Accenture Awards 11 Research Grants to Leading Universities to Promote Greater R&D Collaboration, Accelerate Pace of Innovation

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has awarded 11 research grants to top universities around the world to significantly broaden and deepen the relationships between Accenture’s technology research and development (R&D) groups and leading university researchers.

The grant program helps to support the ground-breaking efforts of leading university research teams, which will be invited to work in collaboration with researchers from the Accenture Technology Labs on R&D projects that are of strategic importance to the technology industry and Accenture’s enterprise clients.

“Universities are a critical source of technical and scientific research that can deliver long-term business benefits for organizations around the world,” said Prith Banerjee, managing director of Global Technology R&D, Accenture. “We are thrilled that this grant program, in conjunction with the Accenture Open Innovation initiative, will enable Accenture Technology Labs researchers to translate a university’s conceptual research – which spans topics from cyber security to 3D printing and cognitive computing – into ideas that can ultimately help solve real business challenges for our enterprise clients.”

The grant program is part of the Accenture Open Innovation initiative, in which Accenture functions as a bridgemaker between Accenture’s Global 2000 clients and the technology innovation ecosystem, which includes universities, top tier accelerators, start-ups, venture capitalists and corporate R&D labs from around the world. New technology research from Accenture Strategy found that four out of five enterprise respondents reported innovation was within their top three priorities and about one quarter placed innovation as the number one priority for their organization.

The 2015 Accenture Open Innovation university grant program recipients and the R&D areas of focus include:

  • Prof. David Bader, Georgia Institute of Technology
    This project is focused on accelerating anomaly detection of advanced persistent threats, zero-day malware, and other malicious cyber threats using graph analytics.

  • Prof. Zhejing Bao, Zhejiang University, China
    This project will focus on the development of a prediction technology that provides short-term customer energy demand forecasting by utilizing real-time and historical sensor data of electricity consumption and other information, such as weather forecasting data and customer information.

  • Prof. Michael Bernstein and Prof. Melissa Valentine, Stanford University
    Exploring tools and techniques needed to create a “Hybrid Virtual Workforce,” this project will look at how work traditionally carried out by static teams of enterprise employees can instead be carried out by computationally-guided, dynamically-assembled flash teams.

  • Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
    Focused on developing a text to universal language converter, this project aims to create more robust and accurate natural language processing capabilities.

  • Prof. Sutanu Chakraborti, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India
    This project will focus on the development of decision-making algorithms to conceptualize and develop cognitive learning systems. It will leverage a principled combination of bottom-up, data-driven techniques, such as machine learning, and top-down knowledge-based approaches classically used in planning and reasoning.

  • Prof. Abhijit Deshmukh, Purdue University
    Focused on developing new approaches to understanding complex systems, this project will look at building more efficient systems by using next generation manufacturing and supply chains in a circular economy as a use case.

  • Prof. F. Javier Heredia and Prof. Joaquim Minguella, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech
    Studying the advantages of ultra-postponement with 3D printing by using analytical tools and mathematical optimization models and algorithms, this project will explore how to transform supply chain management by allowing delayed and tailored production in the location where demand occurs.

  • Prof. Michal Kosinski, Stanford University
    This project aims to increase the understanding of customer behavior and design more psychologically matched customer interactions. It will explore approaches to building predictive models of a customer’s psychological profiles using machine learning in conjunction with shopping records and external social network data.

  • Dean Richard Lyons, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
    A new multi-disciplinary experiential learning course for MBA students will focus on data strategy and data science curriculum. The goal is to create the next generation of business decision makers, develop and broaden data strategy skills and refine and improve this developing field of activity.

  • Prof. Santonu Sarkar, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India
    The goal of this project is to ensure dependability of software systems, making them reliable and available based on a recovery-oriented approach. The proposed approach is based on a near-real time assessment and remediation of dependability bottlenecks of operational systems and design strategies to build dependable software.

  • Prof. Partha Pratim Talukdar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
    This project aims to harvest knowledge from large text datasets, using them to improve accuracy and coverage of cognitive computing systems.

In addition to the monetary grant, the university researchers will benefit from the perspectives that Accenture Technology Labs researchers have to offer given their direct exposure to the enterprise business contexts in which the research would ultimately be applied. The program provides the opportunity for Accenture and university researchers to combine their expertise, learn from each other and achieve more than either could alone.

“With cyber security threats rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly complex, we are pleased to have received this grant from Accenture to help us advance the research we’re doing in the critical area,” said Professor David Bader, Georgia Institute of Technology. “Collaboration with Accenture will provide access to data and expertise that will help us to build proper algorithms, allowing our research to push further and faster than previously possible.”

“I am delighted that we were amongst a select group of universities around the world to be awarded with a research grant from Accenture,” said Professor Pushpak Bhattacharyya, India Institute of Technology, Bombay. “The combination of IIT Bombay’s world renowned Natural Language Processing group with Accenture’s global consulting and technology services expertise will result in a mutually enriching experience, enabling us to work together on cutting edge cognitive computing problems.”

“We’re pleased to be a recipient of an Accenture grant to help further our research in the area of cognitive computing,” said Professor Partha Pratim Talukdar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. “The opportunity to collaborate with Accenture researchers will provide us with valuable inputs into how our research can help address the real-world challenges of enterprise organizations.”

For more information on Accenture Technology Labs, click here.

For more about the Accenture Open Innovation program, visit

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 336,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is


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David A. Bader
David A. Bader
Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Data Science

David A. Bader is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology.