The UK Government is continuing its post-Brexit bid to become a leader in science with a new "blue-skies" agency.
Reports indicate that the Government is currently preparing legislation for the standalone agency. The body is expected to be able to make investments in "high-risk, high-reward science", including artificial intelligence and data. The project builds on the Government's coronavirus Future Fund, which made convertible loans available to innovative companies.
In the March 2020 Budget, the Treasury had allocated £800m to the project. It will be interesting to see if Covid spending will reduce the amount available in next month's Budget.
The new agency will report to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). After years of consolidation, BEIS has become an increasingly powerful department within Whitehall. As noted last year, BEIS will also be responsible for the new Investment Security Unit.
The UK’s new blue-skies research agency will have the independence to experiment with new funding models to back cutting-edge, high-risk, high-reward science here in the UK