Scotland’s fintech cluster has been given a further £22.5 million boost in innovation funding to establish a Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) in the Edinburgh and Central Belt region.
FinTech Scotland said the new research and development (R&D) centre will help to develop innovative solutions aimed at delivering social and economic benefits through open banking and financial data.
The Government research funding agency, UK Research and Innovation, confirmed the centre as one of seven proposals being funded by the Strength in Places Fund, which supports innovation and economic growth across Scotland.
The initiative will enable research into public earning, spending and saving to help create citizen-focused financial services, as well as helping policymakers to understand the economic and social impact of policies and regulations.
Stephen Ingledew, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland welcomed the funding announcement and hailed it as a positive step toward bolstering collaboration in Scotland’s technology sector.
He 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.”
Over the past two years, the groundwork on the initiative 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 range of organisations.
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.”
Seckl added: “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.”
The announcement further establishes 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 R&D and to support sustainable economic development across the country.
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Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Scottish Enterprise, commented: “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.”