BIA welcomes the establishment of Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA)

Responding to the Government’s announcement of ARIA today, Ruth McKernan CBE, Chair of the BIA Board and Venture Partner at SV Health Investors said: “Taking risks to create new innovations is critical to solving some of the major challenges facing society. When it comes to inventing new medical technologies, therapeutics and diagnostics the UK excels. ARIA should be well-connected to the existing research and innovation ecosystem, act like a public sector venture fund where many ideas will fail and a minority will be transformative. It needs leaders who commission research and innovation flexibly across academia and business to deliver on a small number of challenges. What we have learned in the past year is that maintaining healthcare security should be a priority. Let us start there.”

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association added: “ARIA thinking is already in action in the UK life sciences sector. Our world leading ecosystem has government and business working in partnership, delivering health benefit to patients and growth to the UK economy. More than £2.8 billion was invested in UK life sciences last year, and global companies are impressed by, and want to partner with, UK innovation in genomics, AI, and next generation drug discovery, scale up and manufacturing.

“The US DARPA has had an incredible impact by funding the best research and innovation wherever it is found, including supporting UK companies in the past. The new UK agency should bring together the best of UK industry, universities, UKRI, Innovate UK, the British Business Bank, the MHRA, the NHS and all the government departments in and beyond Westminster so that we can all work together to deliver transformative innovations for the UK and the world.  Similar joint working and collaboration – established by the Vaccines Taskforce- has paid off. There is now a real prospect of attracting a next generation of carbon net zero flexible bioprocessing capabilities to the UK in the coming months, delivering high quality jobs beyond the South East for a generation.      

“The government should use its plan for growth to double down on this success for the long term.”

Notes for editors

  1. Ruth McKernan is the Chair of the BIA and former CEO of Innovate UK and is available for interview. Please contact Jack Fellows, Communications and Media Manager at the BIA, for more information.
  2. To read the Government announcement please follow this link.
  3. Ruth recently spoke at a meeting hosted by the Foundation for Science and Technology on the opportunities presented by the setting up of the UK ARPA. Further information can be provided from her talk.
  4. To read the BIA submission to the Science and Technology Committee, please follow this link