University of Edinburgh: £7.5m venture boosts investment sector research

Edinburgh researchers are to help shape the future of the global investment sector, as part of a new multi-million pound partnership.

Asset manager abrdn is providing £7.5 million over five years to fund the initiative, which will seek to promote fresh understanding of social and environmental issues related to the sector.

The Centre for Investing Innovation will aim to deliver innovation by encouraging collaboration between academics and business experts in a range of disciplines.

The new venture will be based within the University’s Edinburgh Futures Institute, which seeks to address many of the critical challenges facing society.

The partnership has been supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.

Key priorities
The centre will initially focus on three core priorities.

‘Sustainability’ will focus on environmental, social and governance factors and how they are embedded in the investment process. It will also explore how innovative investment practices can benefit society.

‘Thematic investing’ aims to harness the insights of both abrdn and the University to expand delivery of innovative future themes of positive return.

‘Innovating investing’ will further guide and embed technology, data science and artificial intelligence into abrdn’s business to support investors to drive future client-led growth and improve efficiency.

Bold vision
Through our partnership with abrdn, our multidisciplinary researchers will be working with a global asset management business to help shape the very future of investment. The University of Edinburgh’s collaborations with commercial partners help deliver innovation and insights that have wide-ranging benefits across society, and I’m proud that we are at the forefront of such industry engagement.”

Professor Peter Mathieson
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Alan Coutts, Investment COO, abrdn, will chair the centre’s Strategic Opportunities and Futures Board. Sotirios Sabanis, Director of Knowledge Exchange at the School of Mathematics, acting as lead for the University as Centre Director.

Track record
I am really excited about this new collaborative partnership between ourselves and a world-class university like Edinburgh who have a great track record in innovation. Coupled with our investment expertise, it will help broaden our scope of insight and together we will explore and inform the greater societal challenges in sustainable finance and financial wellbeing, along with markets and investment. This supports our goal of helping clients to be better investors but also broader society outcomes. It’s also an excellent development opportunity for our people to spend some time outside the financial services sector applying existing, and learning new skills.”

Stephen Bird
CEO of abrdn
The industry engagement process brought experts and professionals from across the University together. Led by Edinburgh Innovations with the Edinburgh Futures Institute, the Schools of Informatics and Mathematics were also instrumental in delivering the partnership.

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