Spatial Finance Initiative announces new advisory board

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‘Spatial finance’ is the integration of geospatial data and analysis into financial theory and practice. Earlier this year four leading institutions – The Alan Turing Institute, UK Green Finance Institute, Satellite Applications Catapult, and the University of Oxford – launched the Spatial Finance Initiative (SFI) to “mainstream geospatial capabilities enabled by space technology and data science into financial decision-making globally.”

This is now possible as the result of rapid developments in data capture (cheaper sensors and platforms, particularly new satellite constellations with much more regular revisit periods) and data processing (developments in AI and cloud-based computing to scan and interpret imagery quickly), as well as continuous improvements in predictive modelling (that help to turn geospatial data into insights).

Chaired by Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, the Spatial Finance Initiative’s new Advisory Board is a powerhouse of individuals from across the space, finance, AI, and environmental sectors. It is meeting for the first time today at the Guildhall in the heart of the historic City of London. Members of the Advisory Board include[1]:

  • Rhian-Mari Thomas, CEO, Green Finance Institute
  • Graham Turnock, CEO, UK Space Agency
  • Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult
  • William Priest, former CEO, Geospatial Commission
  • Zoe Webster, Director of AI and Data Economy, UK Research and Innovation
  • Ian Simm, CEO, Impax
  • Mark Cornelius, Senior Head of Division – Insurance Supervision, PRA, Bank of England
  • Patrick Du Plessis, Global Head of Risk Monitoring, Norges Bank Investment Management
  • Rowan Douglas, Head of Capital and Policy, Willis Towers Watson
  • Adina Gillespie, Business Development Director, GHGSat
  • Vanessa Lawrence, Director, Location International Ltd

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said “I am proud to chair such an innovative and inspiring group of advisory board members across different sectors, whose contributions will help garner the highest possible impact for the future of the Spatial Finance Initiative. I am particularly excited by the potential of spatial finance to help financial institutions measure and manage climate-related risks, particularly physical climate-related risks that are becoming more and more significant.”

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas, CEO of the Green Finance Institute, said “Demand for spatial finance products and services, driven in large part by growing interest in how to align finance with environmental sustainability, will transform the availability of information in our financial system creating a significant opportunity for the financial services industry. There will be a multi-billion pound a year spatial financial data industry and UK institutions and expertise are helping to create it.”

Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford and one of SFI’s founders, said “Spatial finance will add a third dimension to financial data, complementing existing financial reporting, as well as integrated reports and climate-related risk disclosures. Geospatial data and analysis will allow us to (re)examine a vast range of hypotheses with big implications for finance, as well almost every academic discipline in the social and physical sciences.”

Sam Adlen, Chief Strategy Officer, Satellite Applications Catapult and one of SFI’s founders, said “Our vision is to have the world’s largest asset owners, asset managers, banks, and financial regulators all using spatial finance to assess risks, opportunities and impacts across different aspects of financial sector decision-making. This will be driven by a vibrant UK ecosystem of spatial finance providers and products.”

About the Spatial Finance Initiative

The Spatial Finance Initiative’s mission is to mainstream geospatial capabilities enabled by space technology and data science into financial decision-making globally.

The Spatial Finance Initiative has been established to bring together research capabilities in space, data science, and financial services to make them greater than the sum of their parts. The Initiative is designed to be a funnel, undertaking and coordinating world-leading academic research and channelling these into real-world finance-related applications.

The research will be translated into practical and pre-operational products and services by working closely with the finance community and geospatial and financial services providers. The Initiative has been established by the Alan Turing Institute, Green Finance Institute, Satellite Applications Catapult, and the University of Oxford

[1] See complete list here: