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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W034042/1
Title: UKFIN
Principal Investigator: van Moorsel, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Elliott, Professor K Vines, Professor J Knottenbelt, Professor WJ
Chen, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
#joiningthedots Admiral Group Plc Aster Foundation
Atom Bank plc Beyond Reach Consulting Ltd Cardiff Capital Region Board
Center Res Adv. Financial Technologies Digital Poverty Alliance Dynamo Northeast
Fin Tech Scotland FinTech North FinTech West
FundApps Ltd GAIN: Group Autism, Insurance, Neurodiv Gainwell Technologies
IBM UK Ltd Incuto Ltd J.P. Morgan (UK)
Mastercard Northumberland Community Bank Open Banking Excellence (OBE) Limited
Sage (UK) Ltd SIMBA Chain (UK) SuperTech West Midlands
The Inclusion Foundation ThoughtWorks Ltd WhiteCap Consulting Ltd
Department: School of Computer Science
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 October 2022 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 2,044,217
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Finance and Accounting
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Financial Services
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 Jan 2022 Financial Services NetworkPlus Announced
01 Feb 2022 Financial Services NetworkPlus Interview Panel Feb 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The ACORN network's mission is to bridge the gap that currently exists between the research in universities and the need of the financial services industry, its consumers and the regulator. ACORN wants to grow to well over 100 primary partners and 1000 associated partners, offering an inclusive, diverse and responsible research culture. Based on regional presence in Wales, Scotland, North-East England and London, it will harmonize technological know-how across regions and connect regional partners to nation-wide efforts.

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

ACORN provides a number of mechanisms to succeed in this mission.

Central to ACORN's working is its 'commissioning framework', which provides the funding mechanisms for five types of collaborative projects between academia and partners. ACORN offers seed project funding, which aims to explore technological, mathematical and scientific solutions for real-life challenges in FS, prioritised through co-design sandpits. It then offers funding for larger multi-disciplinary feasibility projects, which may build on the seed projects, and expand to consider 'wicked' multi-disciplinary research problems.

In parallel, ACORN offers funding for agile projects, which can be of any type, e.g., horizon scanning, population survey, a software prototype or a machine learning application. These have predetermined IP arrangements, so that they can be organised in agile manner and can start at any time for the duration of ACORN. Additionally, impact projects are offered to take any of the research projects further (e.g., to influence policy makers, or initiate commercialisation), and education/engagement projects allow to grow the FS talent pool and address the talent pipeline.

To support researchers and partners in these project, ACORN establishes a number of services the community can use. The co-design service and the corporate digital responsibility service help researchers to 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.

We name the network ACORN, to signify that collaborations as majestic as an oak tree can grow from humble beginnings.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk