Government establishes new Advanced Research & Invention Agency
A new “high-risk” science agency designed to fund ground-breaking discoveries has been announced by Government. The Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) will support the efforts of researchers and innovators and enable the UK to cement its position “as a global science superpower”. £800m funding will be provided to the organisation over four years, and Government has signalled that it will have more legroom for failure “than is normal” while projects are experimented with and trialled.
Government has ambitious plans for Research and Development across UK industrial and commercial sectors into the future. The creation of ARIA is also part of the government’s R&D Roadmap, published in July 2020, which aims to increase UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of the nation’s GDP by 2027, as well as increase public funding to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025.
For 2020-21 alone, the government has allocated £10.36bn for its research programmes and bodies. UKRI and NIHR are among the existing Government-funded bodies which promote research that transforms commercial approaches, scientific achievement, Government policies and citizens’ daily lives. Business sectors stand to gain from increased productivity, more jobs, automated processes and tackling longstanding challenges through a focus on R&D.
ARIA is to be modelled on the influential US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which supported research that led to the internet and GPS, and its successor DARPA, which funded the precursors to today's coronavirus vaccines. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the new agency would "drive forward the technologies of tomorrow" by "stripping back unnecessary red tape". The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that ARIA “will build on the UK’s world-class scientific research and innovation system”.