NYU Shanghai Establishes Strategic Partnership with Shanghai Fintech Organizations

Three signatories shake hands and pose for photo
Sep 30 2021

In an official signing ceremony at NYU Shanghai’s Century Avenue campus on September 28, the university celebrated the establishment of a new strategic partnership with Shanghai-based financial technologies (fintech) research and development organizations Fintech Dataport and Nisi Data Science, a move designed to take the region to the forefront of global fintech innovation. 

The strategic plan includes the establishment of a new fintech research institute, the Zhangjiang Quantitative Finance Research Center, in which the 2011 Nobel laureate in economics Thomas J. Sargent will take a leading role. Sargent, William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business at NYU Stern School of Business and affiliated faculty at NYU Shanghai, recently joined the NYU-ECNU Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU Shanghai

Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of NYU Shanghai at Tuesday’s ceremony alongside Shanghai Financial Information Industry Park Development Company General Manager Min Hao and Nisi Data Science General Manager Lisa Xu. Pudong New District Deputy Director  Li Guohua, representatives of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Zhangjiang Administration Bureau, and representatives of Zhangjiang Group also attended the signing.

“This new [Zhangjiang Quantitative Finance Research] Center is a shining illustration of the fulfillment of many of NYU Shanghai’s goals, especially in terms of bringing the world’s top talent to Shanghai and in terms of serving the district of Pudong, which has been so strong a supporter of our endeavors,” Waley-Cohen said.

“By bringing in leading minds from around the world and providing the setting in which they can conduct their own research in the area of quantitative finance and fintech, but also train up the next generation of top-class thinkers, we are both setting in motion long-term innovation and also lighting the way to global leadership in these areas.” 

The Zhangjiang Quantitative Finance Research Center will be located in the Shanghai Financial Information Industry Park. The center will promote open-source research, leveraging NYU Shanghai’s academic strengths in mathematics, economics and data science and building upon Pudong and Fintech Dataport’s leading role in science and technological innovation at the institutional level. 

“I just want to say how happy I am to participate, even remotely, in this exciting ceremony for the Fintech Dataport, Nisi Data Science Cooperation and NYU Shanghai signing this Memorandum, starting this adventure,” Sargent said in a video address. “There are lots of exciting developments that are at the boundary of computer science, machine learning, and mathematics … [and] I’m very enthusiastic about the kinds of cooperation that I can have with people in Shanghai in this endeavor.

Sargent and his colleague Christopher Sims of Princeton University were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2011 “for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy.”  Sargent studies how changes in economic policy in various parts of the world impact global economic trends and activity, and he is one of the world’s leading scholars in macroeconomics, monetary economics, and time series econometrics.

“[NYU Shanghai] was designed to be an example of how talents from around the world and from different academic disciplines could work together to develop creative new understandings of the world we all share,” NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman said in an address at the signing ceremony. “It is therefore both appropriate and exciting that our university is today entering into a strategic partnership with the Fintech Dataport and with Nisi Data Science to deepen our collective understanding of fintech and how to align its development with the common values that unite humanity."

“Our city has made extraordinary progress over the years as it has developed as an international financial center. And all of us appreciate the decision that has been made to ensure that our city is on the cutting edge of efforts to use technology to ensure that financial information is used for the benefit of society and its members.”

The cultivation of international fintech researchers and professionals is a crucial long-term goal in the strategic plan, and a goal which NYU Shanghai is uniquely well-suited to fulfill as a trailblazer in international educational cooperation. The university now has nine years of experience recruiting and fostering world-class intellects to conduct research and to teach the next generation of top-tier students to become the drivers of global innovation in a variety of fields.

“NYU Shanghai as a university is uniquely connected in its genes to our modern world, in so many ways. Thus, we will very naturally be thrilled to be associated .... to the Fintech Dataport and Nisi Data Science Company, whose goals are to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship in financial technologies,” said Pierre Tarrès, Co-Director of the NYU-ECNU Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU Shanghai and NYU Shanghai Professor of Mathematics.

“It will enable us to bring together mathematicians and economists to precisely work on those questions, for instance: How to devise a Carbon emission market? In which ways do we incentivize producers and consumers towards greener energies? Or how to avoid and measure systemic risk?” Tarrès said. 

“We at NYU Shanghai are very grateful to Pudong New District, not only for furnishing us with a world-class environment in which to establish and develop our school, but also for providing us with an outstanding model of the pursuit of excellence and a powerful motivation to strive to the top,”  NYU Shanghai Chancellor Tong Shijun said. “As we stride into the future, we will continue to consider it our mission … to repay the people of Shanghai for their affection for and support of NYU Shanghai with ever more excellent teaching and research outcomes.”