessary step which may help to prevent future financial crises of the types we saw in recent years.

Professor Michael SingerHead of School of Mathematics