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Enabling data access in accountancy, insurance and legal services: Innovation Lab


Individuals can apply to join a workshop developing project proposals to enable increased access to data within the accountancy, insurance and legal sectors.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £3.5million to develop responsible data access or sharing methods in the accountancy, insurance and legal services sectors. These will enable the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies.

Individuals can apply to take part in a three-day residential Innovation Lab on behalf of their organisation. The Innovation Lab will run from October 14-16, 2019. The participants will work together to develop collaborative proposals for research and innovation projects.

After the Innovation Lab, the project consortia will have four weeks to finalise their proposals before submitting them for assessment.

Not participating in the workshop does not exclude organisations or individuals from joining collaborations formed during the workshop as partners.

Open Date:


Close Date:


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

The process and activities within the Innovation Lab may be unconventional, challenging and unexpected. By submitting an application, you are agreeing to take part fully, enthusiastically and constructively.

Project proposals submitted after the Innovation Lab must focus on solutions that:

  • Identify and develop a data access method to enable AI application for one or more of the three 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
  • Address regulatory issues and constraints

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects across the three sectors and varying technological maturities, and are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • Cover more than one of the three sectors
  • Address sector wide needs
  • 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

To apply to attend the Innovation Lab, you must:

  • Commit to attending and staying overnight for all three days (two nights) at the UK location, which will be announced in the next few weeks
  • Show you are able to work collaboratively and have the relevant skills, expertise and experience to represent your organisation
  • Describe the data, finances and other resources your organisation can commit
  • Be nominated to act as a representative on behalf of your organisation
  • attend on behalf of a UK-based business, regulatory body, academic organisation, research and technology organisation (RTO) or charity
  • Have the technical or sector expertise necessary to collaborate with other participants on developing solutions to the challenge

If you are chosen to attend the Innovation Lab, you will need to sign a confidentiality agreement and return it by October 8, 2019. This is to protect existing intellectual property (IP) and to allow full disclosure of expertise and capabilities at the Innovation Lab.

Innovate UK are looking for a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds, bringing together people who would not normally work collectively. This will ensure equality, diversity and the inclusion of participants. Innovate UK reserve the right to select participants in order to have a balanced representation at the event.

Your application to attend will be considered by an assessment panel, which will include an occupational psychologist. The panel will look for evidence that you have:

  • An open, engaging, flexible, imaginative and creative outlook
  • The ability to develop innovative ideas
  • The ability to work constructively with people from diverse disciplines
  • The stamina and enthusiasm needed to work with strangers intensively over three days away from home

Consortia created at the Innovation Lab will submit their project proposals through a later competition on the Innovation Funding Service.

To be eligible to submit a final project proposal after the Innovation Lab each of the organisations in your project team must:

  • Be a UK-based business, regulatory body, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from the UK

The lead organisation must be a UK-based business and must have attended the Innovation Lab.

Your project must start by April 1, 2020 and be completed by March 31, 2021.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

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 eligible project costs.

Innovate UK will pay your residential and subsistence costs for the Innovation Lab, excluding alcohol. You will pay your travel costs to and from the event. You will not be paid for Innovation Lab attendance or proposal development.

You can discuss other costs with Innovate UK and these will be considered on a case by case basis, for example childcare costs.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £3.5million to fund innovation projects developed based on Innovation Lab proposals. Each project can claim a maximum grant of £1.5m. Consortia are expected to contribute at least equal funding to the grant amount claimed.

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 will be shared between them.

Innovate UK is not funding:

  • Fundamental research
  • Feasibility studies

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, Innovate UK will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. Innovate UK 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 three team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.