Westminster Higher Education Forum

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Next steps for the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) - Scope and remit, culture and organisation, areas of focus, and external and international relationships

Morning, Friday, 25th February 2022

Delegates will discuss the priorities for ARIA’s organisation, funding, and mission - including what is needed to translate its work into beneficial products and capabilities - as well as issues around accountability and oversight.

The conference will also present an opportunity to examine wider questions including ARIA’s place within the UK research landscape and the questions regarding its interaction with existing research bodies.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to examine and discuss international best practice, with a keynote address from Dr Peter Highnam, Deputy Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The discussion takes place with the ARIA Bill progressing through Parliament as well as the confirmation of £800m in funding in the Spending Review.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote contribution from Sarah Hodgetts, Deputy Director for Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the DMCS; the DfE; the DIT; the Department for the Economy, NI; the DfT; DAERA, NI; the FCDO; the GO-Science; HMRC; the IPO; and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Keynote Speakers

Sarah Hodgetts

Deputy Director for Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dr Peter Highnam

Deputy Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)


Lord Narendra Patel

Member, Science and Technology Committee, House of Lords


Maurice Frankel

Director, Campaign for Freedom of Information

Professor Sarah Main

Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering

Professor James Wilsdon

Director, Research on Research Institute, University of Sheffield

Dr Joe Marshall

Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business

Professor Tim Softely

former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

Dr Eoin O’Sullivan

Director, Centre for Science Technology & Innovation Policy, University of Cambridge

William Bonvillian

Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology