EPSRC CENTRE for DOCTORAL TRAINING in Financial Computing & Analytics (covering Computational finance, Financial ICT, Regulation, Retail)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Computer Science

Abstract

CENTRE VISION
Our vision for the new CDT in Financial Computing and Analytics is to as a national 'beacon' linking PhD & Masters' students, industry and academia in financial computing and analytics. We and our Industry partners are also central to the forthcoming investments in Big Data from EPSRC and ESRC (e.g. Business Datasafe). Its principal objective is to educate the next generation of elite PhDs with unparalleled, cross-disciplinary expertise in applied computing, analytics and financial mathematics, as well as in-depth sector understanding, to meet an increasing demand for their skills within the Financial Service Industry, Government, Retail and other Service sectors.

Our existing DTC in Financial Computing is unique (there is no other research & training activity like it in the world) and by placing our PhD students in financial institutions and regulators it has had a major impact on the UK financial sector, as indicated by the Financial Times article (School for QUANTS) and our Letters of Support.

The CDT is a new partnership between UCL, LSE and ICL, all providing MRes courses and PhD supervision.

NATIONAL IMPORTANCE & GROWING NEED FOR CROSS-DISCIPLINARY SKILLS
London is the world's leading international financial centre and the UK financial services industry is the key sector for the UK economy, contributed £124bn to the UK economy, generating a trade surplus of £36bn in 2010 and employing 1 million people. London is also the location for our financial regulators and world-class Retailers. Our Financial and other Service industries are therefore crucial to the UK's, and especially London's, continuing social and economic prosperity. Although we receive over 600 enquiries/applications per annum, and growing, recent reports by McKinsey and Accenture highlight the major and growing skills shortage of (postgrad) IT/data scientists in the USA 22,000 and the UK 4,000.

EPSRC PRIORITIES AND RESEARCH
The proposed CDT is aligned to EPSRC priorities acro a number of Themes, in particular: Data to Knowledge (an ICT Theme priority), Industrially Focussed Mathematical Modelling (Mathematical Sciences) and New Digital Ventures (Digital Economy).
The crucially important IT research challenges in just one area, namely the application of software engineering, AI and verification/correctness to algorithms for automated trading, illustrates the enormous research opportunities.

IMPACT
The current DTC in Financial Computing is acknowledged by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills as having had a major impact on our financial industry partners and on our academic partners. This will continue with the new CDT, impacting Regulators, government, Retailers and analytics companies.
* STUDENTS - In 2011 the Centre funded more female PhD students than males, and in 2012 the Centre started 40 new PhD students if we count DTC funded students, students funded by other sources, such as retail and analytics companies, and industry-based part-time students.
* ACADEMIA - UCL, LSE and Imperial College have all appointed new faculty in applied financial computing and business analytics; and UCL and ICL have started new Masters programmes.
* INDUSTRY - many of the Banks now have established formal PhD programmes, in part due to the current DTC, and proved lecturers to the partners for industry-oriented programmes.
* REGULATORS AND GOVERNMENT- we have placed PhD students in the BoE/FSA/PRA/FCA and the Cabinet Office, and as discussed in the Case for Support, we have held individual meetings and workshops with the Regulators (BoE, PRA, FCA) and with new (Retailer) partners (Tesco, BUPA, Unilever) to discuss how we can support them.
* SOCIETAL - we encourage and support our PhD students in launching their own start-up, and we provide Masters and Undergraduate students to London-based start-ups, especially in the area called New Finance (e.g. P2P lending, crowdfunding).

Planned Impact

The current DTC in Financial Computing is acknowledged by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills as having had a major impact on our financial industry partners and on our academic partners. We and our Industry partners are also central to the forthcoming investments in Big Data from EPSRC and ESRC (e.g. Business Datasafe). The Pathways to Impact Attachment provides a comprehensive description of impact.

INDUSTRY
The Centre will continue to actively promote the placement of PhD and Masters students.
* PhD student placements- many of the Banks now have established formal PhD Internship programmes, in part due to the current DTC.
* Masters student placements - the Centre is actively involved in placing UCL Masters students in our partner companies, in part to address the shortage of PhD students.
* Utilising Industry Lecturers on Courses - UCL, LSE and Imperial College increasingly use industry professionals to enhance their finance-related courses and is popular with students.

REGULATORS AND GOVERNMENT
Collaboration with the financial Regulators and Government is a priority for the Centre (See letters of support from BoE, PRA and FCA).
*Financial regulators - currently we have 2 PhD students in the Bank of England, and we will be seeking to place more. In addition, with the new CDT we will be seeking to establish one or more major collaborative projects with the Regulators.
* Government - we have a PhD student collaborating with the Cabinet Office on their major cross-government benefit fraud programme, and we also support the MiData initiative.

SOCIETAL
The existing DTC and the proposed CDT's societal contribution focusses on supporting entrepreneurship.
* Entrepreneurship & start-ups - we will continue to encourage and support our PhD students in launching their own start-up.
* Professional (part-time) PhD students - we will continue to recruit young professionals who wish to pursue part-time PhDs.

ECONOMIC
* UK Services Sector - already the existing Centre is building research collaboration with companies such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Alliance Boots, BUPA, Unilever, P&G, dunnhumby and SAS.
* Other sectors - we are promoting, but not funding, analytics in other sectors, a notable example being Sports Analytics.

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