By Regina Stracqualursi

Over the past few months, the financial services industry has experienced several major disruptions. From the social media-driven short squeeze of GameStop stock to the cyberattack that shut down a major U.S. pipeline, the number of challenges rising from an increasingly digital world has become clear.

The recently established Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT) is the first research center of its kind funded by the National Science Foundation to address such issues. Led by Aparna Gupta at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Steve Yang and George Calhoun at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology, the industry-university cooperative research center will work to define the future of the high-tech financial services industry.

“We have created a vibrant community of multidisciplinary researchers and industry professionals enthusiastic to address a range of technology and innovation challenges facing the financial services sector,” said Gupta.

CRAFT brings together industry partners, academic partners, and policy makers in research, including financial service organizations and global leaders of the industry. The collaborative research will address the many challenges facing the financial services sector, drive innovation, and help create a more skilled and diverse workforce. Some of the research areas CRAFT will focus on include cybersecurity; high-frequency automated markets; technology risk and regulation; commercialization; and applications of blockchain, quantum computing, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

“The federal government’s investment in CRAFT demonstrates the critical need for collaborative fintech research and policy initiatives to guide the industry in this high-tech transformation,” said Yang.

Rensselaer and Stevens bring expertise and resources to CRAFT, including the Hanlon Financial Systems Center at Stevens and a specialized program in quantitative finance and risk analytics at Rensselaer.