Mastercard is to commit $5 million to support the creation of a Center for Applied Data Science and Analytics (Cadsa) at Howard University, focused on addressing racial bias in AI-driven credit approval processes.
The interdisciplinary unit is being set up to support social impact research and training for a new generation of data scientists with expertise in incorporating analysis of racial bias in financial services.
“Data science touches everything, and it’s going to continue to be increasingly impactful in everything that we do,” says Howard University rovost and chief academic officer Anthony Wutoh. “We’re grateful for the partnership with Mastercard in enabling us to use data science to answer some of the broader societal questions we believe Howard can significantly impact, including those around health care and economic disparities”
He says black communities face unique challenges around algorithmic bias in financial services and specifically with credit decisions and that Casda will seek to conduct research examining how data science can contribute to minimising such bias in credit approval processes.
“Data is embedded in nearly every facet of our lives and ensuring it is used responsibly and positively impacts society’s most pressing issues is paramount,” says Salah Goss, SVP for social impact for the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the company’s philanthropic hub that is administering the grant. “Howard University is taking a novel approach to addressing data science research by investing in a new generation of professionals who can combine the rigor of science with broader societal impact.”
The Washington DC-based faculty will open for the Spring 2022 semester.