UKFin+ aims to establish a national network that grows and promotes world-class research to address wicked problems in financial services (FS), for the betterment of the UK’s economy and its society at large.

Objective 1: Establish a National Network and Grow the Network throughout its Life Span. UKFin+ will create a research-oriented community that draws academics together with users, policymakers, FS practitioners and others. We utilise the team’s extensive existing connections to grow the community through 23 different activities, which includes podcasts, seminars, sandpits, symposia, social media outreach (Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube), etc.

Objective 2: Provide an Agile and Trusted Entry-Point to the Network and Lower Collaboration Barriers. UKFin+ wants to be an open, inviting NetworkPlus with a trusted base of Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles. The commissioning framework will offer a special stream of Agile Projects, which leverage pre-defined IP contracts and can start at any time during the project. IP terms of reference for all project types will be defined to provide template solutions to avoid potential IP barriers.

Objective 3: Expand Regional Clusters for National Benefit. UKFin+ will partner with each regional cluster (e.g. FinTech North, West, Wales and Scotland) and provide a means for these clusters to engage in a nationwide effort to tackle real-life challenges in FS, giving national impact. UKFin+ is a national network that has the ability to ‘level up’ between regions through knowledge exchange events and podcasts, the network’s research agenda, and education/engagement projects.

Objective 4: Provide a Successful Commissioning Framework for Network-Determined TRL (Technology readiness levels) 1-4 Research. The UKFin+ commissioning framework contains seed, agile and feasibility projects. We expect all projects to include a non-academic partner, and we expect the seed projects to be within the EPSRC remit and the larger feasibility studies to be multi-disciplinary. Sandpit activities proceed both the seed and feasibility projects. Throughout the project, a research agenda in wicked finance will be proposed, scoped and refined, resulting in a set of innovative and crucial research issues co-produced with FS.

Objective 5: Achieve Nationwide Economic and Societal Impact and Provide Nationwide Diffusion of Commissioned Research Outcomes. The commissioning framework also includes funds for impact and engagement/education projects. The UKFin+ diffusion tool kit collects and illustrates the outputs from the projects, including co-created reports, methods, wicked problem identification, deployable applications, etc. Tailored versions of the tool kit will be co-designed for specific organisational environments, e.g., start-ups, SMEs, regulators or policymakers.

Objective 6: Provide a set of Reusable FS Research Services and Tools. UKFin+ provides a set of services and tools (infrastructure elements) that researchers can use when preparing and executing their projects, including co-creation service, corporate digital responsibility service, secure data vault, shared github code base and experimentation sandbox.

Objective 7: Well-Managed Project based on Reusable Approaches in EDI, RRI and IP. As a NetworkPlus, UKFin+ represents an innovative way to form networks and ecosystems. We will reflect on the effectiveness of various activities and measure their impact and identify ways to sustain these beyond the duration of the network. Reflective practices include lessons learned exercises, knowledge sharing towards responsible research, EDI practices, ECR support and IP configurations, our proposed network covers England, Scotland, and Wales to achieve UK-wide coverage.

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