The UK DARPA — the Advanced Research and Invention Agency officially established

This week the Government published the long-awaited Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA). After a week of more grim economic forecasts and the downfall of Tech Nation, this is positive news.

2 min readApr 6, 2023


Plans for ARIA were first announced almost two years ago and last year Dr Ilan Gur and Matt Clifford MBE were appointed as CEO and Chair. This week ARIA was launched as a legally established body and it appointed five new non-executive members, including Dame Kate Bingham from SV Health Investors, who will be responsible for distributing funding within their respective areas of expertise.

The scheme is based on Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA/DARPA), the US government research and development agency that has helped develop technologies such as GPS, drones and the early internet. The Science Minister, George Freeman, who has been championing ARIA within Government, said:

“Transformational discoveries come from world-class scientists and labs with the freedom to explore the unknown. We have set up ARIA as an £800m global super lab to do just that through frontier science and technology.”

This all sounds very promising, and if VCs like to pride themselves on providing patient long term capital, the aim for ARIA is to build the technologies that will transform the world in 20+ years. One day we may all benefit from the moonshot technology it hopes to produce. It is definitely a positive step, and we now await further details of how it plans to distribute funds and carry out research.

So can ARIA match up to DARPA? Ask me again in 20 years…

Chris Elphick
VC Policy Manager, BVCA

This article was originally published on 3 February 2021 on the BVCA website.




The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association represents over 600 member firms, including more than 350 investment funds and institutional investors