January 28, 2020

Visions of ARPA

Embracing Risk, Transforming Technology

A UK Advanced Research Projects Agency could have a transformative impact on technological innovation in the UK – but the Government must embrace failure if it is to be a success. Learning lessons from the US, ministers must tear up the rule book of research funding bureaucracy and recognise that the majority of projects will not achieve their objectives, but that those that do will be will be transformational. The key to success will be allowing empowered and highly expert project managers to drive forward projects and allocate funding to the best people and projects wherever they can be found.

With essays from two former science ministers – Jo Johnson and David Willetts – as well as the Vice Chancellor of Manchester University, Dame Nancy Rothwell; Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group of universities; William B. Bonvillian, MIT lecturer on science and technology policy; Richard Jones, Professor of Physics at Sheffield University and Baroness Brown of Cambridge, one of the country’s leading engineers; and a Foreword by Dr William Schneider Jr, former chair of the Defense Science Board, this paper sets out a blueprint for how the Government can create an ARPA that will truly deliver what is required.


Iain Mansfield

Director of Research and Head of Education and Science

Geoffrey Owen

Head of Industrial Policy

William Schneider Jr

Visiting Scholar

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