Clack has secured roughly £13m external funding for research, teaching and knowledge transfer, and has founded and led a series of highly successful initiatives at UCL and elsewhere.  A particular focus has been interaction with other disciplines and leading change in the way that academia interacts with the financial services sector.

  • Financial Computing MSc

    The UCL Financial Computing MSc (2007)

    Founded in partnership with Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Reuters, this new MSc aims to increase the diversity of graduate intake from UCL into investment banking technology careers and provides a pathway for highly talented students from non-IT backgrounds to give them the skills they need for a career in financial services technology.

    The partner banks are deeply involved in the curriculum design and annual updates thereof (with appropriate academic guidance and governance from UCL); the delivery of the curriculum, including a large number of lectures (typically 30 hours each year, involving 30-60 bank staff), tutorials & mentoring, and the hosting of summer projects.

    The target enrollment for this degree programme is 20-30, and the MSc specifically aims to attract a highly diverse body of students - in particular, to exceed the CS department historical norm of roughly 15% women students).

    Metrics:

    Date Applications Enrollment Gender Diversity 2007-2008 174 45 47% 2008-2009 224 28 61% 2009-2010 202 31 52% 2010-2011 250 34 53% 2011-2012 301 24 46%

    National and international recognition:

    The new MSc programme and the new laboratory (see below) have attracted repeated interest from the press (e.g. The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, various industry magazines) and broadcast media (e.g. BBC News, BBC Radio 5) - mostly in the UK but also overseas (we have, for example, been visited by a camera crew from an Austrian television production company).

    UCL is now an established graduate recruitment pipeline for technology graduates seeking IT careers with investment banks throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    We have received delegations and expressions of interest from many universities in the Far East (e.g. Dalian University of Technology, China; National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; the University of Malaya; the National University of Singapore) who are now sending their graduates to London to study on the MScFC.

    We have assisted the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary to establish degree-level modules in Financial Computing in partnership with Morgan Stanley and with assistance from the London Business School.

    Awards

    Finalist: LDA Commercial Deal of the Year Award [2008]

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  • Virtual Trading Floor

    The Virtual Trading Floor (2007)

    Founded in partnership with Reuters, and with sponsorship from Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

    The Virtual Trading Floor is Europe's largest IT educational trading floor, established to support the new MSc in Financial Computing and also to support Financial Computing research. It comprises 30 "trader-spec" PCs each with dual screens, Reuters software and real-time streaming data-feeds from the world’s financial exchanges. 

    National and international recognition:

    The new laboratory has attracted repeated interest from the press (e.g. The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, various industry magazines) and broadcast media (e.g. BBC News, BBC Radio 5) - mostly in the UK but also overseas (we have, for example, been visited by a camera crew from an Austrian television production company).

    Follow this link for the UCL news item [1] and the following links for UCL in the News: [2] [3]. Awards Winner: UCL Enterprise Partner of the Year Award [2008]

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  • Financial Services KTN

    The Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network (FS-KTN) (2009)

    In 2009 Clack established the independent venture "FS-KTN" and was co-Director of the FS-KTN for the highly successful first period from 2009-2010.

    Funding for the FS-KTN was secured from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to bring academia together with industry and encourage partnerships and the identification of business challenges to inform academic research.

    At an event to mark the launch of the new KTN on 20th October 2009, Sir Win Bischoff (Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group) addressed the most senior and influential figures in financial services, academics and partner organisations. He congratulated Clack for winning the bid to set up this KTN and called for greater and more focussed partnership between and amongst these communities leading to significant progress in supporting and protecting the future prominence of the UK's international financial services industries.

    The FS-KTN advisory board includes: Arun Aggarwal (UK regional director, SWIFT), Prof. Dave Cliff (Bristol University), Sir John Gieve (chairman, VocaLink and ex-deputy of the Bank of England), Prof. Dougal Goodman (Lighthill Risk Network), George Maddison (vice chairman of UK investment banking, Credit Suisse), Andrew Milligan (head of global strategy at Standard Life), Lord Ron Oxburgh, Adrian Pearce (Credit Suisse), Prof. Michael Power (LSE), Marilyn Ramplin (Ramplin Capital), Anthony Salz (executive vice-chairman of Rothschild), and Richard Ward (CEO, Lloyd's).

    The FS-KTN was designed as a dynamic network of partner organisations, led by an independent special-purpose not-for-profit company "FS-Net". The partner organisations included:

    • Universities: Brunel University, Cass Business School (City University), Cranfield University, Heriot-Watt University, The Financial Services Research Forum (Nottingham University), University College London (UCL), University of Aston, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Oxford, University of St. Andrews, and University of Strathclyde.
    • Networking, consulting and domain-specialist organisations: Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, Expand Consulting, The 451 Group, The Financial Services Club (see also The Finanser), The London Technology Network, The Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative, The Practical Law Company, and The Willis Research Network.
    • Trade associations & Professional Bodies: The Actuarial Profession, The Association of British Insurers, and The Chartered Insurance Institute.
    • Regional bodies and business support: Greater London Enterprise, The Leeds Financial Services Initiative, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Financial Enterprise, and Ven Management.

    The new KTN had substantial support from across industry and academia and was welcomed by Sir Peter Middleton and Professor David Rhind:

    Sir Peter Middleton, Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, President of the BBA, and ex-Group Chairman of Barclays, said: "We need to stimulate debate and facilitate collaborative working with academia, government and business. Practical and inclusive approaches like this will be instrumental in moving this forward."

    Professor David Rhind CBE FRS FBA, Chairman, Royal Society Hidden Wealth Report Working Group added: “The recent Royal Society study into the role of science in the services sector showed we can do much better by bringing together those at the cutting edge in universities with senior players in service businesses. In particular, there has been a serious disconnect between these two groups in parts of the financial services - to our great detriment. So I very warmly welcome the initiative of the Technology Strategy Board and its partners in creating a Financial Services Sector Knowledge Transfer network.

    Outstandingly successful in its first year: the core team undertook over 150 meetings with industry and academia, ran over 30 workshops and 35 other events, and started work on 25 projects. Two key outputs for the FS-KTN in the first year were (i) a comprehensive review of research challenges in the financial services industry, to guide the research councils and academic researchers and (ii) a study of systemic risk in the financial markets (outsourced to JWG, with substantial input from Clack).

    Follow this link for the UCL-CS news item and this link for the UCL news item.

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Christopher D. Clack
Department of Computer Science
UCL
Gower Street
London
WC1E 6BT