The UK government is set to launch an independent research agency to support the development of new technologies. The Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) will fund “high-risk, high-reward” research to secure the country’s position as a global science superpower.

While a launch date is not yet available, the Government expects ARIA to be fully operational by 2022. It will complement the work of the UK’s existing Research and Innovation body, UKRI, and build on the government’s R&D Roadmap. The agency will receive £800 million of government funding over the course of this Parliament.

How will it work?

ARIA will be independent of government and led by prominent, world-leading scientists. It will benefit from additional flexibility and speed, thanks to the simplification of R&D bureaucratic models. This will equip the agency to identify the most ambitious, cutting-edge areas of research and technology. In turn, these projects will lead to the creation of highly skilled jobs across the country.


The UK has a long history of research and innovation. For example, Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing pioneered early predecessors of the computer, Thomas Newcomen and James Watt transformed travel by creating steam engines, and Frank Partridge helped save millions of lives by developing the first portable defibrillator. The UK government hopes that the creation of ARIA will continue this tradition.

The new agency is based on models that have proved successful in other countries, particularly the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) model. ARPA has enabled the creation of several transformational technologies, including the internet and GPS. Additionally, ARPA’s successor, DARPA, was a vital pre-pandemic funder of mRNA vaccines and antibody therapies, leading to critical Covid-19 therapies.

Following the announcement, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance said:

“The Advanced Research and Invention Agency will build on the UK’s world-class scientific research and innovation system. The importance of scientific innovation has never been clearer than over the last year and this new body provides an exciting new funding mechanism for pioneering R&D.”

We will provide further updates on ARIA as they become available. In the meantime, you can find relevant funding opportunities through UKRI’s Funding Finder.  Alternatively, sign up for our free monthly newsletter to receive our pick of the latest competitions direct to your inbox.

Source: UK Government