Next generation services

An overview of government’s challenge to industry and research to help the service industry take advantage of new technologies.


Next generation services

What is the next generation services challenge?

Services – including legal, accounting and insurance – account for almost 80% of the UK economy. Financial and professional services alone are worth £190 billion and employ 2.2 million, so it is vital that we ensure these are primed for the future.

Technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics can help the sector to become more efficient, productive and globally competitive. They can significantly improve the services provided to clients and customers.

Through this challenge, government is supporting industry and researchers to develop next generation services that can transform the UK’s services industry.

What’s the investment?

£20 million of ‘pioneer funding’ has been allocated to projects exploring how new technologies could transform the UK accountancy, insurance and legal services industries.

What are the funding opportunities?

Funding opportunities were available to UK-based researchers and businesses in summer 2018. These are now closed for applications.

There are no other immediately planned funding competitions in this challenge area. You can get updates about the research and ideas to come out of the funding opportunities on this page or by signing up for updates.

The challenge is funding:

Research into behavioural barriers

An interdisciplinary research programme focusing on the potential behavioural and socio-technical barriers to adoption of AI and data technologies in accountancy, insurance and legal services and how to resolve these.

3 multi-disciplinary research projects received a share of £3 million funding to investigate how service industries can make use of AI in accountancy, insurance and law, and to analyse consumer attitudes to AI. The funding was delivered by ESRC, on behalf of UKRI. The projects are:

  • Technology driven change and next generation insurance value chains: Loughborough University are working with business to explore how AI can transform insurance services
  • Unlocking the potential of AI for law: departments across the University of Oxford are investigating ways in which the use of AI in law could unlock its potential for ‘good’ and how to enable these
  • Innovating next generation services through collaborative design: the University of Sheffield is working with law and accountancy firms to consider future uncertainties about the use of AI in service industries and develop methods to improve adoption

Collaborative research and development

Collaborative research and development projects are exploring the use of AI and data technologies in accountancy, insurance and legal services. There are 2 strands: large consortia projects addressing sector-wide challenges, and smaller projects applying AI in novel ways.

Large consortia funded projects

4 larger projects received funding to address sector-wide challenges that require a coordinated approach, such as across supply chains and regulators. The projects are:

  • Enabling rapid adoption of AI through an anonymised data protocol and explainable model: Ginie AI is working with Barclays PLC, Oxford University and other partners to improve the ‘explainability’ of AI, with a view to boosting adoption
  • Pozibot: Altelium is working with Brill Power, Delta Motorsport, Lancaster University and Quantum Base to develop a next generation warranty system for the battery industry
  • The development of an AI recommender system for advisory service provision at scale: Fluidly, Baldwins Holdings and The Sage Group are exploring the opportunities that new technology and data insight could bring to the accountancy industry
  • Automation and transparency across financial and legal services: Intelligent Voice, Strenuus and the University of East London are developing an AI software for the insurance industry that can detect and interpret emotion in a person’s voice

Small consortia funded projects

The programme has funded a consortium of smaller projects applying AI and data techniques in novel ways within accountancy, insurance and legal services. The projects include:

  • Oasis-CAIMAN: using drone-collected images to assess property damage from flood, tornado or landslide
  • Thirdfort: building an AI-driven algorithm to help property lawyers detect fraudulent transactions
  • Recap: creating a simple method of tracking and reporting cryptocurrency finances for accountants, consumers and businesses
Innovation in the Professions

Professor Richard Susskind OBE explores how innovation is affecting the UK's professional services.

Find out more
Intelligent Voice: combating fraud with artificial intelligence

A project supported by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is developing tech that could identify fraudulent insurance claims made during live phone calls.

Find out more
The human challenges of using AI for services

Stephen Browning, Challenge Director of the ISCF’s next generation services challenge, explores the human-behavioural issues of using AI in the UK’s service sectors, and explains how the programme is working to overcome them.

Find out more
Using artificial intelligence to improve legal services

A research project led by the University of Oxford’s law faculty will explore how AI could be used to improve UK legal services.

Find out more
Sign up to hear more

By submitting this sign-up form, you are accepting our privacy policy.