Significant Funding Boost for Scotland’s FinTech Cluster

Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence to receive £22.5m Innovation Funding

The growing international role of Scotland’s fintech cluster was given a further significant boost today with the announcement of £22.5 million innovation funding for the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) to be established in Edinburgh and the Central region.

The news was confirmed by UK Research and Innovation, the Government research funding agency,  as one of seven proposals being funded by the Strength in Places Fund aimed at supporting innovation and economic growth.

GOFCoE will provide a trusted environment for participants from around the world to research and develop innovative solutions aimed at delivering social and economic benefits through open banking and financial data.

For example, the initiative will present opportunities to conduct research into public earning, spending and saving to allow innovative enterprises to create citizen focussed financial services as well as enable policy makers to understand the economic and social impact of policies and regulations before implementing them.

The ground-breaking concept and the development of the initiative over the last two years has been led by the University of Edinburgh, FinTech Scotland, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) and Scottish Enterprise with the support of a broad range of organisations.

The announcement will further bolster the global recognition of Scotland’s fintech cluster, following on from the formal European cluster excellence accreditation earlier this year, by providing the opportunity for greater research and development in financial innovation to support sustainable economic development.

Commenting on this news, 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.

With engagement across Scotland, UK and globally, the initiative will further reinforce the inclusive international approach in developing the fintech cluster which is focused on delivering better consumer financial outcomes and sustainable economic growth through innovation.

I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues Kevin Collins and Damien McGarrigle of University of Edinburgh, Gavin Littlejohn of FDATA , Nicola Anderson of FinTech Scotland along with the rest of the GOFCoE project team for their terrific leadership over the last couple of years in securing this funding opportunity.”

Ivan McKee, 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.

“I am delighted that the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence is one of the two projects from Scotland that have received funding from this highly competitive fund. This project will unlock the benefits of open banking and will enhance Scotland’s position as a top destination for fintech.”

The University of Edinburgh’s Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Jonathan Seckl said:

“Using real financial data for social good and allowing governments, companies and people to make better economic and financial decisions is at the heart of the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence.

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. The Centre will be a world-first, providing leadership, coordination, research and capability to develop the benefits of Open Finance and to safely unlock the potential of customer data as a force to improve lives.”

Philip Grant, Chair of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said:

“This is great news for the continued development of the fintech cluster in Scotland and a credit to all the partners involved.  The collaboration so evident in this initiative is now recognised as the driver of the continued growth and success of financial services as an important part of the Scottish economy.

SFE and our members will continue to support the important work of FinTech Scotland and its ambition to be one of the top five fintech clusters in the world.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“This award is excellent news for the Fintech sector in Scotland and for our economy as a whole. The Centre of Excellence project sets out to help Scotland maximise the societal benefits of Open Finance, such as enabling quality financial services in disadvantaged areas – in line with SE’s increasing focus on inclusive growth and tackling inequality.

“FinTech is fast becoming one of Scotland’s key sectors and, particularly in the current climate, it is crucial that we continue to build our digital capability and our use of data, making our mark on the digital industries. The project will further boost the recognition of Scotland’s distinction in this field internationally, following on from our recent accreditation as a European Cluster of Excellence.”