The Government announced a commitment for a new funding agency, modelled on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), in the Queen’s Speech in 2019, and later in the Conservative Party manifesto of the same year. A budget of £800 million was announced in the 2020 budget, and the creation of the agency was again referenced in the R&D Road Map of July that year. There was considerable discussion as to the rationale for this new body, which was later named the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), and how it might work with UKRI and Innovate UK. The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee launched an inquiry in April 2020, which reported shortly after the Foundation’s event on this topic. Primary legislation to establish ARIA is currently progressing through Parliament.
On 27 January 2021, the Foundation brought together the Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, a former Chief Executive of Innovate UK and the Director of Innovation and Digital at the CBI to explore the issues. A video recording of the webinar, presentation slides and speaker audio from the event are available on the FST website.