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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, special reports and government responses

View all reports and responses
Third report: A new UK research funding agency
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
HC 778
Report
Response to this report
Fourth Special Report - A new UK research funding agency: Government Response to the Committee’s Third Report of Session 2019–21
HC 1363
Special Report
Fourth Special Report - A new UK research funding agency: Government Response to the Committee’s Third Report of Session 2019–21
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
HC 1363
Special Report

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
17 March 2021
Inquiry A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Dominic Cummings, Former Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng (Secretary of State at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), and Jo Shanmugalingam (Director General for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
Oral Evidence
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)
Oral Evidence
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)
Oral Evidence
RFA0112 - A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Dominic Cummings, Former Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
Written Evidence
RFA0111 - A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Future Flight Concepts Ltd
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
Written Evidence
RFA0110 - A new UK research funding agency
Witnesses Imperial College London
Committees Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
Written Evidence