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Fintech cluster to develop next generation services

Stephen Ingledew,Fintech Scotland

Stephen Ingledew: reinforcing the cluster (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland is to spearhead next generation technology that will improve consumer access to financial services such as credit, property ownership and saving.

A £55 million package of support will fund research by a consortium led by Edinburgh University and is seen as a huge vote of confidence in Scotland’s growing fintech cluster.

FinTech Scotland, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) and Scottish Enterprise are also part of the programme which includes a £22.5 million innovation funding for the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE).

The Edinburgh programme is one of seven innovation projects across the UK which will share £400 million of public and private sector support as part of the UK Government’s target to invest 2.4% of GDP in research and development.

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Businesses and universities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool and Kent will benefit, ensuring projects such as zero-emissions tech for maritime vessels, smart-packaging to cut food waste, and new health products to combat infections get the investment they need to take-off.

Each programme aims to deliver long-term economic benefits across the UK, creating thousands of jobs, new skills, and encouraging more competitive as economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

This latest investment is part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship Strength in Places Fund, which aims to support promising research and innovation projects that will drive local economic growth.

Stephen Ingledew, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “The news reinforces the value of cluster collaboration between the diverse range of entrepreneurial enterprises, academics, large institutions, government and citizen groups in embracing the role of data in driving financial innovation to benefit all.”

The University of Edinburgh’s Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Jonathan Seckl, added: “Never has there been a time of greater need for data-driven insights into the UK economy. The award from the Strength in Places Fund will allow us to make a unique contribution to the economic recovery from Covid-19.”

Philip Grant, chairman of Scottish Financial Enterprise, described the award as “great news for the continued development of the fintech cluster in Scotland.”

The seven projects announced today by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will receive a share of £186m of government investment, backed by a further £230m from private firms and research institutions.  

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s announcement will ensure some of our country’s most promising R&D projects get the investment they need to take off and thrive.

Alok Sharma

Alok Sharma: backing new ideas

“Working with the private sector our world-class universities, we’re backing new and innovative ideas that will create jobs and boost skills in every part of the UK for years to come.”

Ivan McKee, Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said: “I have had the pleasure of working with all of the proposals from Scotland in this competition. Each one demonstrates our appetite for innovation and desire to translate this into benefits for people and places across Scotland.”

The seven projects across the UK receiving funding today are:

  • £55 million for a consortium led by the University of Edinburgh to fund research to understand financial behaviours and address financial challenges such as fair access to credit, property ownership and saving. 
  • £61 million for a consortium led by the University of Glasgow to translate new approaches in Precision Medicine into real-world settings, which will allow doctors to select treatments for patients based on a disease’s genetics.
  • £44 million for a consortium led by Cardiff University, to group capabilities in South Wales developing technologies in areas such as communications, 5G, innovative vehicles and medical devices
  • £114 million for a consortium led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, which is ensuring innovative, new healthcare products and solutions to combat human infections are made available in the North West faster and cheaper. This could help simplify diagnosis, reduce the need to draw blood and risks from contaminated needles. 
  • £46 million for a consortium led by the University of Bristol to support new digital formats in filmmaking in the South West including new experiences across fiction, documentary, games and live performance.
  • £33 million for a consortium led by the National Institute of Agriculture Botany EMR at East Malling to increase investment in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and smart-packaging for food production to help improve efficiencies and reduce waste
  • £63 million for a consortium led by Artemis Technologies Ltd to develop zero-emissions technologies in Northern Ireland for the introduction of wind-electric hybrids for maritime vessels, including a new zero emissions water taxi scheme. 

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