Wednesday 17 February 2021 12:35 pm

UK to announce secretive £800m science research agency called Aria

The government is set to announce a new £800m research facility that will invest in high-risk military projects.

It will be called the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (Aria) and is based on the US’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which has overseen the creation of experimental military technologies.

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Darpa and its predecessor agency has been responsible for the invention of the internet, GPS and a series of dog-shaped cyborgs.

The agency will be exempt from freedom of information laws and is set to be formally announced today, according to The Times.

The creation of the UK’s own experimental military technology agency was a pet project of former Boris Johnson adviser Dominic Cummings, who wrote a 2018 blog post about how Britain’s post-Brexit priorities should be forming its own Darpa and reforming Whitehall.

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With Cummings ousted from Downing Street in December, the new agency is now being spearheaded by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

A government source told The Times: “The new body is being set up so it can take fast, agile decisions without bureaucracy.”

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The creation of the agency was outlined in the Tories’ 2019 election manifesto and was confirmed by Rishi Sunak’s Budget last year.

The Treasury has committed to spending £800m on it throughout this parliament.

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