UKFin+ : An exciting new UK Network
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Funding Research Collaborations for Wicked Problems in Financial Services.

UKRI statements

This project is supported by UK Research and Innovation through the Financial Services NetworkPlus Fund as part of the Building Research Communities with the UK financial services programme. Grant reference: EP/W034042/1.


The end of technological innovation in financial services (FS) is not yet in sight and academia as well as industry very actively pursue novel technologies and business models for FS. Reliance on digital technologies is accompanied by risks surrounding ethics, transparency, fairness, use and reuse of data (e.g., privacy and cybersecurity). Moreover, there are pressing societal concerns about financial exclusion, business pressures from shareholders, regulatory involvement to protect citizens and, increasingly, the need to fulfil environmental sustainability goals. We call this Wicked Finance, where problems cannot be solved but managed via real stakeholder engagement.


The UKFin+ network facilitates the synergy between practitioners and researchers in tackling wicked problems in FS via collaboration, coalition, and co-production communities. The network operates by creating a highly inclusive ecosystem and is sensitive to regional and national concerns, which focuses on establishing a UK research agenda. The network aims to become an easily accessible, trusted place for the advancement of research in wicked finance, and a conduit between regional and national efforts, as well as between academic researchers, its talent pipeline and FS partners.


The project aims to provide funding to support delivery of up to 41 projects in 5 main areas, covering all the bases from impact and micro-projects to actual seed funding of potential business start-ups or spin outs. Initial plans include provision of financial support in the delivery of:

  • 15 x 'wicked scrum' projects
  • 12 x 'education' projects
  • 6 x 'feasibility' projects
  • 4 x 'seed funding' projects
  • 4 x 'impact 'projects

The largest project awards are anticipated to be around £100k and the smallest at £6k, making it a highly accessible and low risk source of funds for different levels and types of research & innovation.

Real-world wicked finance challenges to address:

  • cyber security: protection against online fraud, tackling money laundering, cyber security challenges in decentralised architectures, post-quantum cryptography, etc.
  • explore novel technologies to fight financial exclusion, such as novel applications of self-sovereign decentralized platforms, statistically robust and fair credit risk assessment, and innovative human-centred approaches to identity.
  • quantum computing and quantum finance, such as pursued at partner universities Edinburgh and Imperial College, is candidate for seed projects, as it has the potential to dramatically impact quantitative finance, high-speed trading, and data security.
  • Decentralized finance remains full of research challenges, from scalable architectures to mathematical modelling of consensus algorithms, clean-energy alternatives to conventional blockchains, technology solutions for regulatory approaches to decentralized finance and handling security and stability issues arising from combining ever-evolving protocols.

Newcastle University

School of Computing, Business School

University of Birmingham

School of Computer Science

Cardiff University

Department of Computer Science

University of Edinburgh

Department of Computer Science

Imperial College London

Department of Computer Science


What's going on.

  • OCTOBER 2022

    UKFin+ network 'soft' launches

    Detailing the project at the launch of the North East FinTech Ecosystem Strategy. Social media and press releases raising awareness of the project launch, describing the forthcoming funding opportunities and the network's foundations are live!

  • NOVEMBER 2022

    UKFin+ at the FinTech Scotland Symposium

    Demonstrating the synergies between the network, Centre of Finance, Innovation and Technology, (CFIT) and the City of London Corporation's UK FinTech Agendas.

  • DECEMBER 2022

    Mapping of the UK industry and academic practitioners involved in financial services and FinTech begins.

    will come soon

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UKFin+ Research Team

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Principal Investigators

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