Once a nearly blank canvas inviting imagination for what the university of the future may look like, the University of Delaware’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus is realizing such transformation on a daily basis. Combining top academics and research with industry and community partnerships, a renewed future is shaping in real time at this intersection of discovery, education and innovation, driven by a bold vision for positive impact on the world.
UD, Delaware Technology Park (DTP) and Discover Bank will partner on the construction of a new building that continues the STAR Campus’s march into the future, adding a building block that taps into the evolving world of financial services technology — commonly called FinTech — with an eye on growth for Delaware.
Like the previous construction on STAR Campus, the six-story, 100,000-square feet structure will bring various facets of an industry together under one roof, in this case the academic, business and governmental segments of the financial world.
“Working with DTP and Discover to strengthen Delaware’s growing FinTech sector, the University of Delaware is proud to participate in this public-private partnership, continuing development of knowledge and innovations that help drive our state’s economy,” said UD President Dennis Assanis. “Our University is a national leader in finance, technology and entrepreneurship, so combining our expertise and resources in these complementary fields will yield exciting opportunities for our students and faculty with meaningful impact on society.”
The new FinTech building will add immense value to Delaware’s growing prowess in financial technology. More and more financial services companies are morphing into technology companies. Global investment in FinTech-related companies rose from $18.9 billion in 2013 to $111.8 billion in 2018, according to a recent report by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.
“We’re working hard in Delaware to support those entrepreneurs and innovators who will keep our state competitive in the 21st century economy, and drive new job creation,” Governor John Carney said. “We’re also good at working together in Delaware, and I am really pleased to see this kind of collaboration between the private sector and the University of Delaware. This partnership at the STAR Campus will help create a pipeline of skilled local talent, support our entrepreneurs, build on our strength in financial technology, and strengthen our economy over the long term.”
By constructing a hub where the financial services industry and academia intersect with technology and innovation, UD, Discover and DTP will contribute to the vitality of Delaware’s economy. UD’s research and instruction in data-related disciplines will create a highly capable workforce to feed the FinTech industry in Delaware, including the start-up businesses that will hatch, grow and spin out of the new facility.
The building will house:
- Spaces for startups to develop and grow, managed by Delaware Technology Park. Tenants will have onsite access to business development resources and technical assistance.
- Labs and centers associated within UD’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. These spaces will link strengths and resources from both colleges on topics such as financial analytics, cybersecurity, human-machine learning and data analysis.
- UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) will relocate its offices from the Delaware Technology Park’s Innovation Way location.
- Delaware’s Small Business Development Center, which will be synergistically located to offer assistance to OEIP’s Spin In program. This program connects UD undergraduate students with community entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to give them an inside look at business innovation in action and a chance to apply what they’re learning in real-life situations.
“Delaware Technology Park is excited to launch a new building project on STAR Campus in conjunction with the University of Delaware and funded by Discover Bank,” said Mike Bowman, president and CEO of DTP. “It will contain faculty, students and entrepreneurs with outstanding data science knowledge and digital management competencies as well as support resources for business development and community education.”
The $38 million project will be funded via a favorable below market interest rate loan by Discover Bank to DTP, the owner of the building. UD will lease space in the building.
Discover Bank is currently exploring ways to partner with UD on research related to the financial technology needs of the bank that may include cyber-related technologies, and consumer data analytics, applications and behaviors. A national nonprofit focused on improving the financial health of communities, has partnered with Discover Bank to work with UD, DTP, entrepreneurs and the community on the utilization and testing of financial technologies to improve consumer financial health.
“Discover Bank is dedicated to building stronger communities, which is why we’ve championed this project with the Delaware Technology Park and the University of Delaware to expand economic opportunities, create jobs in financial services and FinTech, and promote financial health for underserved populations,” said Discover Bank President James J. Roszkowski. “The development at STAR helps us realize our vision of creating brighter financial futures for consumers as well as creating new opportunities for the business community.”
The building, which is scheduled for a 2021 opening, will mark the first sizable presence of Lerner College on the STAR Campus.
“This project will create an excellent opportunity for UD students to explore new frontiers in data-related disciplines including computer and information sciences, computer engineering and financial analytics,” UD Provost Robin Morgan said. “With a focus on setting up our students for success, the UD community will have access to new space for academic growth and the pursuit of employment opportunities in the continuously expanding FinTech industry here in Delaware.”
Potential plans and programs include a cybersecurity leadership center that would link Lerner’s cybersecurity management with the College of Engineering’s cybersecurity engineering and technology, a space for human-machine learning and social media data analysis and a multi-media studio.