The new agency, the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA), is backed by £800 million to fund the most inspiring inventors to turn their transformational ideas into new technologies, discoveries, products and services – helping to maintain the UK’s position as a global science superpower.

The new agency will be independent of government and led by some of the world’s most visionary researchers who will be empowered to use their knowledge and expertise to identify and back the most ambitious, cutting-edge areas of research and technology - helping to create highly skilled jobs across the country.

ARIA is based on models that have proved successful in other countries, in particular the influential US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) model, which was instrumental in creating transformational technologies such as the internet and GPS. ARPA's successor, DARPA, was a vital pre-pandemic funder of mRNA vaccines and antibody therapies, leading to critical COVID therapies.

"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," said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. "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."

Industry reaction

“The UK has always been an innovative nation but has struggled to turn many ideas in to commercial reality with government and investors too risk averse to take on many projects," added Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK. "This new agency will provide a welcome boost towards seizing the opportunities that science and technological breakthroughs are already providing and which will be critical to solving the many societal challenges we face.

“Government must now build on this by in tandem reforming and boosting the R&D Tax Credit, in particular including capital expenditure. Together these measures should help turbocharge the UK’s science and innovation performance.”

“We are delighted to see the government deliver on its commitment to a high-risk high-reward funding agency," said President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE. "I hope this ambitious new funding mechanism will help to unlock radical innovation and enable step changes in technology that provides value for our economy and society at large. Engineering is central to an ambitious innovation agency of this kind, forming the bridge between research and innovation to enable technological and commercial breakthroughs.”