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Ulster University has secured significant funding from CME Group Foundation to establish a new ‘Developing Financial Engineering Pipeline’ project which will include support for one PhD and ten MSc studentships.

CME Group Foundation will donate US$192,000 over a two-year period to support financial engineering scholarships and the project will be collaborative across the Ulster University Business School and the Faculty of Computing and Engineering.  This partnership follows on from the success of the CME Group Financial Innovation Laboratory which was officially opened in Jordanstown in August 2015.

Professor Gillian Armstrong explains,

“Ulster University Business School has received invaluable input and engagement from CME Group since its establishment in Belfast in 2012.  In parallel, the CME Group Foundation, which shares a strong community ethos with the Business School, with a particular focus on supporting students to prepare for careers in financial services, also provided significant investment to develop and actively support the Innovation Laboratory and Financial Services Academy.”

Senior lecturer, Michael Pogue continues,

“This further investment from the Foundation will enable a new cross faculty Financial Engineering initiative targeting the immediate and pipeline skills requirements for expertise in Financial Technology across Northern Ireland.  Essentially the funding will provide support for one PhD studentships and ten MSc studentships with the aim of introducing highly skilled graduates from non-financial engineering backgrounds to access careers in financial services.  This will be complemented by a comprehensive schools’ outreach programme encouraging greater understanding and enthusiasm about the study of finance, investment and technology at University.  We are hugely appreciative to CME Group Foundation for their continued support which will deliver mutual benefits to our students and this rapidly growing global industry.”

The ‘Developing Financial Engineering Pipeline’ project aims to address the skills gap by focusing on the pipeline of potential entrants at various stages over a two-year period.

This will include an extensive schools and community programme of educational aspiration and attainment raising; scholarships for study on Master’s level conversion programmes; and PhD studentships.

Alison Hamilton, Executive Director Software Engineering at CME Group commented,

“CME Group’s office in Belfast and has become a hub of technological innovation since it was established five years ago.  We see it as a vital part of our role as an employer in the region to take steps to equip the next generation with these employable skills, throughout their education.”

Kassie Davis, Executive Director at CME Foundation commented,

“CME Group Foundation is proud to offer the support to Ulster University and to the valuable work it is doing for the sector and for its students.  CME Group has a long track record of supporting educational initiatives that benefit individuals and the economy more broadly. We are therefore delighted to make this donation and to partner with Ulster University over the next two years.”

CME Group Foundation, which works primarily in the Chicago area, is the charitable arm of the global financial company, CME Group, which established an operation in Belfast in 2012.

The Foundation’s donation of US$175,000 in 2015 represented its first grant outside of the United States.