Millions of pounds in funding is available for legal technology innovators through two awards schemes inviting entries over the next few weeks. The Enabling Data Access Innovation Lab, organised by Whitehall-funded Innovate UK, plans to award up to £3.5 million to projects developing data access methods to enable the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies in the accountancy, insurance and legal services sector.

The competition takes place in two stages: first, individuals apply on behalf of their organisations to join a three-day Innovation Lab from 14 October. Four weeks after the event, project consortia will be required to submit their proposals for assessment. Further details are here.  

The deadline for applications is noon on 4 September.

In another initiative, business information giant Thomson Reuters is offering cash prizes of $30,000 (£25,000) for bright ideas which harness technology to solve legal regulatory challenges, as well as investments of £250,000 (£207,000) in startup businesses. The initiative is the latest sign of interest in so-called 'regtech' to compliment the booming 'fintech' and 'lawtech' sectors.  

Announcing the competition, Nick Jarema, vice president, Thomson Reuters, said the global regtech market segment is expected to nearly triple in size to $12bn over the next five years. 'Businesses are increasingly looking to technology and automation to help navigate a rapidly evolving regulatory environment and rising costs of compliance,' he said. 

Entrants in the 'Global RegTech Competition' will need to demonstrate how their solutions help lawyers, tax and compliance professionals and/or governments solve regulatory and compliance challenges through the smart application of new technologies. Entrants will be judged on criteria that include: the market opportunity, the value proposition of their solution, technical expertise, partnership opportunities and quality of their presentation. 

Start-ups in these areas are invited to apply by 9 September. 

Meanwhile, entries in the SRA-backed Legal Access Challenge, which is making four awards of £50,000, closed last Sunday. The list of finalists is due to be published next month. 

New frontiers in data protection, e-Privacy and workplace surveillance – Thursday 26 September 2019

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