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A new UK research funding agency

Inquiry

The December 2019 Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s intention for:

a new approach to funding emerging fields of research and technology. It will provide long term funding to support visionary high-risk, high-pay off scientific, engineering, and technology ideas

The October 2019 Queen’s Speech briefing note explained that this would be “broadly modelled” on the US ARPA. The US Government’s ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’ (DARPA), which evolved from ARPA, employs ‘programme managers’ on 3–5 year contracts to fund high‑risk, high‑reward research. Its budget in financial year 2019–20 was approximately £2.65bn.

The March 2020 Budget stated that the Government would “invest at least £800 million” in this “blue skies” funding agency, which would fund “high risk, high reward science”.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee will inquire formally into the nature and purpose of this new UK research funding agency.

Read the call for evidence for more information about this inquiry.

Reports and government responses

No reports or government responses published

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
11 November 2020
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Sir John Kingman (Chair at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)), Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser (Chief Executive at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)), Amanda Solloway (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), and Sarah Hodgetts (Deputy Director for UKRI Sponsorship and Advanced Research Projects Agency at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
OralEvidence
23 September 2020
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses William Bonvillian (Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dr Peter Highnam (Deputy Director at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Dr Regina Dugan (Chief Executive Officer at Wellcome Leap), and Dr Antoine Petit (Chairman and CEO at French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS))
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
OralEvidence
7 October 2020
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Professor Mariana Mazzucato (Chair in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London), Professor Richard Jones (Chair in Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at University of Manchester), Professor Sir Mark Walport, Former CEO, UK Research and Innovation (2017–2020), and Jo Johnson (Former Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (2016-2018 and July-September 2019) at n/a)
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
OralEvidence
A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Professor Peter Grindrod CBE (Professor at Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford)
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
WrittenEvidence
A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Adam Smith Institute
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
WrittenEvidence
A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Professor Matthew Flinders (Professor at The University of Sheffield)
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
WrittenEvidence