Use of AI in Screening Individuals of Interest


The UK national security community exists to protect the safety and security of the UK. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6, has approached HMGCC Co-Creation with a requirement to streamline screening individuals of interest, potentially using automation and/or AI to develop further insights.

What is HMGCC?

HMGCC has been a base for national security engineering for 85 years. It is a pioneer in its field of operational technology, solving the problems set by the national security community, creating tools, technologies and capabilities to support this work.

The challenge


Can your organisation demonstrate how AI can assist with screening individuals of interest?

HMGCC Co-Creation is offering to fund organisations for this 12-week feasibility project to show how AI tools can assist with screening and support the national security mission. Full funding is provided for time, materials, overheads and other indirect expenses. There is no determined total budget amount, as the strength of received proposals will be a factor. Multi-organisation consortia are encouraged to apply.

The gap

Screening requires multiple data sets, analysis and due diligence of decision making, with appropriate data handling, oversight and governance. This has worked incredibly successfully for many years, but can you help us shape the future with AI?

A visualisation of the current process is shown in Figure 1.

Unprocessed data, is analysed by many different tools, depending on the type of data. It is often a manual process and can involve many different stakeholders. It is highly iterative if more data or analysis is required. It is believed that by using recent and future developments in AI, this otherwise complex working process could be made simpler. Extra value could be added by linking with other historical data as well as flagging key insights and decision points as new data becomes available.

Example use case

Sam, an SIS employee has the task of screening 100 individuals of interest. Currently this is a complex process involving the use of multiple tools to gain insight from unstructured data.

Sam repeats the process with different collections of information.

The next challenges for Sam are:

• Filtering insights that are relevant.

• Recognising patterns in behaviour and data.

• Iterating and then drawing insights when working with multiple data sets.

• Ensuring a connection with a parallel or a historic search has not been missed.

• Focussing resource on the most relevant information.

It is thought that by using AI, this process could be partially automated during Sam’s research and similarities with other screenings spotted. Important insights, gaps in knowledge or key decisions could be flagged to a person.

Applications for this technology in alternative sectors may include recruitment agencies, the banking Know Your Customer (KYC) process and risk assessment in insurance.

Figure 1. Illustration of the high-level steps of screening.

Project scope

SIS is keen to access novel technology solutions, however it is recognised that new developments are unlikely to occur to any significant level over a 12-week period. SIS is looking to work with solution providers on mid-TRL products with the aim of long term collaborations. A 12-week project may include:

• Horizon scanning and detailing the art of the possible

• Demonstrating existing developments in a relevant environment, perhaps from parallel sectors such as insurance, banking and social media

• Working with solution providers to examine how a tool could be pivoted for the SIS use case

To help steer, it could have the following features:

• Natural language input

• Flag areas of interest or further investigation

• Audit log of decisions and flags

• Ability to automate case record updates as new information becomes available

• Must be used on premises without public cloud connectivity

Key dates

18 March

Competition opens.

09 April

Join our online briefing call here.

19 April

FAQs published, find them here. For those of you who didn’t register and couldn’t attend the Briefing Call,  please contact for the slides.

09 May

Competition closes.

31 May

Applicants notified.

19 June

Pitch Day in London with the option to join via Microsoft Teams.

August 2024

Target project kick-off.

Check this page for regular updates


This challenge is open to sole innovators, industry, academic and research organisations of all types and sizes. There is no requirement for security clearances.

Solution providers or direct collaboration from countries listed by the UK government under trade sanctions and/or arms embargoes, are not eligible for HMGCC Co-Creation challenges.



For further information including routes to apply, HMGCC Co-Creation terms and conditions and FAQs.