About the Network

UKFin Network +


Funding Research Collaborations for Wicked Problems in Financial Services

The UKFin+ network’s mission is to bridge the gap that currently exists between the research in universities and the needs of the financial services industry, its consumers and the regulator. Based on an inclusive, diverse and responsible research culture it will harmonize technological know-how across regions and connect regional partners to nationwide efforts.

Wicked problem‘ is a term first coined in the 1960s/70s to describe problems that are resistant to solutions. These wicked problems cannot be solved, only managed through working together.

Real-life challenges in financial services are complex, combining responding to innovation in technology with business ethics, environmental considerations and scarcity in the talent pipeline. This presents the financial services sector with wicked problems, which the industry cannot ignore, requiring practitioners and researchers from across disciplines to come together. UKFin+ aims to address wicked problems in financial services that are associated with innovation in technology, mathematics and sciences.

Central to UKFin+ is its ‘commissioning framework’, which provides the funding mechanisms for five types of collaborative projects between academia and partners: pilot project funding which aims to explore technological, mathematical and scientific solutions for real-life challenges in financial services; larger multi-disciplinary feasibility projects, which may build on the seed projects, and expand to consider ‘wicked’ multi-disciplinary research problems; agile projects which can be of any type e.g. horizon scanning, population survey, a software prototype or a machine learning application; impact projects to take any of the research projects further e.g., to influence policymakers, or initiate commercialisation and education/engagement projects support the growth of the financial services talent pool.

To support researchers and partners in these projects, UKFin+ establishes a number of services the community can use. The co-design and corporate digital responsibility services help researchers consider these aspects in their proposals. The secure data vault, the shared code base, the experimentation sandbox and template IP arrangements are available to improve research, its impact and to lower collaboration barriers.

The goal is to create a research-orientated community, increasing the size of the community and the number of partners over time, in order to achieve nationwide economic and societal impact.

UKFin+ is funded by the EPSRC and is committed to supporting highly innovative and groundbreaking research, the outcomes of which will be seen at a national level.

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