UK govt launches £800m ‘ARPA-style’ R&D agency


Alex Baldwin

UK govt launches £800m ‘ARPA-style’ R&D agency

Melinda Nagy /

The UK government has revealed plans to launch a new agency aimed at funding “high-risk, high-reward scientific research”.

The Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) was revealed on Friday and will be backed by £800 million ($1.1 billion) in government funding over the next four years. The agency hopes to promote innovation and new scientific discoveries in the UK.

“ARIA will unleash our most inspirational scientists and inventors, empowering them with the freedom to drive forward their scientific vision and explore game-changing new ideas at a speed like never before,” said Amanda Solloway, the IP minister.

“This will help to create new inventions, technologies and industries that will truly cement the UK’s status as a global science superpower.”

Remove ‘unnecessary red tape’

ARIA will be independent from the government and be used to identify and back ambitious research and technology projects avoiding “unnecessary bureaucracy”. It is hoping to launch fully by 2022.

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.”

The programme will begin with experimenting with funding models including programme grants, seed grants and prize incentives. It will also have the ability to start and stop projects according to their success and redirect funding.

ARIA will begin a recruiting campaign for an interim chief executive and a chair to help prioritise research projects for the agency.

The agency is part of the UK government’s R&D Roadmap, first published in July 2020. The plan includes setting aside £14.6 billion to boost the UK’s R&D sector.

Did you enjoy reading this story? Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories

Arm becomes first UK-based ‘Global Innovators’ company: Clarivate

Exclusive interview: the ‘Crown use’ cliffhanger where the govt was the real winner

Five minutes with… Darren Smyth, EIP

UK Government, Amanda Solloway, ARIA, R&D, Innovation