Financial services research cluster launched

14 Oct 2009

The Government this morning announced its investment of more than €4 million in the establishment of a new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Research Cluster designed to create a centre of financial research excellence.

The Financial Mathematics and Computation Cluster (FMC2) will bring together complementary expertise in financial mathematics, financial economics and computer science. Research at the new cluster, which will be led by Prof Anthony Brabazon of UCD, will initially focus on developing theory and methods for asset management to help enhance the development of the international financial services industry in Ireland and drive future employment in this area.  

Service exports and employment

Making the announcement, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD, noted the IFSC generates about €22 billion in services exports annually and employs more than 25,000 people. “Today, the establishment of the FMC2 SFI Strategic Research Cluster further builds on this and dispels any notion that scientific research and investment is primarily theoretical and somewhat removed from the day-to-day economic activity of our country,” she said.

“Global events of the past 18 months have shown us just how interconnected different sectors of our society really are in an economic content. Such interdependency highlights the need for diverse disciplines to converge and work in unison towards recovery. This new SFI Strategic Research Cluster does just that, as it brings together complementary expertise in financial mathematics, financial economics and computer science to create a multi-disciplinary research centre.”

FMC2 collaborators

FMC2 will involve collaboration and engagement with a range of researchers in DCU, NUI Maynooth, University of Ulster, UCLA, Columbia University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. In addition, industry partners involved with FMC2 so far include Pioneer Investments, Ryan Capital Ltd and The Institute of Bankers in Ireland.

“Firms in the IFSC are facing ever-increasing pressures from competitors in other jurisdictions so we need to ‘up our game’ if we want to continue to grow employment in this sector,” said Brabazon. “A key enabling factor is the deepening of the pool of high-calibre, financially-trained graduates with quantitative skills for employment in financial services firms.

“A prime objective of the research cluster is to support industry product and process innovation in order to grow employment in the financial services sector in Ireland. The cluster’s researchers will be working directly with our industrial collaborators in order to help achieve this goal,” he added.

“Focusing on the three fundamental elements of financial markets – risk, information and liquidity – FMC² will undertake world-class research in areas of strategic relevance to the financial services industry in Ireland,” said Prof Frank Gannon, director general of SFI. “By training highly-skilled PhD and post-doctoral researchers for the financial services sector, Ireland will be able to develop high-end asset management and financial products which will underpin the future development of the international financial services sector in Ireland, and foster employment growth in companies already located here, as well as increasing the attractiveness of Ireland as a location for new foreign direct investment.”

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Photo: At the announcement of €4.7 million in funding for FMC2, a new Science Foundation Ireland ‘Strategic Research Cluster’ (SRC), were (left to right) Prof Anthony Brabazon, head of FMC2, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, and Prof Frank Gannon, director general, SFI.