Written Evidence Submitted by University Alliance



Introduction to University Alliance

University Alliance (UA) is the voice of professional and technical universities. We represent large to mid-sized universities working at the heart of their communities. Alliance Universities work with industry and the professions to deliver the workforce of today and tomorrow through practical, skills-based learning and world-leading applied research.


Anglia Ruskin University

Kingston University

Birmingham City University

Leeds Beckett University

University of Brighton

Oxford Brookes University

Coventry University

Teesside University

University of Greenwich

University of South Wales

University of Hertfordshire

University of the West of England (Bristol)



A new UK research funding agency based on an ARPA style approach should fill a void in the current UK funding landscape by improving the translation of adventurous and promising research ideas into concrete applications. It should be a blueprint for attracting the world’s best minds to solve the world’s greatest societal and scientific challenges. It should be arms-length from government, support the reduction of bureaucracy in the whole R&D system and the design and implementation should mitigate potential risks of duplication, confusion, and a lack of joined-up approach. It should incorporate a social policy element into every project and its location and approach should support the levelling up agenda, new people, and innovative ideas. 

What gaps in the current UK research and development system might be addressed by an ARPA style approach?


What are the implications of the new funding agency for existing funding bodies and their approach?


What should be the focus be of the new research funding agency and how should it be structured?



What funding should ARPA receive, and how should it distribute this funding to maximise effectiveness?


What can be learned from ARPA equivalents in other countries?


What benefits might be gained from basing UK ARPA outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’ (London, Oxford and Cambridge)?


(July 2020)

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