A new research funding agency
The UK government plans to invest £800m of public funding by 2024-25 to support high-risk, high-reward research that brings about transformative change to the benefit of the UK economy and society. It is modelled after the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (now DARPA) set up in the late 1950s.
Drawing on evidence from a workshop with members of our R&D Landscape Collective, we recommend that the proposed new UK funding agency be carefully integrated into the existing research and innovation landscape, have the flexibility to invest on timescales beyond parliamentary horizons, and embed inclusion and diversity in its practices and procedures from the outset.
Royal Society of Chemistry evidence: Making a new ARPA-style funding agency work in the UK
In April 2020, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the government's plans. Our submission builds on evidence from members of our community who have worked with similar funding agencies in the US.
Many of our recommendations for creating a successful UK analogue were echoed in the Committee's report, including the need to clearly define the agency's purpose and its unique role in the wider UK R&D landscape, for it to be able to operate independently and pursue high-risk research in a small number of mission areas.
Royal Society of Chemistry evidence: A new UK research funding agency
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry report: A new UK research funding agency