An investment of R$ 2.5m will be spent on master's and PhD scholarships and on fostering new technologies.
The project includes building physical premises and developing artificial intelligence, machine learning and complex network solutions.
São Paulo, 25 February 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – In a first-time-ever partnership with Unicamp, Santander Brazil will create an open innovation and development hub for digital technologies. Investing R$ 2.5m in the project, including research and infrastructure, Santander Universities (Santander Brazil's education arm) will finance nine master's degree researchers and eight PhD researchers at Unicamp by means of an ecosystem created from the Instituto de Computação (IC). The goal is to foster research for the improvement of the relationship with end consumers and to support new professional talent.
The research projects will search for innovative solutions and upgrades to digital tools based on, for example, artificial intelligence, machine learning and complex networks. The initiatives may be intented to understand customers better and thus improve customer service and product offerings. The research may also help with document validation and to achieve more secure and agile processes (see research areas below).
Santander is a financial institution with a strong focus on innovation by creating a unique in-house entrepreneurial culture to look at today's world from a new perspective, and always from a critical standpoint. This determined culture, eager to do and laser-focused on profitable growth, means that teams strive for broader network designs. For this reason, we have created the Santander Unicamp Hub with the key aim of nurturing new cells of technological development. In this particular case, the new cell targets data without compromising ethics and while managing this new world of data. All while learning from each other and from algorithms. We believe algorithms must not be used simply to offer consumer-orientated responses. Instead, they must be used to find multiple choices and alternatives. "We are extremely happy with our partnership with one of the best universities in Brazil, Unicamp. We are firm believers in partnerships with the best science centres in the country and with the private sector. With this partnership, we already had the satisfaction of awarding two PhD grants to two leading talents at Unicamp. Let many more come this way", stated Sérgio Rial, CEO of Santander Brazil.
The hub will also target human capital by training and engaging Santander's employees and the entire student and teaching body. To this end, regular workshops will be organised with Santander employees and Unicamp's students and researchers to exchange experiences and knowledge and discuss potential improvements. Without forgetting recruitment events, trade fairs and hackathons.
"This project represents a further step towards consolidating Unicamp's partnership with Banco Santander, which has already supported several of the university's internationalisation, expansion and cultural initiatives. The bank's support for applied research, in conjunction with the Instituto de Computação and other units, will be extremely beneficial for all parties involved. The research will focus on cutting-edge technologies and high-quality training and help to create the innovation ecosystem in the region and the country", explained Marcelo Knobel, Unicamp's rector.
Research areas promoted by Santander Unicamp Hub: Model explanatory and interpretation capabilities
Research area aimed at understanding the decisions of machine-learning models to turn the result into something tangible and understandable. Its fields of application range from explaining Santander's models for regulatory bodies to the interpretation for audiences in different segments.
Area for the advancement of transcription tools and instruments, analysis of feelings, and detection of silence and speakers. This research can be used to further develop the call centre tools for call transcription, analysis of service quality, and detection of customers with attrition and reasons for complaints, for example.
Text analysis and processing of natural language
The analysis of feelings in a text can be used to understand transcribed audios from call centres, process social media messages and monitor emails. It can also be applied to improving chatbots and reducing the need for calls to call centres or visits to branches to answer questions.
Computing vision and image processing
Research area aimed at enabling computers to process an image and understand its content. It can be applied to countless areas such as autonomous vehicles and medical diagnosis. It can also be used at the bank to read, check and validate documents, thus increasing process security and agility and improving customer service. Or it can be applied to video proof-of-life checks for current account holders.
Area aimed at understanding relationship networks, transaction networks and dependency networks to look into how people relate to each other. Understanding the behaviour and environments in which a company's transactions and different target audiences interact, as an instrument to foster new business.
Area aimed at finding optimal solutions, sometimes non-trivial, for the most complex problems. In the bank, it can be applied to logistical issues with the distribution of bank credit bills at branches and ATMs and with the opening of new offices.
Computer safety and forensic computing
Area aimed at understanding the vulnerabilities of computer systems and proposing solutions to make them more robust and secure. At the bank, it is used to improve the security of digital channels and customer service apps.
About Santander Universities
Santander Brazil was one of the top 10 companies in Fortune's Change The World 2019 ranking of companies that help the world become a better place through their own businesses. Its strong commitment to higher education, materialised through Santander Universities (www.santander.com/universidades), has also earned
the bank the title of the biggest corporate investor in education in the world according to the 2018 Varkey/UNESCO/Fortune 500 report. One thousand partnership agreements are already in place with universities and institutions in 22 countries, with more than €1.8 billion earmarked for academic initiatives since 2002. Santander Brazil has invested more than R$ 40m per year in education, and supported more than 24,000 students through several scholarship programmes.