Start of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA)

The UK government has announced the upcoming launch of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) to support innovation in the country

The new agency should be fully operational in 2022.

Established to continue to be competitive in science and technology development around the world, ARIA will seek to fund high risk research that offers opportunities for high rewards.

Supported with £ 800m, with the aim of the agency being fully operational by 2022, ARIA will encourage researchers to identify and support new areas of research and technology to help create job creation.

Independent of government intervention, the project aims to avoid bureaucracy and at the same time finance researchers flexibly and quickly by experimenting with various financing models such as program grants, seed capital grants and price incentives.

From here, the agency will be able to start and stop projects based on success, taking into account the high probability of failure when experimenting with technology.

ARIA will be based on models that have proven successful in other countries, including the United States’ ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) model, which played a role in the creation of GPS and the Internet.

Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “From the steam engine to the latest artificial intelligence technologies, Britain is full of scientific discoveries. Today’s challenges – whether disease outbreaks or climate change – require bold, ambitious and innovative solutions.

“This new agency will be run independently by our most exceptional scientists and will focus on quickly identifying and funding the latest research and technology.

“By cutting unnecessary red tape and putting power in the hands of our innovators, the agency has the freedom to advance tomorrow’s technologies while we continue to build better through innovation.”

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Secretary of State for Science and Innovation Amanda Solloway said, “To meet the challenges of the 21st century, we need to equip our research and development community with a new scientific engine – one that embraces the idea of ​​making really big achievements resulting in making great leaps into the world unknown.

“ARIA will unleash our most inspiring scientists and inventors and give them the freedom to advance their scientific vision and explore groundbreaking new ideas at a speed never before.

“This will help create new inventions, technologies and industries that really cement Britain’s status as a global science superpower.”

A vote of confidence

In response to ARIA’s planned launch, Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates, said that while the project is a long-term goal for the government, it is currently showing trust in the startups and the country’s researchers.

“Without a doubt, the launch of Aria will be another vote of confidence for our digital businesses – especially deep tech companies built on years of research and development – and for our ambitious scientists seeking innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems .

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will certainly have heightened the need for a vehicle that enables the technology and science community to pursue high-risk, breakthrough innovations.

“While we have access to the capital, talent and academic excellence that makes the UK a major innovation hub, we often lack the Silicon Valley’s fail-fast culture. Initiatives like Aria are committed to addressing this problem. However, to compete with other major hubs from a research and development perspective, the initial investment suggests we are just getting started.

“At a time when the UK is looking to position itself as an innovation superpower, Aria could play a key role in defining the UK’s international image after Brexit. To be successful, the government must work closely with the tech community and ensure that our renowned tech companies are engaged so that the most innovative ideas can flourish. “

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Mark Masterson, Head of Research and Development at NTT DATA UK, welcomes the encouragement of innovation while allowing leeway for the missteps that are common in new technology projects.

Masterson commented, “It is fantastic to see the government openly supporting and promoting innovation with the introduction of ARIA, which will only further cement the UK’s status as a leading tech nation.

“We saw that innovation plays a huge role in adapting to the pandemic and making it possible for life to go on as normally as possible. From major migrations to digital and remote working to vaccine development, measured in months rather than years, innovation has been critical to our ability to move forward as a society.

“It is critical that we keep an eye on the future and the next technological and scientific innovations that will change the way we live. ARIA will enable us to do this, and it is important that we can do this without fear of failure, as it is the only way in which innovation can really thrive and be successful. “

Further information on the ARIA project can be found here.

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