Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute: The promise of corporate-academic partnerships

In 2018, three influential local organizations – Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – united to form the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI) with a shared focus on the ever-evolving and dynamic domains of data science and artificial intelligence.

Today, the NMDSI remains committed to advancing research innovation, creating education pathways and driving community impact; our mission holds greater relevancy than ever before.

Jonathan Stark

Northwestern Mutual, Marquette and UWM all recognize and contribute to Southeastern Wisconsin’s trajectory as a national hub for technology. With nearly $75 million in investments committed to date, NMDSI continues to push the boundaries for what is possible.

The institute also provides funding for an endowed professorship at each university, research projects/grants, student scholarships, new faculty recruitment, development of expanded curriculum and new degree programs, K-12 STEM and pre-college programming, including internships and certificates. Fostering increased collaboration and generating innovative project ideation across the institute and our community partners, our NMDSI-affiliated faculty have garnered more than $17 million in grants to date.

Last fall, as part of our five-year renewed investment, we developed a new Center of Excellence initiative through which we announced three innovative programs and engagement opportunities for our university partners. As a result, we awarded $500,000 in research dollars as part of the Paving ROADS Seed Fund Program, $100,000 on behalf of the Pioneer Curricula Program and $175,000 for the NMDSI Student Research Scholars Program. Moreover, the NMDSI also organizes numerous events that have attracted thousands of attendees since our inception. This is only the beginning of what is possible when industry collaborates with academia.

I am extremely proud of how far we have come over the past six years and am even more excited about our future. We will soon be rolling out our NMDSI Industry Affiliate Program, an opportunity to add additional partners who share in the mission of the NMDSI. In addition to our ongoing monthly speaker series, we have various upcoming engagement opportunities through the end of the year, including a Faculty AI Summit in partnership with the Higher Education Regional Alliance and a national conference focused on the ethics of AI. I encourage you to visit the NMDSI website to stay up to date on all our news/events, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn.

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