The United Kingdom wants to bet on research and development in the area of ??science and technology. Boris Johnson's government plans to create a British version of the American Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the government agency that was, for example, behind the creation of the Internet.
The £ 800 million decision was announced in the international press by Rishi Sunak, finance minister, under the new British budget. The minister said it was time for the UK to return to its pioneering roots, recalling figures like Isaac Newton and Alan Turing. Our history is full of innovative ideas, inventions and discoveries (). In order to compete and be successful in the next decade and beyond, we need to have that spirit again, said Rishi Sunak.
The minister promised that the budget devoted to research and development would be around 22 billion pounds a year. The objective is to dedicate 2.4% of the country's GDP to spending on science and technology, in line with the United States and China.
Although Rishi Sunak did not reveal more details about the agency's creation plan, documents obtained from the New Scientist website in December 2019 demonstrate that the idea came from Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's chief consultant.
The documentation indicates that the UK ARPA's objective is to finance research projects considered to be high risk. The agency would give the British academic community the possibility to have the necessary funds to develop solutions to society's great challenges, all in a structure that allows more space for possible failures.