Dublin, September 21, 2018:  Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., and the SFI Research Centre ADAPT, have announced a new Financial Technology (FinTech) research programme, FinTech Fusion. The academic and industry research partnership was launched today in Dublin city centre. FinTech Fusion will encourage breakthroughs in payment (PayTech), regulation (RegTech) and insurance (InsureTech) technologies by accelerating scientific progress and enabling data-driven research.

The rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence, mobile applications, cloud computing, Big Data analytics and distributed ledger technology such as Blockchain has demanded organisations change in order to remain competitive. FinTech Fusion’s research programme will address how financial technology is disrupting and transforming businesses from financial institutions to technology companies, along with the retail and wholesale financial sector, and lead on innovations that are capable of creating significant change in financial services, on a global scale.

Speaking at the launch of FinTech Fusion, Minister Donohoe said: “The collaboration between industry and third level institutions in research programmes, such as FinTech Fusion, gives Ireland an early advantage in emerging technologies. Coupled with our open economy and strong background in both technology and financial services, this will add to the opportunities already available for the creation of higher value jobs. The investment in ADAPT, from Science Foundation Ireland, is part of the Irish Government’s wider effort to invest in research, support innovation and build Ireland’s knowledge and skills, creating a global hub for digital content technologies.  I look forward to the future innovations coming from the ADAPT Centre as it continues to provide cutting-edge solutions to the problems of our digital age.”

The research will focus on three main areas – payments, insurance and regulation. Distributed ledger systems are providing alternative payment systems that are faster, cheaper, and more transparent and mobile payments systems are providing compelling alternatives to traditional banking.  Technological innovations such as blockchain-based frameworks can reduce human intervention and fraud while increasing transparency and efficiency, helping to transform the insurance industry.

The role of regulatory compliance and the implication of RegTech in the new world of data-driven finance will require state-of-the-art tools for risk prediction and mitigating costly threats. These new technologies are putting pressure on the business models of traditional financial services and how banks and companies react to this disruption will define their future success.

Professor John Cotter, Director of FinTech Fusion at the ADAPT Centre, said: “Fintech is the marriage between finance and technology and offers huge growth opportunities for Ireland both in research reputation and economic impact. This funding allows us to take advantage of these opportunities.  In FinTech Fusion we have brought together leading financial and technology researchers with dynamic industry partners to answer valuable research questions.   This will create new opportunities for Ireland, our researchers, and our industry partners.”

Science Foundation Ireland will provide €2 million of the funding, with the balance coming from research agreements with industry partners bringing the total project in excess of €5 million.

FinTech Fusion’s academic researchers will work together with more than a dozen companies including Deutsche Börse, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, Gecko Governance, FINEOS and Zurich, to develop FinTech innovations that will have the potential to impact economies, markets, companies and individuals. 

FinTech Fusion will be led by the SFI Research Centre ADAPT, headquartered at Trinity College Dublin and funded by Science Foundation Ireland. It will involve researchers from three existing SFI Research Centres – ADAPT, Insight and Lero, based in five academic institutions around the country. It is also supported by the IDA, FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland, Insurance Ireland, and Columbia University.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I am delighted to join ADAPT, a world-leading SFI Research Centre, in launching their FinTech Spoke. Fintech is an important and rapidly growing industry sector. Transforming how we deliver financial services will require innovation from top international academics and collaboration with significant industry partners. The SFI Spokes programme is designed to enable such partnerships between research and industry so that we can continue to provide Ireland with cutting-edge technologies as a result of excellent and impactful research. I wish the researchers and industry partners involved in this exciting project the very best of luck.”

Also speaking at the launch, Professor Vincent Wade, Director of the SFI Research Centre ADAPT who is leading the research programme, said: “The ADAPT Centre’s world-leading expertise in content media and intelligence will enable FinTech Fusion to create new solutions for an ever-changing technological and financial world. This research collaboration offers industry partners a unique opportunity to leapfrog emerging technologies by researching new solutions and develop new paradigms for the FinTech industry.  The fusion of academic and professional expertise will provide a new perspective on disruptive innovation and evolution of business technology.”

FinTech Fusion’s research programme will run for four years from 2018 to 2022.