The government has officially established the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), an independent body that will fund “high-risk, high-reward” scientific research and technology projects.
The government first announced plans to launch ARIA in February 2021. It takes its inspiration from DARPA, the US government research and development agency that has played a pivotal role in developing technologies such as GPS, drones and weather satellites. Its predecessor, ARPA, played a crucial part in creating the early internet.
ARIA is now a legally established body and this week appointed five new non-executive members from the worlds of science, academia and business.
George Freeman, science minister, said: “Transformational discoveries come from world-class scientists and labs with the freedom to explore the unknown. We have set up ARIA as an £800m global super lab to do just that through frontier science and technology.”
The five appointments to the ARIA board are:
– Stephen Cohen: UK Civil Service commissioner and a commissioner for the Gambling Commission.
– Professor Sir David MacMillan: Nobel Prize-winning organic chemist and chemistry professor at Princeton University.
– Sarah Hunter: Moonshot Factory X’s global director of public policy.
– Dame Kate Bingham (DBE): Previously the chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce and managing partner at SV Health Investors.
– Antonia Jenkinson: Formerly CFO at the UK Atomic Energy Authority. She joins as ARIA’s chief financial and operations officer.
Each of the experts will be responsible for distributing funding within their respective areas of expertise.
“I could not imagine a better board of directors to oversee ARIA’s formation. Guided by their experience and judgement, ARIA will make bold bets that leverage the strengths of the UK research system to drive world-changing breakthroughs,” said Dr Ilan Gur, CEO of ARIA.