Written Evidence Submitted by Dr Jane Gregory
I am a historian of science and Academic Director for Science Communication at Cambridge University. I am interested in how knowledge emerges from research.
This proposal for a new funding agency fails to understand the research and funding landscape. High-risk projects emerge from, and rely on, a background and context of routine research, and should not be judged separately from that context.
If the government wishes to fund high-risk research, it can do so by setting this out as a priority and/or stream within the existing funding structures and mechanisms.
ARPA is a poor model, that reflects more than anything else a hunkering down in the Cold War context. Science now relies on international collaboration, and is about building horizontal connections, not elite silos. We share with, and learn from, other nations. The Government would do well to look outwards and learn.