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

From left to right: Don Vu, chief data officer, Northwestern Mutual; Dr. Mark Mone, chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Dr. Michael Lovell, president, Marquette University; Dr. Anju Gupta, vice president of data science and analytics, Northwestern Mutual; Jonathan Stark, executive director, Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute.

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 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