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£800m tech agency championed by Dominic Cummings that aims to help UK inventors launches today

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£800m tech agency that was championed by Dominic Cummings and aims to help UK inventors take on the world will be launched today 

  • The Advanced Research & Invention Agency will fund ‘blue sky projects’
  • It will also give inventors the ‘freedom to fail’ by exempting them from standard rules for taxpayer-funded work 
  • This has raised some concerns about transparency and that ARIA could be exempt from FOI requests
  • ARIA is modelled on a US defence agency whose inventions paved the way for the internet, GPS tracking and the computer mouse 

An £800million research agency is being launched today that will develop ‘high-risk, high-reward’ inventions.

The Advanced Research & Invention Agency will fund ‘blue sky’ projects with the aim of making Britain a global centre for technological innovation.

It will give inventors the ‘freedom to fail’ by exempting them from standard rules for taxpayer-funded work.

A pet project of Boris Johnson’s former key aide Dominic Cummings, ARIA is modelled on a US defence agency whose inventions paved the way for the internet, GPS tracking and the computer mouse.

An £800million research agency is being launched today that will develop 'high-risk, high-reward' inventions. The Advanced Research & Invention Agency will fund 'blue sky' projects with the aim of making Britain a global centre for technological innovation. It will give inventors the 'freedom to fail' by exempting them from standard rules for taxpayer-funded work [Stock photo]

An £800million research agency is being launched today that will develop ‘high-risk, high-reward’ inventions. The Advanced Research & Invention Agency will fund ‘blue sky’ projects with the aim of making Britain a global centre for technological innovation. It will give inventors the ‘freedom to fail’ by exempting them from standard rules for taxpayer-funded work [Stock photo]

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘Led independently by our most exceptional scientists, this new agency will focus on identifying and funding the most cutting-edge research and technology at speed.

‘By stripping back unnecessary red tape and putting power in the hands of our innovators, the agency will be given the freedom to drive forward the technologies of tomorrow.’

Science and innovation minister Amanda Solloway said: ‘To rise to the challenges of the 21st century we need to equip our R&D community with a new scientific engine – one that embraces the idea that truly great successes come from taking great leaps into the unknown.’

A pet project of Boris Johnson's former key aide Dominic Cummings (pictured), ARIA is modelled on a US defence agency whose inventions paved the way for the internet, GPS tracking and the computer mouse [File photo]

A pet project of Boris Johnson's former key aide Dominic Cummings (pictured), ARIA is modelled on a US defence agency whose inventions paved the way for the internet, GPS tracking and the computer mouse [File photo]

A pet project of Boris Johnson’s former key aide Dominic Cummings (pictured), ARIA is modelled on a US defence agency whose inventions paved the way for the internet, GPS tracking and the computer mouse [File photo]

The launch of ARIA will fulfil a dream of controversial adviser Mr Cummings, who left No 10 last year. He wrote blog posts about his admiration for ARPA, the US research agency created in the late-1950s as a response to the USSR launching its first satellite.

He believed that by being given the freedom to pursue big, radical projects, the majority of which were allowed to fail, ARPA was able to develop a series of inventions for the military that have ended up transforming modern society.

However there is concern that ARIA will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, unlike most public bodies, which would protect its competitive advantage but raise questions over transparency.

Labour business spokesman Ed Miliband said: ‘Government must urgently clarify the mission and mandate of this new organisation. And it is important ARIA does not have a blanket exemption from FOI laws so taxpayers know how their money is being invested.’

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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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