abrdn and the University of Edinburgh have formed an industry-academic partnership to deliver innovation in the investment sector.

The partnership will establish the Centre for Investing Innovation with funding of £7.5 million over five years from abrdn, the global asset manager. It will be based within the University’s Edinburgh Futures Institute, which is focused on addressing the critical challenges facing society.

Alan Coutts, Investment Chief Operating Officer, abrdn, will chair the Centre’s Strategic Opportunities and Futures Board, with Sotirios Sabanis, Director of Knowledge Exchange at the School of Mathematics, acting as lead for the University of Edinburgh as Centre Director.

Academic and business expertise across multiple disciplines will feed into collaborative research. This will support investment strategy at abrdn by leveraging world-class academic insight on the challenges and opportunities facing the company’s clients and the global investment sector. It will also drive new understanding of investment-related social and environmental sustainability issues.

The partnership has been supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.

Three core priorities will shape the initial work of the centre:

Sustainability’ will ensure abrdn is at the forefront of future trends differentiating outcomes associated to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and how they continue to be embedded in the abrdn investment process. It will also explore how innovative investment practices can deliver societal benefits.

Thematic investing’ aims to harness the insights of both abrdn and the University of Edinburgh to expand delivery of innovative future themes of positive return for clients.

Innovating investing’ will further guide and embed technology, data science and artificial intelligence into abrdn’s business to support investors to drive future client-led growth and improve efficiency.

Stephen Bird, CEO, abrdn, commented: “I am really excited about this new partnership with Edinburgh University whose track record of innovation and commitment to creating positive change is truly world class.  Together we will explore the great societal challenges of sustainable investing and explore new ways of creating financial wellbeing in a rapidly changing world.

“This supports our goal of helping clients to be better investors and it provides an excellent development opportunity for our people to spend some time outside of financial services applying their knowledge and expertise and learning new skills.”

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said:

“Through our partnership with abrdn, our multidisciplinary researchers will be working with a global asset management business to help shape the very future of investment.

“The University of Edinburgh’s collaborations with commercial partners help deliver innovation and insights that have wide-ranging benefits across society, and I’m proud that we are at the forefront of such industry engagement.”



Media enquiries

Patricia Corrigan, Media Relations Manager, abrdn


+44 (0) 774 092 4558

Gareth Overton, Communications Manager, Edinburgh Innovations, University of Edinburgh


+44 (0)7772 396 552

Notes to editors

  • At abrdn, our purpose is to enable our clients to be better investors.
  • abrdn plc manages and administers £542 billion of assets for clients, and has over 1 million shareholders. (Figures as at 31 December 2021)
  • Our business is structured around three vectors – Investments, Adviser and Personal – focused on the changing needs of our clients.
  • Our investments solutions are built on the strength of our insight – generated from wide-ranging research, worldwide investment expertise and local market knowledge.
  • Our teams collaborate across regions, asset classes and specialisms, connecting diverse perspectives, working with clients to identify investment opportunities that suit their needs.
  • Our Investments vector manages £464 billion (as at 31 December 2021) on behalf of institutional, wholesale and insurance clients, encompassing pension funds, governments, banks, insurers, companies, charities and foundations, and IFAs/DFMs – with support and expertise from 800 investment professionals in over 30 locations.


The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may get back less than the amount invested.


University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Innovations and Edinburgh Futures Institute

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 16th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts students and staff from across the globe, creating a unique Edinburgh experience. www.ed.ac.uk

Edinburgh Innovations is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. EI leads the University’s activities in industry engagement and business development, enterprise support for students and staff, and the identification, management and commercialisation of University intellectual property. https://edinburgh-innovations.ed.ac.uk

The Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) is a major strategic initiative of the University of Edinburgh. EFI offers a new approach to research, education and innovative partnerships. Collaborating with industry, government and communities to build a challenge-led and data-rich portfolio of activity that has demonstrable ethical, social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts. https://efi.ed.ac.uk



News articles

abrdn raises £205 million at launch of UK Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund

abrdn has launched the Commercial Real Estate Debt fund II (CRED II), an evergreen, UK-focused strategy for institutional investors.
31st March 2022

abrdn launches twin precious metals BDRs in Brazil

abrdn is proud to announce the launch of two BDRs referencing existing North American ETFs focused on precious metals.
19th April 2022

See more

More news and press releases from abrdn