Purpose and scope
The Academic Advisory Group (AAG) will provide a forum to engage stakeholders from academia and gather input from a diverse range of academic fields relevant to central bank digital currency (CBDC). A retail UK CBDC – also known as the digital pound – would be for use by households and businesses for their everyday payments, issued by the central bank, the Bank of England. The Bank of England (hereafter, the Bank) and HM Treasury (hereafter, HMT) consider a digital pound is likely to be needed in the UK though no decision to introduce one can be taken at this stage. We are therefore stepping up development and moving to the design stage of our work. Through the AAG, the Bank and HMT seek to generate expert academic input, and promote diverse and interdisciplinary discussions on a range of topics related to retail CBDC, and of relevance to our work during the design phase.
The AAG will not have any decision-making responsibilities. The Bank and HMT will not be under any obligation to formally consult the AAG on their proposals in relation to the digital pound, or to act upon the AAG’s advice. The AAG will not replace the generally applicable mechanisms for consultation and engagement that the Bank or HMT operate in fulfilment of their statutory objectives and public law duties.
Chair and secretariat
The AAG will be co-chaired by the Head of Future of Money Division at the Bank and a representative from HMT.
The Bank and HMT will jointly provide the Secretariat.
Participation in the AAG is at the invitation of the Bank and HMT, and based on their assessment of individual applications in response to an open call for interest. Members will be drawn to cover a range of academic fields relevant to CBDC. The selection process is set out in Annex 1 to this document.
The AAG will comprise a diverse set of expert participants with experience in academic fields relevant to CBDC, such as monetary economics, innovation theory and behavioural science. A list of disciplines of interest can be found in Annex 1. Membership is on an individual basis (rather than an organisational basis) and is dependent on individuals having relevant expertise to be able to contribute to the discussions and commit their time to the AAG. A Member who steps down cannot therefore automatically pass on their seat to a replacement within their organisation. The Bank and HMT will reserve the right to review the format and composition of AAG after 18 months.
The Co-chairs would not allow Members to send an alternate in the event that they are unable to attend a meeting. In this situation, Members would instead have the opportunity to provide written feedback on the papers being discussed ahead of the meeting.
A Member must inform the Co-chairs of any change to their professional role or employment.
Individuals who are not AAG Members may also be invited to attend specific AAG meetings/workshops as Observers if and when it is considered necessary at the discretion of the Co-chairs. The observers and any other non-member participants must comply with the terms of these Terms of Reference, in order to maintain the integrity of the group, including the confidentiality protections.
Membership will be periodically reviewed to ensure diversity of perspective and balance of expertise.
Responsibilities and activities
The Bank and HMT will engage the AAG on issues of relevance to the design phase of the digital pound roadmap. In this respect, AAG Members are expected to offer frank and robust inputs.
Members may nominate themselves as lead discussants for certain topics, possibly forming small working groups as required to consider the issues in more detail and present their considerations to the AAG. Subject to agreement by the Co-chairs, Members may also nominate academics not on the AAG to present on their research.
The AAG is not a decision-making or governance body for the CBDC exploratory work programme. The activities, discussions, and outputs of the AAG should not be taken as an indication of future policy by the Bank or HMT, or considered binding for future policy work or decisions.
The list of Members shall be published. While Members can therefore publicly share and cite their Academic Advisory Group membership, they should not give any impression that the AAG, or any individual Member, has decision-making responsibilities in relation to the digital pound.
When speaking in public about CBDC, Members should be clear that their views are personal and avoid any impression that they represent the views of the Academic Advisory Group or the Bank or HM Treasury.
They should also not cite their role on the Academic Advisory Group when participating in any external engagements or activities that are unrelated to the digital pound or wider CBDC policy.
Members of the AAG are expected to:
- Participate in quarterly meetings as required, with an expectation these will generally be held in-person if practicable at the Bank of England premises, unless otherwise agreed with the Co-chairs;
- provide technical, analytical, and academic perspectives and inputs to the discussions within their research or policy area of expertise;
- act in a personal capacity and to contribute to the AAG by sharing perspectives that reflect their discipline as a whole, rather than representing the views or interests of their individual organisations;
- treat information disclosed or opinions expressed during AAG meetings as confidential unless and until the AAG has authorised their public release; and
- raise awareness of the Bank and HMT’s work on the design phase of the digital pound via academic networks and encourage research on CBDC.
The Co-chairs are responsible for:
- setting the strategy for the AAG and shaping its forward agenda;
- guiding and moderating the discussions in meetings;
- inviting Observers to attend meetings and workshops, where appropriate;
- obtaining Members’ agreement on any proposed outputs; and
- adherence to these Terms of Reference
The Secretariat will be responsible for:
- the organisation and coordination of the AAG’s activities, including timely circulation of minutes after meetings and publication of summary minutes on the Bank website;
- preparation of the agenda and materials for the meetings, which may incorporate input from Members; and
- co-ordinating any outreach to other stakeholders, if required.
The AAG will meet quarterly for the duration of the digital pound design phase. The Co-chairs may vary the meeting frequency where circumstances demand it. The Bank will reimburse Members for basic travel expenses.
Members can request or suggest specific topics to be included in workshop agendas. Any such request should be communicated to the Secretariat before the relevant meeting or workshop to which the agenda relates. The final content of any agenda will be decided by the Co-chairs.
The Secretariat will share with Members drafts of summaries and minutes of the discussions held during the meetings after each meeting. Members may communicate any comments or edits on the content to the Secretariat within one week of receiving the summary. The final content of any meeting summary will be decided by the Co-chairs.
The Bank and HMT are committed to being transparent about their work and the work of the AAG. A summary of the minutes of discussions will be published on the Bank’s website after each meeting.
The Co-chairs may elect, from time to time, to hold open sessions of the AAG where a wider set of participants can observe the meeting, including over digital platforms. Any plans to do this will be discussed with the AAG in advance. Any non-Member participants must comply with the terms of these Terms of Reference, in order to maintain confidentiality protections.
Interested parties who are not Members of the AAG are welcome to send their views on topics discussed by the AAG to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any non-public or potentially sensitive information disclosed during meetings will only be included in the minutes with the prior approval of both the speaker who made the comment and the Co-chairs.
Any information provided or opinions expressed during AAG meetings will be treated as confidential unless and until the AAG has authorised their public release. Participants may be exposed to non-public information in the course of their work as Members of the AAG. Involvement of third parties in handling this material is strongly discouraged. Individual participants are expected to accept responsibility for ensuring that third parties are not able to access any information which is shared with them through AAG.
Where confidential information is used or disclosed by a member in the course of the Member’s participation in the AAG, all Members agree to:
- keep such information secret and confidential;
- not use or exploit the information in any way except for the purposes of the AAG as set out in these Terms of Reference;
- not directly or indirectly disclose or make available any such confidential information in whole or in part to any person, except as expressly permitted in writing by the Bank or in accordance with these Terms of Reference; and
- not to copy, reduce to writing or otherwise record confidential information except as strictly necessary for the purposes of the AAG as set out in these Terms of Reference.
Members agree to establish and maintain adequate security measures to safeguard confidential information from unauthorised access or use.
Members may disclose confidential information to the minimum extent required by an order of any court of competent jurisdiction or any regulatory, judicial, governmental or similar body or any taxation authority of competent jurisdiction; or the laws or regulations of any country to which they are subject. Before such disclosure, Members agree to use all reasonable endeavours to give the Co-chairs as much notice of this disclosure as possible (and if they are not able to inform the Co-chairs of the full circumstances of the disclosure and the information that has been disclosed they should notify the Co-chairs as soon as reasonably practicable after such disclosure has been made).
Members agree to destroy or return to the Bank and HMT or (where applicable) the relevant disclosing party all documents and materials (and any copies) containing, reflecting, incorporating or based on confidential information, and to erase the information from their computer and communications systems and devices, except to the extent that such Member is required by applicable law, to retain the information.
These confidentiality provisions shall survive the termination of these Terms of Reference.
Participants accept that by participating in the AAG they will not gain any ownership rights to any intellectual property in the output of the AAG, any Intellectual Property Rights in such outputs shall remain vested in the Bank.
However, nothing in these terms is intended to affect any pre-existing intellectual property rights in material brought into the AAG by Participants. It is the responsibility of the relevant Participant to draw attention to intellectual property rights subsisting in information shared within the AAG.
Conflicts of interest, competition law and information-sharing
Members are responsible for identifying and declaring any financial or other interests that could create or be seen to create a conflict of interest as a participant of the AAG, as soon as they arise. This includes reviewing the forward agenda and identifying and declaring any conflicts of interest to the Secretariat before every meeting. If a Member finds that a conflict of interest becomes apparent only as the meeting progresses, the nature of the conflict should be declared as soon as practicable to the Co-chairs. The Co-chairs will then decide how the conflict should be managed, including whether the Member should:
- leave the meeting during discussions relating to the conflicted matter;
- stay in the meeting but not participate in the discussion; or
- stay in the meeting and participate freely.
It is the responsibility of each Member to ensure that they understand and comply with their obligations under all applicable competition law. To the extent that any participant is unclear about these, they should seek legal advice and if appropriate arrange to undertake competition law compliance training or seek further guidance at their respective organisations.
Participants may request further protections for any data and information shared with the AAG. Participants may make requests either by communicating the request (i) directly to the Bank and HMT or (ii) to the Members and Co-chairs for discussion at the next AAG workshop.
It is the responsibility of any Member to ensure that they are satisfied with the level of protection for any information shared by them. If they are not satisfied, then it is the Member’s responsibility to not share any such information.
Relationship to the wider CBDC work programme and other engagement groups
Outputs from the AAG will be taken account of in the Bank and HMT’s wider work programme on CBDC. The Co-chairs will be responsible for disseminating relevant aspects of AAG discussions and outputs inside the Bank and HMT.
The issues raised by the AAG may inform the topics considered by other engagement groups (for example, the CBDC Engagement Forum or the Technology Forum), and vice versa. The minutes of EF (Engagement Forum) and TF (Technology Forum) will be made available to AAG Members via the Bank’s website.
Neither the Bank nor HMT, nor any of their staff, officials, or representatives, including but not limited to the AAG Co-chairs and Secretariat, are responsible for any views or statements expressed by other Participants.
Views expressed by the AAG in its outputs may not reflect the views of the Bank or HMT.
The activities, discussions, and outputs of the AAG should not be taken as an indication of future policy by the Bank and HMT. Bank and HMT’s policy positions will continue to be developed and communicated in accordance with the usual governance and public consultation procedures of the organisations.
Annex 1: Membership selection process and criteria
The Bank and HMT have placed a call for interest with a closing date of 15 September 2023.
Applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their research relates to the Bank and HMT’s work on CBDC, and provide evidence of fostering diversity and challenging the status quo in their workplace or with their research.
Applicants are asked to submit an application through this online formOpens in a new window.
As a guide, the Bank and HMT will consider the selection criteria set out below in evaluating applications, selecting 10 to 15 Members to form the AAG. In addition to these criteria, the Bank and HMT will consider the overall balance of the group in terms of diversity in area of expertise and individual characteristics.
- Knowledge and experience. Members should be knowledgeable and experienced in academic fields relevant to CBDC, including but not limited to: monetary policy, finance, competition economics, industrial organization, behavioural science, law, innovation theory, marketing, business. We would considering accepting applicants from any field where the applicant is able to demonstrate the relevance of their research to the design phase of the digital pound.
- Understanding of policy perspective. It is preferable if the Member can demonstrate understanding of policy issues related to the potential role of a retail CBDC in the UK economy.
- Resources. It is important that the Member is able to commit sufficient time and resources to the AAG. The required commitment will include attending quarterly workshops, and preparatory work. Members will also need to provide input into meeting and workshop agendas and papers.
- Diversity. They should contribute to the overall diversity of Members and the institutions they come from. The AAG will reflect diversity in terms of individuals, field of research and the organisations that they work for, so that the AAG may draw on a rich variety of knowledge and experiences amongst its members. On an individual level, the AAG will incorporate members of different characteristics in terms of gender and ethnicity. On an organisational level, a variety of organisations based on size, type, geography etc. may be selected. In addition, we will only accept a maximum of two Members from the same field of research.
Annex 2: Data protection information
The Bank and HMT will collect the name, work email address, job title, name of organisation, and summary of role and experience, from individuals who submit an application for Membership of the AAG. The Bank and HMT may also collect some of this information from individuals or organisations who nominate an individual for Membership of the AAG.
The Bank and HMT will also collect views, opinions and further personal data where this is shared either verbally or in writing (e.g. by using a ‘chat’ function) by individuals participating in online meetings for the AAG.
The Bank and HMT are likely to be joint ‘controllers’ (within the meaning of data protection law) in respect of the personal data they process for the selection of Members and the running of meetings for the AAG. In other respects the Bank and HMT is each likely to be a separate ‘controller’ with respect to their own processing of personal data in connection with the AAG.
The Bank and HMT also consider that each Member of the AAG is likely to be a ‘controller’ in respect of their own processing of personal data for the purposes of their participation in the AAG.
Where the Bank and HMT processes personal data for the purposes of the AAG, they will use the information for the purpose of reviewing and assessing applications to become a Member of the AAG, to communicate with Members of the AAG and to advance the purposes of the AAG as set out more fully in these Terms of Reference. This includes contacting unsuccessful applicants when subsequent Membership opportunities arise.
The Bank and HMT will process personal data where necessary for the performance of their tasks carried out in the public interest being the establishment of a forum to facilitate dialogue around the potential adoption of a CBDC in the UK. They may share your personal data with other Members of the AAG where necessary for this purpose.
To ensure that HMT and the Bank’s external engagement on CBDC is transparent, the names and professional affiliations of AAG Members may be published on the Bank and HMT websites.
Safeguarding individuals’ personal data is important to the Bank and HMT. Members’ personal data will be stored on secure Bank and HMT systems with controlled access. The Bank and HMT are committed to information security and each uses a range of layered information security measures to protect the data they hold. They will keep Members’ personal data for so long as is necessary to facilitate the AAG or otherwise in accordance with the Bank’s or HMT’s applicable document retention policies, which are available upon request from HMT and the Bank. You can request that we no longer use your personal data by writing to the Bank or HMT as applicable.
Further information about how the Bank processes personal data is set out in the Bank’s Privacy Notice.
Further information about how HMT processes personal data is set out in HMT’s Personal Information Charter.
Where the Bank or HMT uses an online meeting service provider to host meetings, then the privacy statement of that service provider will apply.
You have a number of rights under data protection laws. To contact the Bank or HMT about those rights, including making a request for the personal data the Bank or HMT holds about you, please see the Bank’s and HMT’s Privacy Notices above. You can also report concerns to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the regulatory authority for data protection in the UK. Contact details can be found on their website.
Each organisations Data Protection Officer can be contacted via the details above.