UKFin+, a £2.5million programme set to foster collaboration between the financial services industry and universities in London and Birmingham, has launched this week.
Led by the University of Birmingham and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the initiative aims to bring together researchers, industry professionals, consumers, charities as well as regulators to tackle the challenges posed by technological innovation in the fintech sector.
UKFin+ provides a platform for researchers and businesses to seek funding for addressing ‘wicked’ fintech problems. These problems, described as resistant to solutions, require collaborative management rather than outright resolution. Areas including financial inclusion, the rapid advancement of technology, and the rise of decentralised finance and central bank digital currencies are among the challenges that can be explored.
Under the guidance of Professor Aad van Moorsel at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with directors from Imperial College London, Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh, UKFin+ aims to facilitate partnerships between academia and industry to tackle the wicked problems in financial services.
Professor van Moorsel said: “Financial services have been subject to unprecedented technological changes over recent years. This increasing reliance on technology is beneficial, but also comes with risks, and this presents a wicked problem to the sector.”
The programme aims to establish a nationwide network that spans the entire financial services sector, fostering collaboration between regions and promoting partnerships between academics and industry professionals. The commissioning framework of UKFin+ enables various types of collaborative projects, including agile projects, pilot projects, feasibility projects, impact projects, and education/engagement projects.
Official launch events for UKFin+ this week provided an opportunity for research and industry professionals to connect and engage with the programme’s objectives. The first took place on Tuesday at The Exchange in Centenary Square, Birmingham with speeches from industry leaders including CFIT CEO Ezechi Britton MBE.
A second launch event at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge London on 5 July will feature a keynote speech from Dr Leda Glyptis.