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Forecasting an innovative partnership

A new agreement will see Queen’s become the research and development hub for The PRS Group, a leading firm specializing in quantitative analysis-based risk forecasts

Take a scan of the daily news and you will find a world in motion with each day bringing new developments and new challenges. Trying to weigh all that happens in a day and make a prediction – about whether a particular investment makes sense, or whether a country has become more or less safe – is difficult. Yet, at the same time, technological advances are offering analysts new opportunities to refine and strengthen their predictions, and there is a strong demand for accurate, reliable estimates.

This is why The PRS Group, a leading firm that specializes in quantitative analysis-based risk forecasts, is looking to harness artificial intelligence to augment its products, and PRS wants to partner with Queen’s to help make it happen. Queen’s and The PRS Group recently announced the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding. Under this agreement, Queen’s and PRS will jointly form an Artificial Intelligence Initiative that will harness the strengths of Queen’s, create opportunities for both graduate students and faculty members, and set in motion the development and commercialization of highly sophisticated analytical tools.

“The PRS Group | Queen’s University Artificial Intelligence Initiative unites two innovative partners in support of cutting-edge research and student learning,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s. “This collaboration with The PRS Group will provide faculty and graduate students with valuable opportunities to engage in hands-on learning and research with numerous organizations. Additionally, this partnership establishes Queen’s as the research and development hub for the company, growing our research reputation. I want to thank our Office of Partnerships & Innovation for their efforts in establishing this relationship.”

The PRS Group logo. The tagline reads "Est. 1979 - Challenging Borders, Challenging Risk." (Supplied Photo)

Under this agreement, the company, which is based in Syracuse, New York, will leverage the expertise of Queen’s faculty and graduate students through research contracts and internships, and the expertise and resources of the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC) to broaden and deepen the company’s analytical capabilities. The PRS Group will also promote its collaboration with Queen’s to attract joint research and service contracts from its roster of international clients, including the world’s largest institutional investors, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, multinational corporations, and leading academic institutions.

“Our agreement with Queen’s University establishes The PRS Group as the only quant-driven political risk firm that combines four decades of independently back-tested proprietary risk data with sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence”, says Christopher McKee (PhD’94), CEO of The PRS Group. “Our initial work with the Centre for Advanced Computing at Queen’s has delivered very insightful analyses, and attracted significant global interest.”

The Cognitive Development Hub of the CAC and PRS hope to work together to find ways artificial intelligence could be used to identify risk factors faster and more accurately, thus providing PRS and its clients with insights to help direct future investments. The Queen’s Economics Department (QED) is also interested in engaging with The PRS Group in the future, and more Queen’s departments may take advantage of this collaboration down the line.

“Several faculty members have interest in empirical cross-country, economic and political issues and use-related data, others are engaged in work on financial risk management and regulation, and several faculty and students are focused on developing new methods for analyzing time-series and cross-sectional data,” says Huw Lloyd-Ellis, head of QED. “We look forward to the opportunities still to come through this new collaboration.”

To learn more about The PRS Group, visit www.prsgroup.com