UK government to launch new high risk research agency

Advanced Research & Invention Agency
© Olivier Le Queinec

The UK government will launch a new independent research body to fund high-risk, high-reward scientific research called the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA)

The Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) will fund high-risk research and support groundbreaking discoveries, helping to maintain the UK’s position as a global science superpower.

Backed by £800 million, world-leading scientists will be given the freedom to fund inventors and turn their ideas into new technologies, discoveries, products and services at speed.

A recruitment campaign will begin over the coming weeks to find a world-class interim Chief Executive and Chair.

The new agency will be independent of the government and will have a much higher tolerance for failure.

‘Fully operational by 2022’

Legislation to form the agency will be presented to Parliament as soon as possible and it will aim to be fully operational by 2022.

The agency will experiment with funding models including program grants, seed grants, and prize incentives, and will have the capability to start and stop projects according to their success, redirecting funding where necessary.

Science and Innovation Minister Amanda Solloway said:

“The UK’s scientific community has a proud history of discovery, producing iconic inventors such as Alan Turing whose imagination and creativity changed the world as we know it.

“But to rise to the challenges of the 21st century we need to equip our R&D community with a new scientific engine – one that embraces the idea that truly great successes come from taking great leaps into the unknown.

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

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive, UK Research and Innovation, said:

“The creation of a new science and invention agency (ARIA) has tremendous potential to enhance the UK and global research and innovation system.

“The agency will have the freedom to experiment with pioneering new funding models, extending the reach of the current system to support people and ideas in new and different ways.

“Working closely together, UK Research and Innovation and ARIA will catalyse an even more diverse, dynamic and creative funding system that will ensure transformative ideas, whoever has them, can change people’s lives for the better.”


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