Government Plans to Launch Research Agency for High Risk, High Reward Projects

The UK Government has confirmed that it will go ahead with plans to launch the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA), a new research agency dedicated to funding high-risk, high-reward research.

ARIA will be assigned a budget of £800 million over the course of the current Parliament and will be particularly characterised by its flexibility and independence. It will be run by leading researchers who will be free to make their own decisions about what to fund and how in a way that enables the UK’s most pioneering researchers to access support quickly.

The plans were originally announced in the Conservative manifesto, and are seen as a British version of the American DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, previously known as ARPA), which operates without the use of peer review and supports risky blue skies research projects with a significant chance of failure.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

‘Led independently by our most exceptional scientists, this new agency will focus on identifying and funding the most cutting-edge research and technology at speed.

‘By stripping back unnecessary red tape and putting power in the hands of our innovators, the agency will be given the freedom to drive forward the technologies of tomorrow, as we continue to build back better through innovation.’

A recruitment campaign will run in the coming weeks to identify an interim Chief Executive and Chair to shape the vision, direction and research priorities for the agency.

Legislation to create the agency will be introduced to Parliament shortly, with the ambition for ARIA to be fully operational by 2022.

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