Regulatory sandboxes and innovation capabilities: An exploratory study

FinTech as “a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities” (Schueffel, 2016, p.45) is built upon a distributed model in terms of bringing technology closer and allowing the development of new services, encouraging customer value and centricity. FinTech brings an entire different logic that is causing fundamental changes in the structure and purpose of business, changes that the majority of incumbents are not ready to face (Nicoletti, 2017).

Notably, 83% of financial institutions are expecting to increase partnerships over the next three to five years, 64% are currently engaging in partnerships with FinTech companies while 89% are expecting drastic changes in internal innovation efforts over the next three to five years (PwC, 2017). These developments have already signalled to regulators and policymakers that the current regulatory frameworks are not anymore compatible with this emerging financial technologies entrepreneurial environment (He et al., 2017). Extant literature is beginning to pay attention to the emergence and developments of regulatory sandboxes to provide flexibility and accessibility across the financial services industry (Lee, 2017), along with, providing foundations for sound competition within the financial industry (Noh, 2017). Anchored in this ongoing discussion around the relationship between FinTech and Regulation for Financial Innovation, this proposal by bringing multiple insights from key informants in financial services, aims at exploring how regulatory sandboxes can help in building long-term experimentation capabilities that are essential to innovation?

Strategic Need

This project aligns with the “Innovation governance and performance” research priority area of the Global Business Innovation ECP. In particular the project aims to explore how and why FinTech entrepreneurs and start-ups engage with the regulatory sandboxes and the dimensions this experimentation environment offers to foster innovation capabilities. In doing so, the project explores the role of regulators in enhancing innovation capabilities in an increasingly ‘open’ era.

The outputs from the project have implications for science and practice of innovation management. For science, it extends the state-of-the-art in by integrating governance theories with innovation practice. In doing so, the project will pave new paths for research on regulatory and ethical considerations in financial innovations (i.e. responsible innovation). For practice, the project is expected to deliver understanding of characteristics of FinTech entrepreneurs and start-ups when it comes to embracing openness during experimentation. In turn, it provides insights into the necessary conditions for improving effectiveness of regulatory sandboxes in driving financial innovations.

Proposed postgraduate research program

  • School: School of Management
  • Program name: PhD (Management)

Value and duration

A stipend of $32,000 per year over the duration of three years.

Number of scholarships available



To be considered for scholarship you must hold, or be currently completing either:

  • Master by research
  • Master by coursework with a significant research component graded as high distinction, or equivalent
  • Honours degree achieving first class honours
  • 4 year bachelor degree achieving a GPA of 4 or equivalent (80% or above).

If you do not hold one of the above qualifications you will only be considered for scholarship if you have previous peer reviewed publications or significant research experience.

Please make sure that you check the individual eligibility requirements of these scholarships prior to submitting your application.

It is also important to note that the scholarship rounds are highly competitive and satisfying the eligibility requirements does not guarantee a successful outcome. When a scholarship round closes all applications are received are ranked in order of merit. This process takes five to six weeks to complete. Applicants are typically advised of the outcome of a scholarship round five to six weeks after the round closes for applications.

How to apply

International applicants need to apply for admission via iApply and ensure that there is an offer in place before submitting a scholarship application via the Google form. Domestic applicants can continue to apply for both admission and scholarship via this PDF form. Domestic applicants who already hold an offer of admission from RMIT for a PhD or Masters by Research program but have not enrolled may apply for a scholarship using the Google form.

Open date

Applications are open until 4 May 2018. International applicants must have an offer of place prior to applying for a scholarship and are encouraged to submit an admission application by 27 April 2018.

Terms and conditions

See the research scholarship terms and conditions (PDF 279KB 10p) for more information.

Supervisory Team/Contact

Professor Anne-Laure Mention
Phone: +61 3 9925 5358

Dr Dimitrios Salampasis, Swinburne University of Technology
Phone: +61 3 9214 8204