NatWest has invested £2 million to create a 'Centre for Purpose-Driven Innovation in Banking' in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.
The new unit will combine business insights from NatWest Group with the University’s research, data and social science expertise to build 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 NatWest for the first two years of activity.
The Centre, led by the innovations hubs Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Bayes Centre, will draw on expertise from more than 100 academics across the whole of the University.
Innovation activity will include skills and talent development for bank staff and university students and challenge-led research and development activities. The Centre will aim to 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, 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.
Dame Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, says: “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.