Peter Highnam is set to become the new chief executive of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, the UK’s new pioneering research body and the brainchild of Dominic Cummings.
Dr Highnam is currently working as the deputy director of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and an official announcement is expected this week as first reported by Mark Kleinman.
Highnam was educated in the UK and started working at DARPA in 1999, where he has held his current post for nearly four years.
The new agency was the brainchild of Boris Johnson’s former adviser who left Downing Street last year.
A defence industry official told Sky News that Dr Highnam was highly regarded in the international scientific research community and would be a “huge asset” to ARIA.
Britain’s new ‘high risk, high reward’ inventions agency will have an initial budget of £800m, and is aimed at helping the UK “maintain its position as a global science superpower”, according to a previous announcement from the government.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said last year that ARIA would have “a much higher tolerance for failure than is normal, recognising that in research the freedom to fail is often also the freedom to succeed”.
The US agency DARPA was cited by the government as a model on which ARIA’s development would be based.
Ministers land o lead £800m research agency ARIA