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NatWest and University of Edinburgh form partnership to research data use in banking sector

Scottish university and banking group set up research centre that will aim to improve the use of banking data

University of Edinburgh researchers will work on projects to improve the use of banking data through partnership with the NatWest Group.

The agreement will see business insights from NatWest combined with the university’s research, data and social science resources in the new Centre for Purpose-Driven Innovation in Banking.

The goal us to “improve how data is used to benefit bank customers, students, researchers and policymakers”, said a NatWest statement.

The partnership will run for five years, with £2m from NatWest covering the first two years’ work, with 100 academics across the whole of the university bringing the latest academic developments and thinking in data science and AI, climate change, business and the social sciences to tackle issues in the banking sector.

Alison Rose, CEO at 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.”

Peter Mathieson, vice-chancellor at the University of Edinburgh, said the centre’s finding will aim to benefit society: “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.” 

Michael Rovatsos, chair in artificial intelligence at the university’s school of informatics; and Gbenga Ibikunle, chair in finance at the University of Edinburgh Business School, will co-direct the centre.

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