UKFin+ Directors Maggie Chen and Karen Elliott and UKFin+ Project Manager Sheena Robertson visited the Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT) for their Fall 2023 CRAFT Industry Advisory Board Meeting 2nd and 3rd November 2023 at the Bank of America, New York. The meeting was a tremendous success, delivering inspirational key notes on ESG and decentralized finance, lively panel discussions on fintech innovation and workforce development and insightful presentations on academic-industry collaboration. It was wonderful to hear from academic researchers seeking industry funding for a wide range of novel ideas.
Like UKFin+, CRAFT is the first government funded network of its kind, aiming to strengthen academic and industry collaboration to fuel innovation in the fintech sector. Whilst approaches to identifying collaborative opportunities differ, both networks add value by funding collaborative projects that will tackle real-life challenges. It was wonderful to join the lively and energetic exchange of ideas between all presenters and attendees. There was a strong sense of a vibrant community of fintech academics and practitioners open to innovation, wanting to learn from each other and drive transformation.
CRAFT and UKFin+ are each funded by national government bodies focused on science and engineering, with CRAFT being funded by the National Science Foundation and UKFin+ being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Socio-technical research into topics such as ESG and financial inclusion have emerged as priorities for both networks, alongside using advanced technologies to deliver improved customer service and drive efficiency in the financial sector. It is remarkable that this has happened organically and independently in both the US and the UK, underscoring the crucial importance of multi-disciplinary research.
Being with CRAFT for their Industry Advisory Board Meeting enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of the synergies between CRAFT and UKFin+. Despite being in different countries each with a distinct fintech eco system, the challenges and opportunities are strikingly similar. There is significant scope for further collaboration to open dialogue between UKFin+ and CRAFT and we look forward to working together in future!