Funding competition Enabling data access in accountancy, insurance and legal services: CR&D

Apply for a share of up to £3.5 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to enable data access and innovation in accountancy, insurance and law.

This competition has not yet opened.

Start new application

Competition sections

Description

The aim of this competition is to speed up the responsible adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies and solutions in the accountancy, insurance and legal sectors by enabling better access to data. UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £3.5 million to this effect.

This is the second stage of a 2-stage competition. It is only open to proposals for research and innovation projects that were developed during the first stage, the Innovation Lab.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects across 3 sectors:

  1. Accountancy
  2. Insurance
  3. Legal services.

We will fund projects covering a range of technological, service and process maturities.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Any project you develop at the Innovation Lab can have a maximum grant of £1.15 million. Consortia are expected to contribute at least equal funding to the grant amount claimed.

Who can apply

State aid

Any UK business or organisation claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. It is not possible to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as Undertakings in Difficulty. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

Projects must start by 1 April 2020 and end by 31 March 2021.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be UK-based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • have attended the Innovation Lab
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Any consortium that is not business-led must include clear justification as to why it would not be suitable for a business to lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK-based business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs in this application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Multiple applications

Any one business or RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading an application, they can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

If an RTO is:

  • the lead on an application they must collaborate with at least 2 businesses of any size
  • not the lead on any application, they can collaborate in any number of applications

An academic institution can:

  • lead on one application and they must collaborate with at least 2 businesses of any size
  • collaborate in any number of applications

Previous applications

Resubmissions

You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is not:

  • a new idea
  • an old application where the project outcomes are completely different

It can be updated based on the assessors' feedback.

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole organisation and were awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Previous projects

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you are required to submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final claim. If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an IAR on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until we have received the documents.

Funding

We have allocated up to £3.5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Each project can claim a maximum grant of £1.15 million.

Consortia are expected to contribute at least equal funding to the grant amount claimed.

For industrial research projects, businesses within a consortium could get funding for eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, businesses within a consortium could get funding for eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Any research organisations collaborating as part of a consortium may share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, ‘Aid for collaborative research’, of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to speed up the responsible development and adoption of AI and data technologies and solutions in the 3 sectors of accountancy, insurance and legal services by enabling better access to data.

Your project’s proposals must focus on solutions that:

  • identify and develop a data access method to enable AI application for one or more of the 3 sectors
  • address incentives, opportunities and ongoing business models to ensure a sustainable data access approach
  • consider broader, non-technical aspects of data access methods, including ethics, bias and privacy

Your proposal must:

  • quantify how the solution can be exploited
  • include a robust risk analysis on the sharing of data
  • address any regulatory issues and constraints
  • demonstrate the innovation or benefits that will be enabled through the proposed data access method
  • be clear on how the impact and benefits will be tracked and reported

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects across the 3 sectors and varying technological, service and process maturities.

Specific themes

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • address sector wide needs
  • cover more than one of the 3 sectors,
  • are from consortia that include all relevant stakeholders, for example regulators, users, service providers and technology providers
  • are multi-disciplinary and include social sciences as well as science and engineering
  • include plans on making the project self-sustainable at the end of the grant

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the general guidance.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects led by an organisation that has not attended the Innovation Lab.

We will not fund projects that do not address accountancy, insurance or legal services.

We are not funding:

  • fundamental research
  • feasibility studies
  • projects that do not have any UK benefit

14 October 2019
Innovation Lab event
14 October 2019
Competition opens
21 October 2019
Online briefing event
20 November 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
2 December 2019
Invite to interview
16 December 2019
Interview panels begin
20 December 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.

Interviews

If your written application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation.

Before the interview, by the deadline stated in the invitation email, you:

  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 5 people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 20 minutes
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it.

Interview

After your presentation the panel will spend 30 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on your application form.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

This section sets the scene for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Is the application a resubmission?

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why.
Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers. You will receive feedback from them for each one.

Your answer to each question can be up to 800 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers.

Question 1. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project and how accessing the proposed data will deliver benefit and innovation for the sectors
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Question 2. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • what data access mechanism is being proposed and how does this respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you and the sector more competitive
  • how the project demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach and address the broader, non-technical aspects, such as ethics, bias and privacy
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the data sets, resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can contain a short summary of the main people working on the project. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project? How do you plan to track the benefits and impacts?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market
  • how you are currently planning on making the project self-sustainable at the end of the grant
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect productivity and growth, both for you and the sector, in the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 7. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

You must include a robust risk analysis on the sharing of data, including how you will address any ethical requirements.

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as a faster route to market, more partners or reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

Describe or explain:

  • the total eligible project costs and the grant you are requesting in terms of the project goals
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academic institutions will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Consortia are expected to contribute at least equal funding to the grant amount claimed.

Background and further information

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Need help with this service? Contact us