The University of Edinburgh runs a programme which helps companies access talent and develop innovative products and services—a company based Fintech Doctoral Programme.

This programme is delivered in partnership with companies and combines a PhD training structure with a specific focus on topics at the intersection of finance/economics and informatics/technology with a company research project.

Each student works on a project (or several projects) commissioned by their sponsoring company partner. Projects need to be of commercial interest to the sponsor and aim to ultimately drive development of new digital solutions and products, or improvements to company processes.

We welcome partnerships with various types of financial services companies. Our current partners range from large asset management companies and financial services SMEs to Fintech startups.

Business partners will set the project topics and will be involved in the candidate selection process. Sponsoring companies provide a company supervisor for the project and remain closely involved to ensure delivery of commercially relevant outcomes. The PhD student is also supervised by 2 academic experts from the University of Edinburgh.

During the first year of the programme, students will complete a comprehensive training programme based in Edinburgh. During years 2–4 of the programme, their time will be divided between the partner company and the University. The exact arrangements will be decided with the company for each project to suit their project requirements.

After completion of the 4-year programme, graduates typically enter employment with their company sponsor. The programme provides high-quality, talented candidates who help their host company deliver innovative products and services.

Intellectual property (IP)

All projects will be covered by a project agreement between the PhD student, the University of Edinburgh, and the sponsoring company. It is expected that the PhD student will assign the IP to the hosting company and, should the IP be successfully commercialised by the sponsor, the PhD student will be suitably compensated. The agreement will also include confidentiality obligations (NDA).

Benefits to the sponsor company

  • Company commissioned research of commercial interest to the sponsoring partner
  • Topics at the intersection of finance/economics and informatics/technology
  • Company partner closely involved in student selection and project specification
  • Academic supervision from leading experts across a range of disciplines at the University of Edinburgh
  • Opportunity to guide Doctoral Training—the company supervisor will be closely involved to ensure delivery of commercially relevant outcomes
  • High-calibre candidates with degrees in relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements
  • PhD students will undertake comprehensive training (if required)
  • Students will divide their time between the partner company and the University
  • High-quality researchers dedicated to your organisation's objectives


  • The University of Edinburgh (Business School, School of Informatics, School of Mathematics, and others as appropriate). The Fintech PhD Programme Director is Dr Raffaella Calabrese.
  • Sponsoring company—providing project(s), funding, company supervisor.

Indicative costs

Tuition fees are set by the University of Edinburgh for each academic year, and they are different for UK and international students. In addition to tuition fees, the cost of a PhD studentship also includes a stipend and the fourth year re-matriculation fee.

The total cost of a PhD studentship (for the full four years) ranges from about £95,000 (for UK students) to about £150,000 (for international students), plus VAT if applicable. Costs are invoiced in annual instalments.

Indicative timelines

Students are enrolled on the Fintech Doctoral Programme twice a year, in January and September. We need sufficient time to recruit the right students for the projects, so it can take approximately four to six months between agreeing the project and sponsorship with a company, and the student being ready to start their doctoral programme.

How can company partners engage?

If you are interested in sponsoring a PhD studentship, we will need the following from you:

  • Brief information about your company
  • A project description (context, objectives and desired outcomes, required knowledge and skills for the student)
  • A dedicated company supervisor
  • A commitment to fund the PhD studentship over the four-year duration

Examples of current Fintech projects

  • Portfolio and risk management using artificial intelligence algorithms and other automation techniques
  • Developing and validating a measure and impact of the extra cost that households on low incomes incur when purchasing the same goods and services as households on higher incomes (“poverty premium”)
  • Developing models for optimal revenue distribution within a token platform
  • Predicting financial distress and volatility of a portfolio, based on transactions data
  • Using artificial intelligence to study environmental risks in supply‐chain networks
  • Machine learning and conditional market timing

Further information

For more information about the Fintech PhD Programme, please get in contact with: