Featured Article 14 Dec 2015

The Irish Times
Clifford Coonan in Beijing

International bank State Street is linking up with University College Cork (UCC) and Zhejiang University (ZJU) in eastern China to set up an R&D facility in both universities to help develop programmes in the financial technology sector.

The two areas to be targeted by researchers in UCC and ZJU under the link will be crypto-currency, such as Bitcoin, and also the technologies that investors will use in the future.

“Over the last couple of years fintech has become key to organisations like State Street,” Susan Dargan, head of State Street’s Global Services Offshore business, told The Irish Times.

“We are looking at where our industry is going next. Ireland as a location is seen as very saleable. The breadth of international financial services capability and the breadth of the technology industry is probably unrivalled in terms of ability to access the full knowledge base. It was natural that we would look at Ireland as a location,” said Ms Dargan.

Zhejiang University is located in Hangzhou, the capital city of the prosperous eastern Chinese province.

State Street has a substantial Irish operation.

Research exchange
The technology centre will initially engage 20 students from both UCC and ZJU and the partnership will include a research exchange programme for students between the two universities. In addition, UCC will also look into establishing an associated master and doctoral programmes, including a Chinese language element.

“It’s a natural extension of our innovation agenda, and gives an opportunity to the research bodies to work together on joint technology projects and emerging technology projects,” said Ms Dargan.

The first students will start in January 2016.

Simon Harris, Minister of State with responsibility for International Financial Services, said the new technology centre was a major milestone in State Street’s long-standing relationship with UCC.

“I look forward to financial services R&D there advancing to new heights in collaboration with Zhejiang University,” the minister said in a statement.

Professor Ciaran Murphy, dean of Cork University Business School, said UCC had beaten off competition from other universities in Europe to become the site of the technology centre.

Top three
“In joining with our colleagues in Zhejiang University we are collaborating with one of the top three universities in China. We are confident that the centre will create a unique global research experience for our students and will help Ireland to be at the forefront of fintech research,” said Prof Murphy.

Yang Xiaohu, executive vice dean of Zhejiang University Software College and head of State Street Zhejiang University Technology Centre said ZJU had partnered with State Street for 14 years on research and development of advanced information technologies for State Street’s global needs.

“We appreciate this new initiative very much and look forward to working together with State Street and UCC for more success,” said Mr Yang.

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