The writer, a former Downing Street special adviser, is co-founder and chief executive of PUBLIC
Every government minister wants a “big bazooka”, as former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi called it, to fire money at a problem. Earlier this week, UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced he is pushing forward with Arpa — a “blue skies” funding agency modelled on the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
This is the government’s bazooka. Its blast, goes the hope, will address problems created by a history of low and regionally concentrated R&D, and a neglect of translational research. Its creation will also reassure innovation advocates, who feared the project would stall with the departure from Downing Street of Dominic Cummings, the former government adviser who championed it.
Should this new agency achieve what it sets out to do, it will help find solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges. It will also act as a…