UK Professional Services Grant Funding- ISCF

ISCF: Next Generation Services

“Services account for almost 80 percent of the UK economy. As technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics become ubiquitous, we need to ensure the UK service sectors are primed. Pioneer funding will help service industries to identify how the application of these technologies can transform their operations. This will help to put UK service industries at the forefront of developing and using innovation.” (Innovate UK)

ISCF Overview

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is part of the UK government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over 4 years to 2021. It is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes center stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Granted insights

The London briefing for the ISCF Next Generation Services Challenge R&D Competition was populated by a mix of academics, technology start-up founders and established legal, accountancy and insurance firms all seeking to find collaboration partners for this novel Innovate UK fund.

The “Transforming accountancy, insurance and legal services with AI and data” competition, part of the Next Generation Services Challenge, provides £12m to support the development of AI and data-enabled products and services within accountancy, insurance, and legal services. The overall aim of this competition is to speed up responsible adoption of AI and data technologies within these sectors. The fund is administered through two strands, ‘Large Consortia Projects’ and ‘Smaller Projects’ with support expected to be provided to approximately 3 ‘large’ projects and 10 ‘small’ projects.

Some key takeaways from this event included:

• The fund has a preference towards AI-based projects that build upon the UK’s strong position within this market
• Projects are being sought that address human processes/elements, including contracts, responsibility, and justice
• Projects that focus on using AI to support humans rather than replace them are preferred
• Applicants should consider all stakeholders, including regulators
• Ideally projects should be applicable to multiple target areas e.g. legal, accountancy and insurance
• Applicants should consider ethical issues/challenges of their projects, including privacy, transparency, and bias
• Projects should demonstrate the export potential

Grant Funding Success: Knowledge & Network

There is no substitute for talking to the funders, understanding their drivers and getting a definition of the kind of projects & companies they are looking to award grant funding to. The grant funding landscape is ever-shifting with subtle changes in focus and preferences influenced by macro and micro factors. We will continue to bring insights in an attempt to maximise the chance of securing grant funding for our clients.

Other ISCF Blogs:

UK Driverless Vehicles Grant Funding 

UK Materials and Manufacturing Grant Funding 

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