Transforming accountancy, insurance and legal services with AI and data (small projects strand)

Key Features

UK business and research organisations can apply for a share of £12 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This is to develop AI and data enabled products and services within accountancy, insurance and legal services.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £12 million

Opens: 18th Jun 2018

Closes: 15th Aug 2018

! This scheme is now closed


UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £12 million in innovation projects to support the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies. Projects should aim to transform the 3 target sectors:

  1. Accountancy
  2. Insurance
  3. Legal services

These are sectors where there is an imminent threat from overseas competition.


The aim of this competition is to speed up the responsible adoption of AI and data technologies and solutions to transform the accountancy, insurance and legal services sectors.

Your project needs to include the following:

  • clear consideration of end user experience and design
  • the development of new approaches and solutions in the use of data and AI for the 3 target services sectors
  • a clear description of how you will take the product to the marketplace
  • consideration of broader, non-technical aspects that adoption of AI and use of data bring including ethics, bias, privacy, transparency


Innovate UK are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • address broad sector wide needs
  • are for solutions that address the “black-box challenge” of AI and bring transparency to machine supported decisions
  • offer solutions that address human concepts such as ‘reasonableness’ and ‘justice’ when using AI
  • are for projects that are multi-disciplinary and include social science as well as science and engineering


Innovate UK will not fund projects that do not address accountancy, insurance or legal services.


To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • work in collaboration with other organisations in the project, unless you are an SME in which case you can work alone
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK

All projects must involve an SME.

Project Costs

Innovate UK are expecting to fund between £2 million and £4 million of grants in this strand. They reserve the right to manage budgets between the 2 strands to ensure a balanced programme.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £12 million across the 2 strands to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Projects with costs:

  • under £200,000 can be single SMEs or collaborative
  • £200,000 or more must be collaborative and involve an SME

Total project costs should be up to £400,000 and projects should last between 1 and 2 years. Projects should plan to start 1 December 2018. All projects must complete by 31 March 2021.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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