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Capital One, UMD announce partnership to improve talent pipeline

The Hotel at the University of Maryland (Submitted image)

The Hotel at the University of Maryland , where Capital One will have offices as part of a partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park. (Submitted image)

Capital One Financial Corp. and the University of Maryland, College Park will announce a new partnership Tuesday designed to increase the talent pipeline in data and machine learning.

Under the partnership, Capital One will invest $3 million in the university to go towards an endowed chair, research and an innovation lab in the school’s Discovery District.

“What is so exciting about this announcement, is it’s really a model for engaging the private sector in the future, where a company of the caliber of Capital One makes an investment into the academic enterprise of the university,” said Ken Ulman, chief strategy officer for economic development at the university.

Of the $3 million investment, $2.1 million will be used to endow a Capital One Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. The remaining $900,000 will support research and education in machine learning, data analytics and cybersecurity.

The university hopes that this collaboration with Capital One can become a model for more interactions with private companies.

As part of the collaboration, Capital One will maintain offices with full-time employees at the Diamondback Garage, the parking garage behind The Hotel at the University of Maryland. Part of the garage includes space for startups and private entities.

Through the university’s First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program, Capital One will work with the school to develop courses and research streams. These research streams will focus on data analytics, cybersecurity and machine learning and will be designed through collaboration between Capital One scientists and University of Maryland faculty.

“We are thrilled to extend our long-standing partnership with the University of Maryland to this important initiative, which will further position the university as one of the leading academic institutions and talent hubs for machine learning, data analytics, and cybersecurity not only in the region, but in the nation,” Adam Wenchel, Capital One’s vice president of AI and data innovation, said in a statement. “At Capital One, we are steadfast in our belief that machine learning and data analytics can greatly enhance our customers’ experience, and we are proud to support the next generation of technology innovators from UMD that will continue to harness these opportunities more broadly.”

In addition to the Capital One money, the university will endow two additional professorships through $2.1 million from the Maryland Department of Commerce and the state’s Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative.

Ulman hopes that changing downtown College Park landscape can bring more private companies into the University of Maryland’s environment. Currently, a lot of tenants around the university include federal agencies.

“We really are focused on diversifying our partners and having many more private companies,” he said. “Part of our greater College Park strategy is to make sure we are a great place for folks to come to work, to come to learn as a student and for private sector companies to want to locate here.”

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs recently moved into office space in the Discovery District.


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