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More Details Wanted

Details are still needed about the UK plan to launch a new government agency to fund high-risk, high-reward science, Nature News writes.

The UK proposed a new agency modeled on the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency about a year ago to fund blue-sky research. The UK has since authorized £800 million (US$1 billion) in funding over four years for the "British DARPA." The soon-to-launched agency has now been dubbed the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, or ARIA.

However, as the BBC noted last month, the Labour Party has called for a better explanation of what ARIA is to fund. Nature News now adds that researchers and policy experts are also wondering how the agency will benefit science. It notes that ARIA's budget is only a sliver of the UK science budget and that that there has been no word on what types or projects or disciplines it will fund. 

"No doubt ARIA will do interesting and exciting things at the project level — it's just not likely to be transformative by itself," the University of Manchester's Kieron Flanagan tells Nature News.