Research & Innovation

CRAFTing the Future of Fintech

Bi-Annual Industry Advisory Board meetings bring together industry and academia to identify strategic priorities for the CRAFT Center and fintech industry. 

The future of fintech is here, thanks to a partnership between the National Science Foundation, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. These institutions have also partnered with 18 leading financial organizations including Bank of America, Charles Schwab, CME, Goldman Sachs, IBM, SWIFT, Vanguard and Wells Fargo. 

This fintech consortium will be convening early next month for the annual Fall 2023 Industry Advisory Board meeting to further discuss how to advance financial technologies by bridging the gap between academia and industry through the Center of Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT).  

This year's meeting will explore potential projects around deep learning models, large transaction models, next-generation AI-powered financial advising, and other pressing industry topics. Representatives from the United Nations, Imperial College and UK Fin+ will give the keynote address to attendees. Panel discussions will focus on fintech innovation and commercialization and workforce development, diversity, equity and Inclusion. 

“In its third year, CRAFT is developing a strong research portfolio that is responsive to emerging industry priorities with the much-valued guidance of CRAFT industry members,” says Aparna Gupta, CRAFT co-director and site director, associate dean of academic affairs and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management. “Alongside research, CRAFT is making focused contributions to enhancing opportunities for students in workforce development, as well as pursuing the commercialization prospects of innovation from CRAFT-funded research.” 

This event is open to the public. To join virtually, register here and use the password BofA2023! 

Launched in 2021, CRAFT is an industry-university cooperative research center funded by the National Science Foundation and is the very first NSF center to focus on fintech. It brings together industry partners, academic researchers, federal agencies, and students to support innovations in core financial services, such as trading, investing, banking, payments, lending and insurance. Innovations are also being developed in important segments of the real economy, such as health care, supply chains, energy sustainability, and green finance. 

CRAFT has funded 14 projects on AI, decentralized finance, quantum finance and more critical fintech topics, totaling $1.08 million in grants. These projects are presented to the industry members who vote and select topics. “CRAFT’s research apparatus is aiming to infuse most recent technological breakthroughs with the finance industry’s constant drive for efficiency and productivity and produce socially responsible and accessible products and innovations,” explains Steve Yang, CRAFTs director and associate professor at Stevens Institute of Technology School of Business. “And CRAFT’s members are supporting high risk and high reward projects in addressing the most challenging problems faced by the industry.”

These projects are supported by more than 60 affiliated faculty members. Most recently, the United Nations was welcomed as an affiliate member this month with the goal of working with the global financial industry leaders to increase finance accessibility and level the playing field for many developing nations through addressing climate impact and financial literacy issues.