20 Mar 2019

Université de Montréal receives NSERC Create Program Funding

$1,6M to train Canadian researchers on machine learning in quantitative finance

Montréal, March 20, 2019 – The financial sector is the second largest source of income in the Canadian economy. The development and use of innovative information technology (IT) processes and solutions are important objectives for the global competitiveness of the Canadian finance sector. A key element driving future growth will be the sector’s capability to exploit big-data generated by digital marketplaces. This capability will depend on training a sufficient number of highly qualified personnel (HQP) with expertise in mathematics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, finance, and operations research.

Professor Manuel Morales of Université de Montréal’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics leads the “Machine Learning in Quantitative Finance and Business Analytics” initiative selected by the NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program, a $1,65 million research grant to be distributed over six years. This innovative training program will foster the acquisition and development of important professionals skills among students and postdoctoral fellows that complement their academic qualifications through academic training, industry internships, professional development training and job market integration.

This multidisciplinary project is centered on the collaboration with the leading academic-industry cluster of artificial intelligence expertise in the country including internationally recognized experts at six Canadian institutions (Université de Montréal, HEC Montreal, Concordia University, University of Calgary, University of Waterloo, and Queen’s University) and the close collaboration of the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), a key contributor.  The project is also supported, in various ways, by the following leading institutions: l’Autorité des marchés financiers, la Bourse de Montréal, BNP Paribas, Capital Markets, CIBC Asset Management, CWP Energy, Desjardins, INTACT, MNP, National Bank of Canada, PwC Analytics, RBC Scotiabank and the industrial cluster Finance Montreal to name a few.

“The CREATE program bridges the gap between academia and industry by endowing the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators with a combination of state-of-the-art theoretical knowledge and hands-on professional experience,” said Professor Morales. “With the support of our academic and industry experts, our project aims to become a Canadian reference for acquiring specialized skills and tackle the current and future IT challenges in quantitative finance and business analytics as the field integrates new AI technologies.”

“This innovative program is completely in line with IVADO’s objectives of being the link between academic expertise and industry’s needs and training the next generation of data scientists,” added Gilles Savard, CEO at IVADO. “We are excited to contribute to this synergistic partnership that will surely advance the benefits of machine learning for all our members and partners in the finance industry and community.”

By 2024, this program will have trained over 100 finance professionals to meet the modeling and implementation needs and challenges in the Canadian financial industry and contribute to its global competitiveness.

For more information, visit www.fin-ml.ca. Applications for the CREATE program for the 2019-2020 cohort will be opened very soon. Subscribe to the mailing list on the website to stay informed.

A Fin-ML launch event, co-organized by Finance Montréal, will be held on March 20, 2019 at 5:30 pm at Maison Manuvie.

About Université de Montréal

Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, Université de Montréal is a leading research university. It ranks among the top 100 universities worldwide and among the five best French-language universities. With its affiliated schools, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal, UdeM attracts over $500 million in research funding every year, making it one of the top three university research hubs in Canada. UdeM has more than 66,700 students, 2,400 professors and researchers, and an active global network of 400,000 alumni.


The Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) is a joint initiative of HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal that brings together nearly 100 industrial, academic and government partners. With over 1 000 member researchers, IVADO is a multidisciplinary centre of advanced expertise in statistics, artificial intelligence and operations research.

IVADO’s mission is to 1) contribute to the development of an economic sector in big data processing for decision making; 2) create privileged partnerships between industry and the administrative, social and academic sectors; 3) contribute to the advancement of knowledge and train new generations of data scientists; and 4) foster exchange and knowledge sharing between experts, partners, researchers and students.  IVADO provides a framework for six research centres: Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data Science for Real-Time Decision Making, CIRRELT, CRM, GERAD, MILA and Tech3Lab. 

Contact information:

Sandra Estrela

Communications Coordinator



cell. : 438-824-7244