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:
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:
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!
Demonstrating the synergies between the network, Centre of Finance, Innovation and Technology, (CFIT) and the City of London Corporation's UK FinTech Agendas.
will come soon
PI Prof Aad van Moorsel is a Professor in Cyber Security and was Head of School of Computing Science, Newcastle University. He was PI of NCSC/EPSRC ACE-CSR and Newcastle PI of NCSC/EPSRC Research Institute in Science of Security (£4m) and two European scale research networks. He leads the FinTrust project (EP/R033595) on trust in financial services, a KTP on automated mortgage decisions (Innovate UK KTP11059) collaborating with Atom Bank and a project on financial inclusion funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He organised the EPSRC/NCSC Financial Technologies Cyber Security event in 2018, to identify research opportunities and barriers in FS—its final report serves as input to current UK efforts in FS. He consulted for EMVCo (Eurocard/Mastercard/Visa) to consider robustness of their contactless SecureID credit card protocol. He has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including in CCS, DSN and Financial Crypto, and 4 US patents; is a Turing Fellow; has significant international industrial experience in Bell Labs and HP Labs and co-founded CloudIdentity Ltd in 2011 (now sold).
Professor and Head of
School of Computer Science
University of Birmingham
Co-I Prof Jing Chen is Professor in Financial Mathematics in the School of Mathematics, Cardiff University. Her research focuses on FinTech, financial markets, microstructure, financial networks, financial jumps and contagion. She is editor of the European Journal of Finance (EJF), IMA Journal of Management Mathematics and of special issues for EJF and Quantitative Finance in “Hawkes processes in Finance”. She leads the Smart Finance and FinTech SIG in the Data Innovation Research Institution (DIRI), is deputy lead of the Economic Intelligence theme in the strategic partnership between Cardiff and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and advises the Finance and Economics SIG for the Royal Society of Statistics. She holds adjunct/visiting professorship in various world-leading universities like Columbia, UCL and Renmin University. Meanwhile, she has rich experiences in communicating with fund managers, insurance brokers, traders, mortgage lenders and other financial service practitioners across the world.
Professor in Financial Mathematics
School of Mathematics
Co-I Dr Karen Elliott is Associate Professor in Enterprise and Innovation (FinTech) at Newcastle University Business School. She is a behavioural psychologist/sociologist following a career in industry and her work sits in the socio-technical space combining computer science, financial and social science approaches. Named by Innovate Finance as 'Standout \#35 Women' in FinTech Powerlist she features in the Kalifa Review on the Future of FinTech in the UK. She co-leads the EPSRC FinTrust project and the Finclusion project funded by the Gates Foundation. Karen is a member of the Prime Minister's Challenge Group for Dementia; Ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance; part of ForHumanity and IEEE Agency & Ethical AI Committees, developing global standards for artificial intelligence adoption and is a founding member of the UK's Corporate Digital Responsibility group that seeks to facilitate an equitable digital society.
Associate Professor in Fintech
Co-I Prof William Knottenbelt is Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis in the Department of Computing and Director of the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC3RE) at Imperial College London. He serves on the editorial board of the cryptocurrency/blockchain journal Ledger, is an editor of Performance Evaluation Journal, and has served as General or Program chair of numerous conferences and workshops related to blockchain, cryptocurrency and quantitative analysis including the IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. He is an expert of the World Economic Forum on blockchain and is technical advisor to several blockchain start-ups including Gradbase, Aventus and Alice.si. He also holds £3m+ lifetime research funding from EPSRC, Innovate UK and industry and accumulated 200+ peer-reviewed papers generating 5000+ citations.
Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis
Department of Computing
Imperial College London
Co-I Prof John Vines is Chair of Design Informatics at University of Edinburgh and co-director of the Institute for Design Informatics. His research focuses on exploring societal implications of data-driven technologies, typically through co-creative methodologies and by prototyping new systems for in-the-world evaluation. He has been investigator on grants of approx. £25m and co-leads the co-creation and social innovation theme on the EPSRC Digital Economy Centre for Digital Citizens. For 10 years, he has conducted research on issues of financial inclusion and digital service design. He is partly seconded to the UKRI SIPF funded Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence, working at the intersection of academia and FinTech industry, and completed an EPSRC IAA project examining the role of design methodologies in addressing AI governance challenges in the financial service industry. He is a Co-I on an ESRC funded NetworkPlus on loneliness, social isolation and mental health, leading on its digital interventions strand.
Professor and Chair of Design Informatics
School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh