Dr Ewan Kirk
Ewan Kirk is a technology entrepreneur, founder of Cantab Capital Partners, and co-founder of the Turner Kirk Trust.
He is also the Chairman of the Management Committee of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Chairman of DeepTech Labs, and a Non-executive Director of BAE Systems.
For over 30 years, Ewan Kirk has been involved in a number of ventures to commercialise, apply and leverage technology, science, and mathematics research in business, philanthropy, and academia.
Ewan is best known for founding Cantab Capital Partners, a science-driven investment management firm, which is widely regarded as one of the leading quantitative investment companies in the UK. Under his leadership, Cantab grew from a team of two with £30 million AUM to 60 people with £4.5 billion AUM between 2006 and 2016. Over that period, Cantab was consistently ranked as one of the top-performing quant funds.
The firm uses data analysis to research, test and implement systematic investment strategies, and Ewan credited the rapid growth of Cantab to the “scientific rigour” of the business. Based in Cambridge, the company is close to the University and the city’s cluster of high-tech companies. Its work resembles “that of a scientific research organisation” more than a London City trading firm. Most of the members of the team hold advanced degrees in mathematics, physics, statistics or computer science.
In 2016, the business was successfully acquired by global investment firm, GAM Investments. Upon acquisition, Ewan went on to serve as the CEO and CIO of the newly-formed GAM Systematic Cantab and latterly as its President from 2020.
Prior to founding Cantab, Ewan was Partner and Head of Quantitative Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs for 13 years, leading the firm’s 120-strong European team of mathematicians, scientists, and statisticians. He previously served as Director of Innovation at Scientific Generics (now Sagentia), a consultancy providing scientific solutions to business problems, and founded DaLEK Software, which developed the Microdraft CAD software package.
Ewan has been active in philanthropy since the formation of the Turner Kirk Trust in 2007 with Dr. Patricia Turner. The Trust focuses its work and charitable activity around its founders' fields of expertise, and Ewan leads on all the Trust’s science, mathematics, engineering, and technology initiatives.
In 2013, Ewan and Patricia provided a £500,000 endowment to the Isaac Newton Institute to establish the Turner-Kirk Visiting Fellowship to bring leading international mathematicians to Cambridge. This was followed by a further gift of £250,000 in 2019 to establish the Kirk Distinguished Fellowship Programme for senior female mathematicians.
In 2015, through the Trust, Ewan provided a £5 million gift to the University of Cambridge to establish the Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information. At the time, Ewan said that they funded the new centre because it’s uniquely hard to raise money for fundamental mathematics research.
As part of his philanthropic work, he chairs the Management Committee of the Isaac Newton Institute, which is an international visitor research institute based in Cambridge. It runs research programmes on selected themes in mathematics and the mathematical sciences with applications over a wide range of science and technology. Ewan also sits on the Development Board, which helps to raise funds to support the Institute’s research activities.
Early life & education
Ewan was brought up in Glasgow, Scotland, where he attended Greenfaulds High School.
He holds a PhD in General Relativity from the University of Southampton, a MASt in Mathematics from Queen’s College, Cambridge, and a BSc in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy from the University of Glasgow.