Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Next generation services

Completed area of investment and support

This area is complete and will have no future activity.

The ‘next generation services’ challenge focused on research and innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics within accountancy, insurance and legal services.

It aimed to support the global leadership position of these services and raise their engagement with innovation.

£20 million awarded to 40 projects
2018 to 2022
Partners involved:
Innovate UK, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The scope and what we're doing

The £20 million of public funding has already led to the creation and retention of over 360 jobs, with over 1,000 more predicted in the next five years.

Project participants have raised over £100 million in private investment, and their technologies are already in use by leading organisations across the UK and overseas.

Our funding opportunities may fund research and development projects that are categorised as feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, the following intervention rates may apply:

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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, the following intervention rates may apply:

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

Capital costs may be funded through some funding opportunities with intervention rates of up to 80%.

Research organisations undertaking non-economic activity may be funded as follows:

  • 80% of full economic costs if you are a Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of eligible costs for all other research organisations

Research organisations which are engaged in economic activity as part of the project will be treated as business enterprises for the purposes of funding.

There have also been changes in the way that legal firms are training their staff, with materials that have been developed through the research projects.

The challenge has led to an opening-up of access to judicial datasets for AI, for the first time, and it has worked with regulators and policymakers, to inform governance principles for ethical and trustworthy AI.

Why we're doing it

Services such as 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 people.

Technologies such as AI and data analytics can help the sector to become more efficient, productive and globally competitive.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Innovate UK KTN’s AI for Services Network brings together data and artificial intelligence businesses and academics with professionals working in law, accountancy, insurance and finance.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Find an overview of all projects funded by the challenge in the Next Generation Services Challenge Brochure.

Read an evaluation of next generation services.

Research into behavioural barriers

This is a research programme focusing on the potential behavioural and socio-technical barriers to use of AI and data technologies in accountancy, insurance and legal services, and how to resolve these.

Three research projects investigated how service industries can make use of AI in accountancy, insurance and law, and analysing consumer attitudes to AI:

Technology Driven Change and Next Generation Insurance, exploring the use of new AI technologies in insurance services, including machine learning, distributed ledger, automated processing and the explosion of available data.

Unlocking the Potential of AI for English Law, investigating the potential and limitations of using AI in support of legal services

Innovating next generation services through collaborative design, developing strategies for implementing AI in law and accountancy services.

Data access projects

Four projects were funded to develop responsible data access or sharing methods in accountancy, insurance or legal services sectors and business models to embed these methods in business practice.

Video credit: UKRI. On-screen captions and an auto-generated transcript is available on YouTube.

Video credit: UKRI. On-screen captions and an auto-generated transcript is available on YouTube.

Collaborative research and development

Projects under this theme explored the use of AI and data technologies in accountancy, insurance and legal services.

Large consortia-funded projects

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

Enabling rapid adoption of AI through an anonymised data protocol and explainable model

Genie AI worked with Barclays PLC, Oxford University and other partners to improve the ‘explainability’ of AI and privacy preserving methods to unlock access to legal knowledge for businesses.


Altelium worked 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 worked with Azets and Sage to develop new tools that enable accountants to better support small businesses.

Automation and transparency across financial and legal services

Intelligent Voice, Strenuus and the University of East London have developed conversational AI software for the insurance industry that helps detect signs of fraud.

Small consortia-funded projects

We have funded a portfolio of smaller projects applying AI and data techniques in new ways within accountancy, insurance and legal services. Examples include:

  • ‘distriBind’, using AI to speed up the process of transferring data across the insurance value chain and eliminate errors
  • ‘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.

See some examples of what funded collaborative research and development projects have delivered in the Next Generation Services Challenge Brochure.

Last updated: 27 July 2023

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