UK to launch £800m research agency: Page 2 of 3

February 19, 2021 //By Nick Flaherty
UK to launch £800m research agency
The €922m Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) will work alongside the existing UKRI funding agency but its focus is unclear.
capability to start and stop projects according to their success, redirecting funding where necessary. It will have a much higher tolerance for failure than is normal, recognising that in research the freedom to fail is often also the freedom to succeed.”

This appears to be a direct criticism of UKRI, which says it supports the new agency.

“The creation of a new science and invention agency (ARIA) has tremendous potential to enhance the UK and global research and innovation system,” said Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI. “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.”

Legislation to set up ARIA will come to the UK Parliament in the next month, aiming to complement the work of UKRI while building on the government’s R&D Roadmap published in July 2020, which again appears to criticise the direction of UKRI. This includes a focus on AI, quantum technology and Industry4.0 that are already part of the remit of the Catapults.

“Key to ARIA’s success will be strong business engagement to make sure the brilliant ideas developed can make it through to market,” said Matthew Fell, UK Chief Policy Director of buisess group the CBI. “This a prime chance for business, government and the research and innovation community to work together and turn ambitions into realities. And coalesce around an shared economic vision for the next decade in which innovation will be at the heart of it.”

More clarity is expected with the publication of the legislation and the recruitment of the leadership.   

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