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Research agency supporting high risk, high reward research formally established

Science Minister George Freeman yesterday announces the formal establishment of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) as an independent body.

  • Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), a new independent research body to fund high-risk, high-reward scientific research, has formally launched
  • this coincides with appointment of 5 new members to the ARIA board, including Nobel Prize winning chemist Professor Sir David MacMillan
  • ARIA has been built to identify and fund transformational science and technology at speed

Science Minister George Freeman has today (Thursday 26 January) announced the formal establishment of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) as an independent body, beginning its work to create transformational research programmes with the potential to create new technological capabilities for the benefit of humanity.

ARIA has been designed with a unique level of freedom which puts trust in the decisions of experts in their field and empowers them to quickly allocate funding in support of their ambitious vision.

It is a key part of the government’s plans to build a better future with innovation at the heart of growing the economy and improving lives.

UK Science Minister George Freeman said:

The UK has long been a leading light in scientific discovery research and pioneering technology: from the invention of the steam engine and discovery of DNA to the first computer and Formula 1 telemetry.

As the global race for science and technology leadership heats up, we are committed to going further to cement our position as a Science Superpower: which is why we have committed to a record £39.8 billion public R&D budget in the Spending Review, alongside the creation of ARIA.

Transformational discoveries come from world class scientists and labs with the freedom to explore the unknown. We have set up ARIA as an £800 million global super lab to do just that through frontier science and technology.

ARIA CEO Dr. Ilan Gur said:

I could not imagine a better board of directors to oversee ARIA’s formation. Guided by their experience and judgement, ARIA will make bold bets that leverage the strengths of the UK research system to drive world-changing breakthroughs.

The appointments of Dr. Ilan Gur and Matt Clifford MBE last year, as ARIA’s founding CEO and Chair respectively, demonstrate the UK’s ability to attract global scientific and entrepreneurial talent as well as the continuing strength of our research base.

Today also marks the announcement of 5 further board members, recently appointed to help ARIA realise its vision. Newly appointed Non-Executive Directors, joining the government Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, are:

  • Stephen Cohen, a UK Civil Service Commissioner and a Commissioner for the Gambling Commission, who has over 40 years’ experience in asset management, in Asia, Europe and the USA
  • Professor Sir David MacMillan, a Nobel Prize winning organic chemist and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University
  • Sarah Hunter, public policy expert who has worked across Silicon Valley and London, who is the Global Director of Public Policy at X, the Moonshot Factory
  • Dame Kate Bingham (DBE), Managing Partner at SV Health Investors and former Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce

Also appointed as an Executive Director is Antonia Jenkinson, who takes up post as Chief Financial and Operations Officer. Antonia joins from the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), where she was Chief Financial Officer.

This group brings together unique experience from across the science, technology and investment sectors, ensuring ARIA invests in the high-risk research that offers the best chance of high rewards, supporting ground-breaking discoveries that could transform people’s lives for the better.

The creation of ARIA as an independent body will help to cement the UK’s position as a global science superpower, building on record funding for R&Dannounced by the Chancellor in his most recent Autumn Statement.

ARIA was legally established recently (25 January), following a commencement order made in Parliament.

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