Northwestern Mutual Renews Partnership with Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with New $35 Million Investment

Aug. 1, 2023

Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute champions southeastern Wisconsin as national hub for technology research, innovation and talent

NMDSI LogoMILWAUKEE — Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are deepening their commitment to the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI), extending their partnership for the groundbreaking organization through 2028. The three institutions will commit a total of $35 million to NMDSI over the next five years, building on the nearly $40 million invested to date to advance the Institute's mission of establishing Wisconsin as a recognized national hub for technology.

Through the continued collaboration of key corporate, academic and community organizations, the NMDSI's priorities over the next five years will focus on new programs, research and public/private projects that advance academic data science and technology learning in five areas: Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI and Data Bias & Ethics, Behavioral Economics, Financial Literacy, and Health & Wealth Inequities.

"As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of this unique corporate and academic working partnership, we are committed to building upon our initial success, all the while pushing the boundaries for what is possible," said Jonathan Stark, executive director of the NMDSI. "Our collective expertise amplifies what any one of us could achieve independently. For our local business and community, this has tangible impacts on everything from our talent pipelines and career opportunities, to staying ahead of emerging technologies and advancing equitable outcomes because of them."

Since 2018, the NMDSI has been committed to advancing academic research and creating education pathways in the field of data science. The partnership has launched three sponsored research projects, awarded more than $17 million in grants, and hosted multiple research seminars to drive cross-institute engagement and new project ideation.

Looking ahead, the NMDSI plans to introduce a series of new programs that address current data science trends and market needs, and ultimately to serve as a world-class Center of Excellence in data science. This will include expanding its research opportunities, curricula development funding, scholarships, community development project funding and working with a diverse range of strategic partners across academia, non-profits, government agencies and local corporations.

Vibrant and growing talent pipeline

A focus on engaging, preparing and cultivating a leading tech talent pipeline has been central to the NMDSI's efforts since its inception. This has included the creation of new data science academic programs designed and launched at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and career pathways for data talent at Northwestern Mutual.

"This renewed commitment to the NMDSI will have a tremendous impact on funded faculty research over the next five years," said Scott Rex, Marquette co-director of the NMDSI. "With the new agreement, the NMDSI has committed annual funding to support data science-related faculty research across academic disciplines as well as support for our students, faculty recruitment and curriculum development."

"What started out as a partnership without precedent led to precedent-setting results," said Purush Papatla, UWM co-director of the NMDSI. "It was thrilling to see the vision for the Institute come alive with the launch of new academic data science programs for K-12 through graduate levels, new research projects that use the power of data science to solve problems in business and science, and new ways to use data science to advance community well-being. With this momentum, I look forward to an exponential growth in our impact over the next five years, not just for the benefit of our region but also for the advancement of the field of data science so it can benefit the nation and world."

With the renewed investment for the next five years, the NMDSI plans to create additional scholarships to increase diversity in STEM studies, and to provide more students with competitive research internship opportunities.

To learn more about the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute and its latest projects, please visit

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 165 years. Through a comprehensive planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what's most important. With more than $558 billion of total assets being managed across the company's institutional portfolio as well as retail investment client portfolios, nearly $35 billion in revenues, and $2.2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than five million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. Northwestern Mutual ranked 111 on the 2023 FORTUNE 500.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (investment brokerage services), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (investment advisory and services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance). Not all Northwestern Mutual representatives are advisors. Only those representatives with "Advisor" in their title or who otherwise disclose their status as an advisor of NMWMC are credentialed as NMWMC representatives to provide investment advisory services.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has an ambitious mission as both a top-tier research university and an access institution, striving to ensure that students have equitable opportunities to earn a college degree. UWM educates a diverse student body of more than 23,000 students from more than 90 countries. About 39% of its undergraduates are first-generation college students. Its unique and top-rated programs include Wisconsin's only accredited schools of architecture and public health, the only North American school dedicated solely to freshwater sciences and a film program ranked among the top 50 in the world. It has the largest and top-rated online education program in Wisconsin. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, promote entrepreneurship, provide student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2023 "Best Midwestern" university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or